Monday, December 22, 2014

Holy Spirit mourns loss of beloved sister, school principal

29 sister liz 1

From page A4 | January 29, 2014 |

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 Follow her on Twitter at

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.

Discussion | 10 comments

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  • Kerry GodwinJanuary 29, 2014 - 7:10 am

    I'm sad for the people who never had the chance to meet this wonderful person. It was an honor to know her. God bless her beautiful soul. Much love, The Godwin family

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  • Monica RavanelloJanuary 29, 2014 - 7:38 am

    Sister was an angel on earth. She inspired us and helped us grow our faith. She will be forever in our hearts.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rosalinda MclaughlinJanuary 29, 2014 - 9:12 am

    Sister Liz was truly on awesome lady. I was able to talk to her about anything. She made me a much better and different person. Thank you sister Liz. You will for ever be in my heart!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Jessica LockeJanuary 29, 2014 - 9:23 am

    I am a better person because of Sr Liz. I miss her so much and will hold on to all the wisdom and love she gave me over the years.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Alba SantosJanuary 29, 2014 - 9:53 am

    Sister Liz was a sister of wisdom and hope of the church. She gave wise advice to help us in life. She also had hope fir the world to be all good.

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  • Yanira G FigueroaJanuary 29, 2014 - 10:59 am

    Sister Liz is already missed, I will always treasured her beautiful smile and kindness. RIP Sister Liz Curtis.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Kami LinanJanuary 29, 2014 - 11:24 am

    I am a better person because of Sr. Liz. She was such a positive light in my world. I miss her so much.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Randy BoggsJanuary 29, 2014 - 6:25 pm

    I'll always remember Sister Liz as a charming and lovable woman with a quick wit and great sense of humor. Like everyone else, we will miss her company at Holy Spirit.

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  • Bill & Donna HollkampJanuary 29, 2014 - 12:41 pm

    Rest in peace Sr. Liz. We are all better off for having you touch our lives. Your gentle smile and loving demeanor will be sorely missed.

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  • JuneJanuary 29, 2014 - 9:49 pm

    I will always remember the times when Sister Liz would come to each classroom and ask, "Is this the best class in the school?" And we all scream, "Yea!!" She touched each and everyone of our hearts. I will really miss her. She loved each and everyone of us. She was like a mother to us. Someone we can always talk to. We were a family and we will always be. Forever and always. -Joelle Class of 2015

    Reply | Report abusive comment

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