For the Umatuna Si Yu’os
When Bishop Apollinaris Baumgartner asked for the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) to come to Guam and teach in 1949, Sister Naomi Curtin (Sister Aquina) was one of the seven pioneer sisters to be called to Guam.
Sister Naomi was born on June 8, 1924 into a large family, from whom three of the girls joined the SSND. In her autobiography, Sister Naomi mentioned that “a large family prepares you for anything and everything.”
Sister made her first profession on July 29, 1943. In 2013, she celebrated her 70th jubilee anniversary as a SSND. Sister Naomi died on Dec. 13, 2017 and was buried at Notre Dame of Elm Grove Cemetery, Elm Grove, Wis.
Sister Naomi ministered as an educator for 53 years, teaching at all levels, from primary school through college. Additionally, she served as principal, consultant, lecturer, and curriculum coordinator. She taught at Catholic schools in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Guam.
On Guam, she taught at St. Francis Catholic School in Yoña, San Vicente Catholic School in Barrigada, and Mt. Carmel Catholic School in Agat from 1949 to 1963. After some time away from the island, she returned from the states in 1977 and worked as a teacher and educational consultant until 1986. Sister Naomi returned to the states and worked as a coordinator and consultant for the Silva Mind Development in Burnsville, Minn. from 1989 to 1996.
Sister Naomi received a bachelor’s in education and history from Mount Mary College; a master’s in education and curriculum from Marquette University in Milwaukee; and a doctorate in education and curriculum from the University of Oregon.
Upon her retirement in 1996, she lived at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel -Community in Mt. Calvary, Wis. In 2011, she was a member of Our Lady of the Angels Community in Greenfield, Wis., serving by her prayer and presence.
While on Guam she was the first principal when San Vicente Catholic schools opened its doors to one class of eighth graders and two classes of seventh graders. Sister Naomi mentioned in her autobiography that the most meaningful time of her life in ministry was the 23 years she spent in Guam, even though she was far from her family.
Back then, those seven pioneer SSND were teachers both in the Catholic schools and the parishes’ CCD (Eskuelan Pale’) programs. Sister Naomi was one of the SSND who in the 50s, 60s, and early 70s not only taught and administered in schools, but also directed and produced many stage plays of religious nature.
In her autobiography, Sister Naomi said, “It has been a privilege to be a School Sister of Notre Dame and I would like people to know that being in education brought out the leadership in me and in so many of the sisters in the congregation.”
The pioneer class of 1955 to 1956 from San Vicente will always remember that stately, energetic, and enthusiastic Sister Naomi Curtin (Sister Aquina) who on Dec. 13 heard the voice of the God she lovingly and generously served say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the glory prepared for you…”
May Sister Naomi rest in peace.
This remembrance is compiled by Sister Francine Perez, SSND from Sister Naomi Curtin’s Autobiography and the Central Pacific Province Archive