Sister of Mercy Rosemary Floersch helped students in need

For most of her 70 years of religious life, Sister of Mercy Rosemary Floersch was a teacher and tutor.

She was passionate about teaching but went well beyond that when she saw students’ other needs. She assisted with life skills and helped with housing, furniture and shopping.

Especially in her later ministry, Sister Rosemary said she felt a “persistent urging from God to work with the poor,” according to her Sisters of Mercy community.

Her former students and others fondly remember her after her death on May 16. She was 89.

Services in Omaha included a May 25 vigil service at John A. Gentleman 72nd Street Chapel and a May 26 funeral Mass at the Mercy High School Chapel.

Burial was to be at Resurrection Cemetery.

Sister Rosemary was born in Omaha, the oldest of Paul and Catherine (Ring) Floersch’s four children.

She attended Holy Name School and St. Mary High School, a forerunner to Mercy High School, where she later taught for more than 35 years.

Three months after high school graduation, in 1952, she entered the Sisters of Mercy.

In 1958 Sister Rosemary made her perpetual vows.

She graduated from College of Saint Mary in Omaha with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and later earned a master’s degree in counseling and guidance from St. Thomas College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Sister Rosemary taught in Catholic elementary schools for 10 years before arriving at Mercy in 1966. She taught debate, speech, history and English and was honored as  Nebraska South District Coach of the Year four times, in 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002.

“Teaching has always been somewhat of a passion for me,” Sister Rosemary had said. “When others were looking for a day off, I wanted school.”

Her former students saw her commitment.

One remarked: “Sister Rosemary taught us how to develop our critical thinking skills for debate, but she also spent time making sure we did well on other things. She even taught me how to pump gas.”

After 46 years in the classroom, Sister Rosemary began tutoring children of Sudanese immigrants a few days a week.

“She soon realized that these refugee families needed more than just tutoring,” the Sisters of Mercy said in a written tribute. “She expanded her ministry by providing life services, such as assisting with housing needs, delivering furniture, and assisting them shopping for groceries.”

What started as tutoring expanded into a Sudanese Outreach Project, which she founded in 2003 and directed.

Sister Rosemary was preceded in death by her parents and brother, Paul Floersch Jr.

Survivors include the Sisters of Mercy; sisters Mary Dolan, Catherine Criqui; sister-in-law, Mary Lou Floersch; and nieces and nephews.

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