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.
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.