Sr. Mary Florence O’Rourke (1923-2014)

Sister Mary Florence O’Rourke, a Sister of Notre Dame for 72 years, died peacefully in Oakland, CA on March 1, 2014.

Born and raised in San Francisco’s Mission District, Florence graduated from Notre Dame High School, San Francisco in 1940, then entered the Sisters of Notre Dame.

SR-O'Rourke_Mary_Florence_Room1

Sr. Mary Florence at the Province Center.

A dedicated educator for thirty-two years, Sister taught and served as principal in Notre Dame elementary schools in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Alameda, San Jose, San Francisco and Honolulu.  Marilyn Zaknich Miller, who taught at Mission Dolores School, described Sr. Mary Florence as “a principal open to new ideas, who fostered an environment where teachers could exercise their creativity.  She took to heart the Sisters’ mission to stand with those in need, supporting student outreach projects in the area.”

Sr. Mary Florence also assisted in administrative offices of College of Notre Dame, Belmont, Notre Dame High School in San Jose, and the Diocese of San Jose.  She later helped in the library at St. Lucy School, Campbell, and with Sr. June Canole’s Insyte business in Cupertino.  Even in her late 80’s, Sister volunteered regularly in the Justice and Peace and the Development offices at the Province Center.  She loved being of service.  Sister was a loyal Giants fan, and enjoyed games with co-workers and friends at both Candlestick and AT&T Park.

She is predeceased by her parents, Michael and Mary Hogan O’Rourke, her brothers John and Martin, and her sister Mary O’Rourke.  From her early years, Florence had enjoyed helping her father with his veterinarian practice, and she continued to enjoy animals all her life.  Growing up with brothers, she said, was good preparation for her years as principal of the all-boys Mission Dolores Elementary School.  She will be lovingly remembered by many nephews, grand nephews and nieces, former students, and her Sisters of Notre Dame.

You can make a memorial gift in her memory.

4 thoughts on “Sr. Mary Florence O’Rourke (1923-2014)

  1. What wonderful times I had (with Sr. Mary Florence and Sr. MaryAnn Pelkman)
    as we cheered at so many GIANT baseball
    games. Sr. was such an adamant and loyal
    fan and knew all the statistics of each player…
    we always ate our lunch (or dinner)
    at the game the game started…Sr. did not want to miss one minute of the game eating..she
    came to WATCH THE GAME!
    I know that Our Lady (Notre Dame) and St. Julie
    and Sr.MaryAnn
    have welcomed her to her heavenly reward…
    also

  2. SR. MARY FLORENCE BECAME A CLOSE FRIEND
    AND SPIRITUAL ADVISOR WHEN WE LIVED TOGETHER IN SAN FRANCISO 1974. SHE SO
    WANTED TO BECOME AN OFFICIAL SPIRITUAL GUIDE AFTER HER SABBATICAL IN .WASHINGTON STATE. BUT, GOD STEERED HER INTO WORKING FOR CITTI FLORIST AS THEIR BOOKKEEPER. I ADMIRED HER LEAP
    OF FAITH INTO A NEW CAREER IN HER RETIREMENT YEARS. ENJOY HEAVEN, FLO.

  3. As a student at St. Lucy’s during the ‘early years,’ I will always remember Sister Mary Florence’s strong and compassionate spirit as a principal. Her brand of leadership is what shaped the Christian values and sense of fairness that so many of her students follow today.

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