Irene Anne Greig was born in Enfield, New South Wales on June 8, 1927 to Alexander and Amy (nee Boyden) Greig. Irene was the youngest child in a family of three growing up in a loving atmosphere influenced by the values held by her parents. When Irene was 11 years of age her mother died and she was left in the care of her father as both her brother and sister were overseas at the war.
At this time, a neighbouring Catholic family took an interest in Irene and influenced her greatly during those formative years. She attended Strathfield South Public School and Croydon Public before transferring to Burwood High School where she completed her Intermediate Certificate.
Irene had felt the urge to become a Catholic for a long time, especially during a brief stay in Lewisham Hospital where she met a religious sister for the first time. After attending instructions in the Catholic faith, Irene was received into the church in 1954 at St Patrick’s, Church Hill.
Two years later, Irene made application to join the Sisters of the Good Samaritan having met Sister Audrey McCabe and subsequently been encouraged by Bishop McCabe to follow her aspirations. On March 25, 1956 Irene began a new phase in her life and was given the name Sister Mary Agnellus, but later she reverted to her own name, Irene.
Irene made her profession of vows on January 6, 1959 and she moved to St Scholastica’s Glebe Point where she became the assistant infirmarian looking after the older sisters. Irene was known for her sense of fun and brought joy and laughter to those in her care.
After time as infirmarian, Irene brought this same sense of delight in life to those she taught in schools. Over the course of ten years, she had a vital role on the Motor Mission, where she instructed students in the faith at State schools in the Manly, Dee Why and Forestville areas, as well as the formation of catechists in this ministry. Irene also ministered as a local superior, and as a pastoral worker in several parishes.
Irene was known for her ‘down-to-earth’ attitude and her love of those ‘on the margins’. She was fearless in taking up challenges and embracing new projects wherever she ministered in New South Wales, Victoria or Queensland. Her final move was to Nazareth House in Wynnum North, Queesland, where she continued to minister and bring life and laughter to the many residents and staff.
Irene is survived by her brother, Jim, her nieces and nephews, and is remembered with love and gratitude by all her Good Samaritan Sisters.