Sister Mary Isobel (Pearl) Murray is one of the long line of Good Samaritan Sisters who have come to the congregation from the Western District of Victoria. Her parents William and Isabella (née Roberts), were both native to Koroit, where Pearl was also born on 17 March 1913, their first child and an older sister to two brothers, John and James. Her long life saw her move far afield from the Western District and even from Victoria, but her roots were firmly planted in that soil.
Pearl was educated at St Patrick’s Primary and the Convent High School, Koroit, and also became an Associate of the London College of Music. For several years following, Pearl taught at St Mary’s Primary School, Hamilton, and at the Koroit Convent High School, but then responded to the call to religious life. This new phase in her journey began on 21 November 1936 when she joined the Good Samaritan Novitiate in Pennant Hills, New South Wales, where she was given the religious name of Sister Mary Isobel. On completing the time of novitiate preparation she made her first profession of vows on 24 May 1939.
Following a period of teacher preparation at St Scholastica’s Training College, Isobel embarked on a ministry of teaching at both primary and junior secondary levels from 1941 to 1985. These schools ranged from Lourdes Hill College, Brisbane, to Marymount College, Adelaide, with several schools in New South Wales and Victoria in between. Throughout all these years Isobel retained a vital interest in education and in the lives of those who passed through her care. She is remembered not only as a successful teacher, but as one who earned the respect and affection of her students. Some of the bonds of friendship forged during her teaching years remained strong until her death.
During the years 1967 to 1972, to her ministry of teaching she joined that of her appointment as Superior of the community at Epping, Victoria. Those who shared community life with her remember Isobel as a loyal and compassionate woman, and as one with an endearing sense of humour. Her interest in world events, together with her love of reading, made her a stimulating companion.
On her retirement from teaching, in 1985 Isobel became one of the foundation members of a new community in Craigieburn, a fast developing outer suburb of Melbourne. There she took up the ministry of visiting families or those in need of support in any way. In January 2000 Isobel was transferred to Marian House Hostel, Northcote, where she lived until the community was re-located to South Morang Mews in November 2004. It was from here that she was admitted to the Northern Hospital, Epping, where she died five days later on 12 September 2006.
Isobel was predeceased by her brothers John and James, but she was dearly loved by her niece and nephews and their families, and was interested in their lives. For them she was a deeply valued and significant person. Her Good Samaritan Sisters will remember “Issie” with great love and affection.
During her long life in the school of the Lord’s service, Isobel lived and ministered in the following places:
1937 Pennant Hills
1939 Dee Why
1955 North Fitzroy
1973 Seacombe Gardens
2000 Marian House
2004 South Morang Mews