70 Years: Naomi Hurd, SP

Sister Agnes Elizabeth

Naomi Hurd, SP
Beginning with 7 a.m. breakfast and ending with bedtime at 10 p.m., books and reading figure prominently in Sister Naomi Hurd’s days. In between there are prayers, perhaps a meeting, meals and exercise, but in every spare moment this former teacher and librarian has a book in hand. “I have to keep my mind going,” she said. Her days at St. Joseph Residence are a special blessing. “I really enjoy living here,” the 70-year Jubilarian reported. “The helpful caregivers are very good, the food is well prepared, and the chapel is right here for daily Mass. The days go by very quickly and I’m not bored or lonely.”

Sister Naomi was born in Cle Elum, Wash., and grew up with five older sisters. Her love of books and her vocation were nurtured by Sister Helen Ann, librarian at St. Joseph Academy in Yakima. After graduation, Sister Naomi and her best friend, the late Sister Mary Maxine Berghoff, entered the novitiate together at Mount St. Vincent, Seattle, and made profession in 1943. First, though, there were a series of ice cream parties because they thought they never would have the sweet treat again.

Earned masters degrees in theology and library science

Assigned to teach, Sister Naomi took summer college classes at the College of Great Falls (Mont.), completing her bachelor of arts degree at Seattle University and at Portland University, and then earning master’s degrees in theology and library science.

Sister Naomi taught in Washington at Sacred Heart School, Tacoma, and returned as principal; at Holy Family School, Seattle, St. Joseph Academy, Yakima, Providence Academy, Vancouver, St. Vincent Academy, Walla Walla, and St. Michael School, Olympia. She also taught at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, Ill., and at St. Finbar in Burbank, Calif. She taught all grades but especially loved first grade. She later taught religion at John F. Kennedy High School, Seattle.

Saw technology change library sciences

Sister Naomi was librarian at DeSales High School in Walla Walla, Wash., 1973-74, and at Providence High School in Burbank, Calif., 1974-76.

Her horizons were broadened considerably in March of 1976 when she became the new medical librarian for St. Joseph Medical Center, also in Burbank. She helped plan the building, which housed medical records, professional staff offices and the new medical library. In her 22 years as medical librarian, she experienced a host of changes as technology transformed the range of information and access to it.

In 1992, Sister Naomi made a CREDO program pilgrimage to the Holy Land. She retired to Caritas Court in West Seattle in 1998 and later moved to St. Joseph Residence. It is there that she will celebrate her 70th Jubilee as a Sister of Providence. “No special celebration,” she said. “I could really skip Jubilee, but I can’t, so I’ll be ready.”