Medicine: Marie & the Microbes

By her own account, Alice Novial was "a real devil" during her teens. Slim, bright-eyed daughter of a comfortable French bourgeois family, she got into hair-pulling fights at convent school, shamelessly flaunted her pretty legs. When she said she wanted to join the Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary, the nuns and her family thought it was just another escapade. But join she did. In 1911, as Sister Marie Suzanne, she was ordered to Makongai, a tiny islet in the faraway Fijis. There she began a quarter-century of uncomplaining duty and a...

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