“We must do good every day…”

Yesterday, I posted on the passing of Catholic philanthropist George E. Doty.

Now there’s word that another great New York benefactor has died:

Florence D’Urso of Pelham Manor, one of the most important benefactors of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, who was also responsible for restoring many works of art at the Vatican, died Tuesday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. She was 79.

She was the widow of Camillo D’Urso, who founded the Key Food supermarket chain and was presumed drowned after he disappeared during a 1986 fishing trip off Florida.

Over decades, Florence D’Urso supported numerous Catholic causes and schools in New York and elsewhere. She was a prominent figure at the front of many Catholic events, often the only woman among bishops and priests.

She often arranged flowers for St. Patrick’s Cathedral and decorated the suite where Pope John Paul II stayed during his 1995 trip to New York City. Among the many institutions she supported were Iona College, the Our Lady of Mercy Healthcare System and Calvary Hospital. At the Vatican Museums, she restored the Perugino fresco “Moses’ Journey into Egypt” and Raphael’s “Dispute over the Blessed Sacrament,” among many others.

“We have such little time on this Earth, time that we can never recapture,” she told The Journal News in 2000 during a rare interview. “We must do good every day. You never know what the future will bring.”

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her…



  1. Catherine says:

    May the angels welcome her to paradise. Another American who played a key role in raising funds to support the Vatican Museums, Monsignor Eugene V. Clark, also died this month. May he rest in peace, and may perpetual light shine upon him!

  2. ecarney3@optonline.net says:

    May Monsignor Eugene V. Clark, cruelly maligned at the end of his outstandingly faithful and honorable priesthood, rest in the peace of Christ. God bless Florence D’Urso, Msgr. Clark, and all such brave, devout Catholics.

  3. Keiren McCarthy Farquhar says:

    Monsignor Clarke was a very special man.We were very close for many years.Monsignor was my Father’s best friend and after his death in 1956 Monsignor saw or spoke with us almost monthly.He married all my sisters and was Godfather to my children. He never returned phone calls or letters after the “scandal”, but we all loved him very much.May He rest in peace.

  4. FJ Corry says:

    Dear Ellen,
    Again, thanks for the kind words and the prayers.
    No, you did not miss me at the Month’s Mind Mass. I had family business to take care of in Boston and could not re-schedule it. I read Fr. Rutler’s homily on line and wrote to thank him for it. I also wrote to Rocco Palmo of Whispers in the Loggia to give him the “back story.”
    A few years before Msgr. Clark “retired,” I was told that I would be preaching at his funeral. As it happened I did not, but, if I had, it would have been the attached.
    Do you remember Rita McConnon? She posted a comment on the Times website recalling one of the funniest times of my life when Msgr. Clark took the editors of the Vanguard to see Beyond the Fringe despite the break-down of his car and our getting lost trying to find her in the South Bronx. I have many happy memories of times spent with him and what he taught me.
    I got to see him twice in 2009. He was a little frayed at the edges, but he knew me. We had enjoyable conversations, and both times – as he did so often when I was a boy – he sent me away with books – including his books by and about Cardinal Newman.
    How blessed we were to have known him!
    It comforts me to know that the people to whom I gave the news of his death and the Month’s Mind Mass – including some I met when I worked for him during my summers as a seminarian – wrote back that they also admired him and also were appalled at how his life ended.
    Frank Corry
    P.S. I teach the Church History courses in the Deacon Formation Program at Dunwoodie and have found the materials you prepared on A Man for All Seasons very helpful.

Leave a Comment