A family of vocations: Presentation Sister Mary Euphemia dies at 103

When Sister Mary Euphemia, PVBM, passed on to her eternal reward on Jan. 17, 2023, after an 85-year vocation, her death marked the end of a Catholic family dynasty of sorts in San Francisco.

At 103 years and four months, Sister Euphemia was one of four sisters from a large, local Irish-Catholic family to enter religious life.

Her younger sister, Sister Mary Kieran, 101, also a Sister of the Presentation, preceded Sister Euphemia in death by only a few weeks, dying in December 2022. Another O’Connor sister, Sister Mary Michaeline, also a Sister of the Presentation, died at 96 a few years ago. All three lived at the Presentation Sisters Motherhouse in San Francisco at the time of their deaths. Another sister, Carmelita, was a Daughter of Charity.

The three O’Conner sisters in 1944. Left to right: Sister Euphemia, Sister Kieran, Sister Michaeline.

Sister Euphemia was one of nine children born to Tom and Nellie O’Conner of County Kerry, Ireland. While nearly one-half of the children entered the religious life, a fifth sister, Peggy, married Ed McGovern. Brothers Tom, John and Gerald served in World War II; her oldest brother, Leo, died as an infant.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in science from the University of San Francisco, Sister Euphemia advanced her education with summer seminars at the Taft Institute and the Freedom Foundation in Pennsylvania. She said that her education included “the various people I met traveling on the Greyhound bus.”

The three O’Conner sisters pictured in 2018. Left to right: Sister Kieran, Sister Euphemia, Sister Michaeline

Sister Euphemia was a lifelong educator. She taught and cared for boarders at St. Mary’s elementary school in Gilroy. She also taught at schools in Albuquerque, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco. She loved her students and the many people who allowed her to be a part of their lives.

A funeral Mass was held on Jan. 27 at the Sisters of the Presentation Motherhouse in San Francisco, followed by burial at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma.

Sr. Euphemia O’Conner

Memorial gifts may be made in Sister Euphemia’s name to St. Anthony’s Dining Room, the Brady Bill or your favorite charity.