Mary Patricia Joy was born on October 30, 1927 in Innisfail, North Queensland to Irish parents Maurice and Mary Ann (nee Power) Joy. Maura, as she was called, was the fourth child in a family of seven – five boys and two girls.
Growing up in a large Irish Catholic family in the sugar cane district, Maura learnt early in life the value of her religious faith through the loving care of her parents. Together with her siblings, she attended the Stratvell State School at Japoonvale for most of her primary education.
Sadly, in 1940, when two of Maura’s brothers were away serving in World War II, her father died after a serious illness. This meant that it was necessary for Mary Ann to move her young family and settle in the town.
Maura was subsequently enrolled at the Sacred Heart School, Innisfail, conducted by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, where she completed her primary education. After gaining the Junior Certificate in 1943, she went as a boarder to St Mary’s College, Charters Towers, where she obtained her Senior Certificate at the end of 1945.
On July 2, 1947, Maura began a new phase in her life when she joined the other young women at the Good Samaritan Novitiate Pennant Hill in New South Wales. She was given the name of Sister Mary Eina, but when the opportunity arose to return to her baptismal name, she was once again known as Maura (Irish for Mary).
After her profession on January 6, 1950, she then moved to St Scholastica’s Teachers’ Training College where she gained her teaching qualifications. Maura commenced her classroom ministry at St Michael’s Primary School, Nowra. From there she moved to secondary education in both New South Wales and Queensland.
During her years of teaching she completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree, a Diploma of Education and a Diploma of Theological Studies. Maura’s students appreciated her genuine interest in them, her beautiful smile and her constant generosity.
After 27 years as a classroom teacher Maura had several ministries. She worked in the library at Santa Maria College, Northcote, Victoria. She visited the sick of the parish and the families of school children in Hughenden, Queensland.
In 1993, while living at Mitchelton, Maura gained qualifications in psychiatric and pastoral care which enabled her to be part of a hospital pastoral care ministry at New Farm Clinic and the Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane. Maura delighted in visiting the sick and suffering in this way.
In 2003 Maura returned to New South Wales where she was a valued member of the Campbelltown community, and in 2007, the Pennant Hills Community. Due to failing health she moved to the Bethany Hostel, Eastwood in February 2012.
Maura died on June 23 at Macquarie University Hospital. She is survived by her sister Irene, her sister-in-law Win (wife of David), her brother Colin and his wife Norah, her brother Geoffrey and his wife Kate, and her many nieces and nephews and their children.
She is remembered with love and affection by her Sisters of the Good Samaritan.