In the spring of 1851, Sister Loyola (Rosalie Duquenne), Superior of the Oregon group, accompanied by Sister Marie (Catherine Cabareaux), journeyed to San Francisco to meet four sisters coming from Belgium. They were received by Bishop Alemany who asked that the newcomers remain in California in order to open a school in San Jose. Sister Loyola agreed to the Bishop’s request, and the Sisters of Notre Dame purchased their first property in San Jose.
The growth of Notre Dame in the 1850’s and 1860’s paralleled the rapid and optimistic growth of the State. In 1868, the San Jose school was chartered by the State of California as the "College of Notre Dame," the first college for women in California. In 1923, the College of Notre Dame was moved from San Jose to the Ralston Mansion in Belmont, and within a few years, Notre Dame High School was built on the grounds.
In 1956, the mission in Hawaïi started by the Massachusetts Province in 1946 becomes part of California Province.
Through the years, sisters staffed schools in California, Oregon and Washington. Today, some sisters are engaged in formal education at all levels and in education through social services, catechetical and pastoral works. The sisters of the California Province are involved in collaborative efforts of all the Sisters of Notre Dame in the United States.