The Alumni Association of San Dieguito Academy honored late SRF President and Sanghamata Sri Mrinalini Mata as this year’s inductee into its Hall of Fame during a reception held at the school on October 13, 2017. Mrinalini Mata attended the Encinitas, California, high school (formerly known as San Dieguito Union High School) from 1947 until 1949, after she had entered the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram as a nun at the age of fifteen.
SRF nuns Sister Iswari and Sister Sarala accepted the honor on Mrinalini Mata’s behalf before an audience consisting largely of school alumni from decades past and SRF members and friends who live in the Encinitas area. The Deputy Mayor of Encinitas, Tony Kranz, opened the event by presenting a proclamation by the Encinitas City Council (see photo, bottom of page), which in part read:
“I, Catherine S. Blakespear, Mayor of the City of Encinitas, along with all Encinitas City Council Members do hereby honor Sri Mrinalini Mata for her decades of devotion to a spiritual path and leadership of a society that has openly offered the Encinitas community a beautiful bluff top place of peace, reflection, prayer and meditation and are honored to proclaim October 13, 2017 as Sri Mrinalini Mata Day in the City of Encinitas.”
Following the presentation of the proclamation, Sister Iswari (below) spoke about some of the many important accomplishments Mrinalini Mata achieved during her lifetime of spiritual service, as well as some of her fond memories of her educational experience while at the school. She was then presented with a plaque from the San Dieguito Alumni Association, which stated, among other things: “[Mrinalini Mata’s] many years of service, counsel, and devotion to members of the SRF/YSS are a true inspiration to our students today.”
Although Mrinalini Mata passed away several weeks before the Alumni Association made its decision, she had been informed about her nomination, and was very touched to learn about it because she had such a high regard for the education she received at the school.
Two years before her passing, Mrinalini Mata made a private visit to the San Dieguito campus to pay her respects to her former English teacher, for whom a memorial brick had been laid on the school grounds. He had recognized the young Merna Brown’s keen aptitude in English, remarking that she was “way ahead of the others” in the class, and allowed her to spend the year studying whatever subject she preferred. She chose Shakespeare, one of the great masters of English literature that Paramahansa Yogananda had encouraged her to study as part of her training to eventually edit and prepare his writings for publication.
When Mrinalini Mata graduated from San Dieguito Academy, Paramahansaji attended the ceremony, and he brought along with him some close disciples, including Amelita Galli-Curci and her husband Homer Samuels, Dr. and Mrs. Lewis, and of course, Meera Mata (Mrinalini Mata’s mother).
An inspiring report of the event was also posted on the San Dieguito Academy Foundation’s website.