Miss Mary Bourke was born in Carrowskeheen, Addergoole, Co Mayo, Ireland on 11 June 1871.
She was the daughter of William Bourke (b. 1840), a farmer, and Mary O'Boyle (b. 1848) who had married on 5 March 1867. Her only known sibling was her brother John (b. 1869). Her mother died at a young age and her father was remarried to another Mayo woman named Margaret (b. 1837) who was destined to outlive him.
Mary and her brother appear on the 1901 census of Ireland living in at house 11 in Carrowskeheen living with her stepmother Margaret and she was described as a farmer's servant and she never married. Her stepmother died sometime later.
Her brother John had married in early 1911 to Catherine McHugh (b. 1879), a native of Tawnagh, Co Mayo who had emigrated to the USA, spending time in Chicago, Illinois before returning to Ireland in 1910. Mary, her brother and sister-in-law appeared on the 1911 census living at the same address as they appeared on the previous census.
Her sister-in-law's close friend Catherine McGowan had returned to her native Mayo in late 1911 with the intention of returning to Chicago in the following Spring. This perhaps prompted Mary and her brother to follow suit and she, her brother and sister-in-law Catherine made plans to emigrate to Chicago where Catherine's sister Ellen lived at 66 Ruby Street in Chicago.
She joined a large group of over a dozen people from her locality who would all be travelling third class aboard Titanic and Mary boarded the Titanic at Queenstown on 11 April 1912 (ticket number 364848 which cost £7, 15s).
On the night of the sinking Mary, her brother and Catherine were all reportedly asleep at the time of the collision but were awakened by a steward who told them to get up and dressed. The three of them (perhaps with the others whom they were travelling with) all made the upper decks and Mary and Catherine had ample opportunity to escape but they declined to be parted from John under the women and children first edict and the three of them were lost in the sinking.
Mary's body, if recovered, was never identified.