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Sister Sharon Cross, OP
October 15, 1942 —March 17, 2023
Sister Sharon Cross, a Dominican Sister of San Rafael for 56 years (known as Sr. Edwin for a time), died peacefully on March 17, 2023, at the age of 81. A well-traveled and dedicated educator, Sr. Sharon left a mark on countless hearts near and far. A multi-faceted leader with a sense of responsibility and thoroughness and a curiosity for the world around her, Sr. Sharon touched countless lives through teaching and administration and created endless memories for all those lucky enough to travel the world—and life—with her.
A San Francisco native, Sr. Sharon was born Sharon Leslie Cross, the eldest daughter of James and Madeleine Cross, and she relished growing up in the city’s Sunset District with her brothers Gary, Dennis, and Noel. What would become a lifetime in Catholic education began in her own formative years attending St. Anne School in the Sunset and Presentation High School (proud alumnus of the Class of ’60).
It was through her studies at Dominican College that she came to know the Dominican Sisters. After a brief job in the medical field and time spent fulfilling a life dream to travel through Asia, she entered the convent and brought her gifts in the fields of English, Religious Studies, and Latin to students in a number of schools around the greater Bay Area, Stockton, and Monterey. She continued her studies while teaching, earning a master’s of liberal arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a master’s in education administration from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga.
Her creativity and energy were greatly appreciated especially in Latin video projects and in the area of campus ministry and retreat and liturgy planning. Her advocacy for Latin even made the papers! Students at St. Rose may remember a certain letter to the San Francisco Examiner in 1982 to (then) columnist Kevin Starr assuring him that the teaching of Latin was still going strong with further proof existing in Mr. Starr’s column in which he quoted Sr. Sharon along with the names of the students who had also penned a letter to his attention—in perfect Latin!
As an administrator, she served as principal and vice-principal through a challenging time, guiding the merger of St. Vincent’s High School into St. Patrick’s High School in Vallejo
Resourceful and determined, Sr. Sharon discovered a talent for refinishing furniture and other household handy skills which proved useful when St. Rose needed some refurbishments at one point. Ever the student of life with just the right amount of wander-lust, she enjoyed leading student trips to Europe, savored time in the American Southwest on sabbatical at the Sangré de Cristo Center, and brought all of her life experience to bear in her elected service of leadership to the congregation team. Her capacity for hard work and impeccable organizational skills made her a great asset to the leadership team while her steady and well-planned lessons offered her students a solid foundation in their Dominican education.
Never putting her campus ministry/liturgist role too far aside, Sr. Sharon auditioned for and became involved with the Sisters in Song choir—even singing the part of 2nd soprano on a CD recording project as a fundraiser for the retirement needs of men and women religious across the country. In 2015 she moved to Our Lady of Lourdes Convent where she enjoyed walking around the San Rafael campus admiring the flowers and the beauty of God’s creation.
Sister Sharon’s legacy lives on in the many lives she touched throughout her various ministries and travels and quite literally lives on in the pages of our Dominican Sisters' history books as she is credited with authoring historical overviews and introductions to our book of biographies. Sister Sharon is survived by her brothers and family members; and by her Dominican Sisters.
The Mass of the Resurrection will take place on Thursday, March 23 2023, at 10:00 am in the Dominican Sisters Gathering Space (1520 Grand Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901). Following the Funeral Mass, Sister Sharon will be buried in St. Dominic’s Cemetery in Benicia around 12:45 pm. All are welcome.
Memorial gifts in honor of Sister Sharon Cross may be made to the Retirement Fund, Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, Advancement Office, 1520 Grand Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901 and online at www.sanrafaelop.org/get-involved/ways-to-give.
St. John Vianney School, Rancho Cordova; 1967-69 (Teacher, grade 5)
San Domenico Upper School, San Anselmo; 1969-70 (Teacher—Latin, English, Religion)
Junipero Memorial High School, Monterey; 1970-73 (Teacher—English, Religion)
San Domenico Upper School, San Anselmo; 1970-73 (Teacher—English, Religion)
St. Mary’s High School, Stockton; 1973-78 (Teacher—English, Religion)
St. Rose Academy, San Francisco; 1978-85 (Vice Principal; Teacher—Latin, English, Religion)
St. Vincent Ferrer High School, Vallejo; 1985-87 (Principal)
St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School, Vallejo; 1987-92 (Vice Principal; Campus Ministry; Teacher—Religion)
Marin Catholic High School; 1993-97 (Religious Studies Department Chair)
San Domenico Upper School, San Anselmo; 2004-05 (Teacher and ESL Tutor)
Justin-Siena High School, Napa; 2005-07 (Academic Dean)
From 1992-2003, Sr. Sharon served on the Council of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael as a Councilor, and from 1997-2003 she was First Councilor.