Sister Susan Curran, MM

Born: March 13, 1908
Entered: July 2, 1931
Died: January 25, 1997

We gather together today to celebrate the Liturgy of Resurrection with thanksgiving for the life of Sister Susan Curran.

The words of the Gospel reading remind us once again of Sister’s call and response to a very rich life of missionary zeal. “Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servants be also. Whoever serves me, will be honored.” It was Sister’s great desire for union with God that first drew her to Maryknoll and sustained her throughout her 65 years as a Maryknoll Sister. Preceding her death on January 25 in Residential Care, Sister had become very ill and seemed to be rallying, when suddenly her condition deteriorated and she quietly was called from this life to final union with God. Sister Gilmary Simmons was with her in these last graced moments.

Sister Susan was born in County Cavan, Ireland on March 13, 1908 to Margaret McGoldrick and Farrel Curran. She was one of six brothers and sisters. After finishing her education in the National School in Ireland she came to the United States and was engaged in domestic work prior to her entrance in Maryknoll on July 2, 1931. At the time of her reception she received the name, Sister Margaret Teresa. She then made First Profession on January 6, 1934, followed by Final Profession on January 6, 1937.

Her first assignment was to the Philippines in 1939 and after two years was reassigned to Hawaii. Because of the war, this change of regions necessitated a very dangerous and eventful boat trip before reaching her final destination in Honolulu. Sister was to spend 43 very happy and meaningful years of mission in Hawaii, first in the Punahoe house and later at the Maui Children’s home. In 1965 she began to do catechetical work in St. John’s parish along with her housekeeping responsibilities. It was while she was at St. John’s that she decided to attend Honolulu Community college and received an Associate of Arts Degree in 1974. During this time she became interested in doing volunteer work at the Waimano Training School and Hospital working with mentally and physically disabled persons. At first, Sister found the large number of patients at the hospital overwhelming, but she soon entered into her ministry there with her usual enthusiasm and zeal. The highlight of her days there were two 3 ½ year old twins whom she fed and cared for in many loving ways. She became part of the Foster Grandparent Program and every day would board the bus from St. Catherine’s and go off to offer her services to the patients at Waimano.

This Community Action volunteer work of the Foster Grandparent Program was later extended to include the Head Start Program at Lincoln School and Susan began teaching English to the children of immigrant parents. This was one of the most significant times in her life and she blossomed in her many new relationships with the children and their parents. She truly loved the children as they loved her, and her listening ear and a great gift of patience were much appreciated by all those to whom she ministered.

One thread that was woven throughout Susan’s life was her desire and frequent requests to become part of the Cloister community. Although she was never encouraged to pursue an assignment to the Cloister, Sister Susan continued to make daily efforts to grow and deepen her spiritual life.

In 1984, after suffering from an accident, Sister decided to return to the Center for her retirement. Before leaving Hawaii, she shared with the other Sisters what her mission years had meant to her. (And I quote) “The children with whom I worked, played, and prayed at the Children’s Home on Maui are many of them now parents, and it is a consolation to know that some of the lessons we taught them there, they are now using as guide lines in raising their own children. All I ask and pray for is that the good Lord will continue to send his Peace, Joy and Happiness into the hearts of all Hawaii’s children and their dear parents whom my life has touched.”

Sister chose the Center for retirement rather than Monrovia in order to be closer to her loving family as they had been urging her to come home. As she explained to her friends, “My own uneasiness is that I’d have more headstones to pray at if I didn’t return now.” In the coming years, Susan would make the trips to Massachusetts as often as she could whenever she found a ride going that way. She, also, enjoyed her retirement here at the Center, attending lectures and all the other activities available to her. In these latter years she would always come to community events, a bit unsteady on her feet, but with a firm desire not to miss anything!

Sister Susan had a wonderful sense of humor and a quick Irish wit which endeared her to all. Her clarity of purpose and single mindedness were always tempered by her gracious smile and gentle manner. She may have been the most carefully dressed one in the whole Center as she loved to look well and dressed in beautiful bright colors, no matter what the occasion!

Susan’s prayer ministry was with the Western Region and they have remembered her in a special way through the flowers present here on the altar this morning. So, in closing I just want to say that all of us will miss Sister Susan very much and yet we are at peace in the knowledge that she has now attained her goal of union with God in all it’s fullness.