FAIRFIELD — Ana Bagley choked back tears as she talked about Sister Elizabeth Curtis, recalling a woman who had a huge influence on her life. She also focused on the call to finish Curtis’ work.
Curtis, who served as principal of Holy Spirit Catholic School for 14 years, died Friday. She was 67. The school is marking its annual commemoration of Catholic Schools Week, which ends Saturday, on a much quieter note.
Holy Spirit students on Tuesday walked in groups from their classroom to pray for their beloved principal. Like Bagley, they remembered a woman who was there when you needed her, one who offered words of encouragement in an Irish brogue.
“She made me feel like, no matter how hard my day was, it was going to get better,” Bagley said. “She would tell me, ‘pray love, have faith love.’ ”
Curtis will be greatly missed, Bagley said. She also said Curtis left all those who knew her with a little seed to continue the sister’s work of being kind and generous.
“She had a good way with people,” said the Rev. Michael Downey, pastor of Holy Spirit Catholic Church. “She had such a warm personality. She reached the hearts of people.”
A native of Ireland, Curtis served as principal of St. Dominic’s School in Benicia before arriving at Holy Spirit.
Curtis left her mark on every ministry at Holy Spirit.
Susie Hernandez, who oversees the faith formation program at the church, said Curtis was kind and understanding. The faith formation program uses school classrooms. Curtis always made sure the volunteer faith formation teachers had what they needed for the program.
“She will be greatly missed,” Hernandez said. “There’s a big cloud over us. We have to go on. It’s going to be very difficult. The void will be felt for a long time.”
George Bagley had just finished writing an article on Curtis for the local Knights of Columbus publication. He praised her for the new ministries she introduced to the church and the existing ones she improved.
“She was a mentor, and confidant, to many women (in the church),” he said.
A www.gofundme page was set up to help pay expenses for Downey and Curtis’s fellow members of the Sisters of the Holy Faith to travel to Ireland, where Curtis will be buried. The goal was to raise $5,000. Almost $11,000 was raised in two days.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.