Sister Mary Jane was born in San Francisco to Anne Fadian from County Mayo and Robert Floyd from Warrington, England. After the sudden death of her mother when she was five, her father remarried, and later Mary Jane gained a new baby brother, Robert, Jr. Despite the loss of her mother, Sister fondly remembers her father’s love as always constant.

Mary Jane Floyd in 1948.

After graduating from Star of the Sea Grammar School and Presentation High School, Sister Mary Jane entered the Presentation Novitiate in 1948, a decision which she says has enriched her life. She was given the name Sister Mary Robert, but after Vatican II, she returned to her own name. As a novice, she was influenced by the worker priests in France who worked in factories side by side with their people and about whom she read.

After her first profession, January 10, 1952, opportunities for education, spiritual growth and a variety of ministries opened new worlds to Sister Mary Jane. Teaching assignments included several elementary schools: St. Anne and St. Agnes Schools, San Francisco, St. Patrick and St. John Vianney Schools, San Jose; Holy Trinity, San Pedro and Our Lady of Lourdes, East Los Angeles.

Sister Mary Jane Floyd with her family at Christmas in 1963.

While at St. John Vianney’s and living with Sister Kathleen Curtin, Sister Mary Jane learned of Sister Kathleen’s desire to begin a ministry at Emmaus House in East San Jose. To provide financial support for this project, Sister Mary Jane went to work as a secretary at the food processing company, Castle and Cook. She later worked as secretary and assistant social worker at the Senior Day Health Program in Palo Alto. Through her employment, she was able to support Sister Joan Murphy and Larry Purcell when they began Catholic Worker House in Redwood City.

During the 1990s, Sr. Mary Jane Floyd worked at the Senior Day Health Program in Palo Alto.

At Catholic Worker House, later named Joan’s House, where Sister Mary Jane lived and worked for 42 years, the reality of the poor and homeless were always in focus. She retired after nineteen years at Castle and Cook to coordinate the Women’s English and tutoring programs at Joan’s House, which brought her back to the teaching which she loved so much.

From 2014-2020, Joan’s house, also known as the “schoolhouse,” became the center for teaching men and women. To find decent jobs, people had to understand and speak English. Children who needed help with homework could also come and do homework while Mom and Dad were learning English. Often teachers would bring snacks, knowing some students came directly from school with no opportunity to eat a meal. Then in 2020, the unspeakable happened – the Covid-19 pandemic occurred. Ultimately, the work at Joan’s house had to end to avoid the spread of the virus. At this writing, late 2021, some classes are being taught in backyards. Through the generous hearts of our teachers, the program is being reinvented. Sr. Mary Jane is entirely grateful for all those who have donated, taught, and assisted in these educational programs. “They will always be in my heart and prayers”

A profound hearing loss led Sister Mary Jane to adopt two hearing dogs, Missy and Blossom. “My appreciation for creation and the animal world has grown immensely. I have seen God’s handiwork and his sense of humor in these two beautiful creatures.”

Presently, Sister Mary Jane resides at the Presentation Mother House in San Francisco. Reflecting on her life, she says she has been blessed with good friends both in community and ministry who have been with her through good times and bad, through laughter and tears. One of the greatest blessings of Presentation community has been the women who have inspired and encouraged her and continue to do so. “Throughout my life, trust in Divine Providence and a sense of humor have been present; I feel the presence and warmth of God’s love in my life.”

 

 Ministries

1951 – 1953  Teacher, St. Agnes School, San Francisco
1953 – 1955  Teacher, St. Patrick School, San Jose
1956 – 1957  Teacher, St. Benedict School, Montebello; Our Lady of Lourdes School, Los Angeles
1957 – 1964  Teacher, Holy Trinity School, San Pedro
1964 – 1965  Teacher, Conaty High School, Los Angeles
1965 – 1970  Teacher and Principal, St. Patrick School, San Jose
1970 – 1971  Teacher, St. Columba School, Oakland
1971 – 1972  Teacher, St. John Vianney School, San Jose
1972 – 1979  Clerical and Secretarial, Support Ministry for Sister Joan Murphy
1979 – 1983  Student; Supportive Services for Catholic Worker House, Redwood City; Care of mother; Medical Assistant
1983 -1987  Care of mother; Supportive Service at Catholic Worker House, Redwood City; Secretary, Secretary/Receptionist at Senior Day Health Program, Palo Alto
1987 – 1998  Supportive Service at Catholic Worker House, Redwood City; Secretary/Receptionist at Senior Day Health Program, Palo Alto
1998 – 1999  Social Work Assistant, Supportive Service at Catholic Worker House, Redwood City; Secretary/Receptionist at Senior Day Health Program, Palo Alto
1999 – 2005  English Program Teacher and Coordinator, Joan’s House, Redwood City
2005 – 2008  Tutor/Teacher, Catholic Worker House, Redwood City
2008 – 2016  ESL Coordinator/Tutoring Program, Catholic Worker House, Redwood City
2016 – 2017  Volunteer, Catholic Worker House, Redwood City
2017 – 2022  Ministry of Prayer, Motherhouse, San Francisco