Maureen Elizabeth Shelvey was born in Toowoomba on June 24, 1935 to James and Elsie (nee Beitz) Shelvey. Maureen was the youngest child in a family of seven – five girls and two boys.
Growing up in a large Catholic household, Maureen learnt early in life the importance of her faith and also developed strong family values. She commenced school at Holy Angels Primary School, Toowoomba where she met the Sisters of the Good Samaritan who were to be a strong influence in her life.
After completing her primary education she was enrolled at St Saviour’s College, Toowoomba, conducted by the Sisters of Mercy, where she attained her Junior Certificate in 1950.
After leaving school, Maureen spent five and a half years in the workforce before she applied for admission to the Good Samaritan Novitiate at Pennant Hills. On July 2, 1956 Maureen began a new phase in her life as she joined the other young women at Pennant Hills. She was given the name of Sister Michael Mary, but when the opportunity arose to revert to her baptismal name, she was known as Sister Maureen.
On January 6, 1959 Sister Maureen made her profession of vows and remained at the Professed House at Pennant Hills for a further 12 months. During this time she assisted as a teachers’ aide at St Agatha’s Primary School. She moved to St Scholastica’s Training College in January 1960 where she gained her Certificate of Teaching.
Maureen spent three years in primary education in South Australia at Port Pirie and Whyalla, before moving into secondary education for the next 17 years in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales. Maureen was engaged in ongoing education at the Christian Spirituality Centre, Randwick. She obtained a Diploma in Special Education from James Cook University, and then in the late 1980s, became involved in special education at Mater Dei School, Camden.
From 1992 until 2013, Maureen undertook the role of family-liaison person as well as offering pastoral and educational support in four schools – namely: Casimir Catholic College, Marrickville; St John’s College, Nowra; Rosebank College, Five Dock; and St James’ Primary School, Forest Lodge.
In 2001, the International Year of Volunteers, Maureen was awarded a Certificate of Recognition from the Australian Government. This certificate recognised her extraordinary contribution to the Marrickville community and to Australia.
Maureen’s quiet professional stance was respected and greatly appreciated by teachers and parents alike in these schools, especially at Casimir College, where she spent the last years of her active ministry. Without any fuss and behind the scenes, Maureen supported many families with guidance and counsel during this phase of her life.
Maureen died on June 5, 2015 at Sacred Heart Hospice, Darlinghurst. She is remembered with love and gratitude by her siblings, Kathleen, Adeline and Leonard, her many nieces and nephews, and by her Good Samaritan Sisters, friends, past students and colleagues.