Nellie Irene Bray was born on December 30, 1915, the second child of George and Mary (Egan) Bray. Her brother, John, has predeceased her. At the time of her birth, her family was living at 8 Trafalgar Street, Enmore.
Nellie’s first contact with the Sisters of the Good Samaritan came through her being enrolled at St Joseph’s School, Newtown, when she was six years old. She completed her education here – from Kindergarten to Intermediate Certificate Standard – leaving at the end of 1931.
A change of position saw Nellie move from pupil to pupil teacher at St Joseph’s, where, she claims, she received an excellent training under the watchful care and direction of Sister Mary Livinus Murphy. After two years, Nellie sought admission to the Novitiate of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan and this became a reality on January 2, 1934. She was given the religious name of Sister Mary Annina, and made her first profession of vows on January 12, 1937.
After her profession, she resumed her teacher education at St Scholastica’s Teachers College and gained her registration as a teacher in 1938. Her long career of some 40 years in the ministry of education began at St Benedict’s, Chippendale, and took her to schools in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia. Her last teaching appointment was to Windsor in New South Wales where, after two years, she retired from active classroom teaching.
In 1981, Sister Annina joined the community at Polding Villa for one year, not yet as a resident but as a member of staff, where she was able to attend to a variety of duties not requiring professional nursing skills. After a further five years spent in the Arncliffe and Marrickville communities, Annina returned to Polding Villa in 1986, as a resident.
On July 20, 2005 she joined other members of the Polding Villa community in their transfer to Bethany Hostel, Eastwood, where for the past nine years she has been cared for by the sisters and staff.
Sister Annina is survived by her niece, Barbara, and her family, and is remembered with love and gratitude by all her Good Samaritan Sisters.