Sister M. Victoria Commins O.P.

Sister M. Victoria Commins, O.P. Sister Victoria Commins, a Dominican Sister of San Rafael for 65 years, died peacefully after a long illness at Our Lady of Lourdes Convent on March 22 at the age of 84. Born in Oakland, California, Mary Loo was the daughter of Emmet and Mary Louise (Vander Loo) Commins. She and her brother Gerald grew up in Ross where she attended Ross Elementary School. Mary Loo met the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael when she enrolled in Dominican Convent Upper School in San Rafael. She attended Stanford University briefly before entering the convent. Sister Victoria received her bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1952 and her master's degree in biochemistry in 1964, both from Dominican College. She also earned her standard secondary teaching credential. Sister Victoria was a brilliant and dedicated teacher of science, mathematics, religion, and computer technology. She taught high school students for forty-two years in northern California, at Santa Catalina Upper School in Monterey, St. Rose Academy in San Francisco, St. Mary's High School in Stockton, Justin-Siena High School in Napa, St. Vincent Ferrer High School/St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School in Vallejo, Dominican Convent Upper School in San Rafael and San Domenico School in San Anselmo. For several years, before she became ill, Sister Victoria taught math and science at St. Raphael Elementary School in San Rafael. Sister Victoria recalled that her mother had once remarked that the sisters were wonderful teachers because they taught out of love. Sister Victoria loved the ministry of education and the joys and challenges of finding ways to enable her students to develop their potential. She loved sharing the wonder and beauty of creation and the Creator with her students, with her sisters in the congregation, and with all whom she had the opportunity to meet. One of her good friends wrote about her: "When I saw her [elementary school] classroom, cluttered with examples of anatomy and astronomy, all happily inhabiting the same chaotic but cozy universe, I thought how fortunate those children are to have this gentle soul with whom to share their evolving intellectual quest. Here is someone whose mind will always be Dominican, but whose heart is ever Franciscan." Among the highlights of her life, Sister Victoria numbered the opportunity to help design four sets of high school science laboratories, and later to teach in each of them. She also vividly recalled a special trip to Europe in 1979 when she saw Pope John Paul II and Santa Sabina in Rome, Fra Angelico's frescoes in Florence, and places in France where St. Dominic lived and preached. Sister was predeceased by her parents. She is survived by her brother, Gerald Commins and his wife, Joann, her nieces Coleen Kelly, Diane Umbarger and Susan Reicher, her nephew, Jack Commins, several grandnieces and grandnephews, and by her Dominican sisters. The funeral Mass will take place on Monday, March 31 at 11:00 a.m. at the Dominican Sisters Center, 1520 Grand Avenue in San Rafael. Burial will follow at St. Dominic Cemetery in Benicia. Memorial gifts in memory of Sister Victoria may be sent to the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, Development Office, 1520 Grand Avenue, San Rafael, CA, 94901. Monte's Chapel Of The Hills ~ San Anselmo 415-453-8440

Funeral Home

Monte's Chapel Of The Hills
330 Red Hill Ave San Anselmo, CA 94960
(415) 453-8440

Published in Marin Independent Journal on Mar. 28, 2014