Rita Russo, AND (1941-2020)

Rita Russo was born on May 20, 1940. After graduating from Notre Dame High School, San Jose, she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in 1959, taking the name Sr. Mary Rita.

Rita taught elementary school for several years, then opened a Food Bank in East Los Angeles, before returning to the San Jose area where other SNDdeNs were also working in a variety of ways. The Cursillo Movement there became an important community for Rita, and she maintained her long connections with Notre Dame by becoming an Associate.

She survived more than one serious back surgery before being diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. She died in December 2020.

Rita was very brave and very kind.


  1. Sr Rita was our 6th grade teacher at St. Columbkille’s in Los Angeles, truly a very special teacher and person. Sorry to hear of her passing.

  2. I knew her as Sr. Mary Rita…..She taught me in the 4th grade at St Lucy School in Campbell in 1964-1965…She was incredibly kind and I remember her with great fondness,

  3. Beloved Rita: Such a great great Soul/Woman/Tireless Worker of the Lord/Blessing to this earth! Thank you dear Sister for all you did and gave to the Lord's children and forgotten ones. You lifted and inspired us greatly. We love you, rest well in His Arms.

  4. Rita was a good friend and became a mentor to me throughout my life in many different ways. We were proud to be associates as well as sisters together over the years.

  5. WOW I found Sister Rita. So sad to read of her passing. She worked at Mother of Sorrows in the early 1970s. She was firm and yet a very friendly Sister. I believe she was the Principal at that time in 1971 or 1972. My parents who spoke very little English felt very respected during their first interaction with her when my sister and I were enrolled in the school. Thank you for making such a positive impact on my life and my sister's life. We are successful and strong women because of our catholic education.

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