Sister Mary Elizabeth Burke, who spent nearly half of her 67 years as a vowed member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame as an educator and administrator in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, died Sept. 11 at Villa Assumpta in Towson. She was 97.
Born in Roxbury, Mass., she attended the parish school at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, where she was taught by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. She professed her first vows in August 1952. Her first mission as a professed sister was teaching first grade at St. Michael’s School in Frostburg, where she remained for 10 years. SSND Associate Peggy Russell, one of her students there, said, “When I think of a saint, I think of Mary.”
Sister Mary then took teaching assignments at St. Matthew’s School in Northwood, St. Mark’s School, Catonsville, and Ss. James and John School in Baltimore. She also served as principal of Blessed Sacrament School and St. Mary of the Assumption School in Govans. According to an obituary supplied by her order, “She took great pleasure in sharing credit for achievements with parents.”
Sister Mary earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in history from what was then the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. In 1980, she became interested in pastoral care and worked in ministry and education in rural parishes in northern Georgia and Alabama.
A memorial Mass was offered Sept. 12 in the chapel of Villa Assumpta.