We elebrate the life of Sister Loyola Marie Curtain, a Sister of St. Joseph for seventy-two years. Born Therese, the youngest of eleven children of Anna and William Curtin, Loyola grew up in Brooklyn She attended St. Mary Mother of Jesus Parish School and St. Brendan’s High School.
Entering the congregation after high school, Loyola taught young children at Sacred Heart Seminary in Hempstead and in Brooklyn at St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Rose of Lima, St. Agnes, and St. Ambrose. During those years she earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Manhattan College and a Masters from Boston College.
In the mid-sixties Loyola began her dedicated ministry to the deaf at St. Francis de Sales School for the Deaf in Brooklyn. Studying at Canisius College and at Gallaudet University she learned to understand the developmental and educational needs of the deaf community. But more than that, Loyola’s generous heart was moved to do whatever needed to be done, keeping with the tradition of our congregation, to insure that deaf children would learn and thrive. She brought her determination and resourcefulness to her role as Superintendent for the Cleary School for the Deaf in Ronkonkoma. There, she was advocate, guide and consistent supporter of the children and their parents. She was tireless in getting respect and resources for their needs and was able to obtain state funding for the Cleary school, a pioneer endeavor that would enhance its sustainability. She brought her experience and expertise with the deaf to her role as Superintendent of the Caritas School in Rockville Centre.
Always keenly aware of any individual person’s needs, Loyola began her ministry of Parish outreach at St. Rose of Lima in Massapequa in 1978. Once again, she used her resourcefulness and persuasive skills to gain services and support for those most in need and could always get people to “get it done.” Working closely with Catholic Charities she and her friend Msgr. Fagan worked miracles, many we know about and many unseen. Loyola’s efforts have been widely recognized with a number of service awards including the Woman of Distinction from both the town of Oyster Bay and the town of Massapequa.
Over these past weeks the gospel readings remind us of the miracles Jesus worked for the gravely ill, the paralyzed, the blind and the mute as signs of God’s unconditional love for all without exception. He showed his disciples how they were to live. Loyola knew her God and was attentive to the way she was to live out her life, working miracles for others with her warm smile and “no fluff” ways. So today, in memory of Loyola, we can all proclaim the words of St. Paul and “Give thanks to God every time we think of you.” We are grateful for her life with us.
Sister Loyola Marie Curtin, CSJ died on March 12, 2018 in the 73rd year of her religious life.