Simona Holguin was born into a close Mexican Catholic family with two brothers and a much-loved sister named Lucy. She first came to know the Sisters in Santa Barbara after third grade, when she attended a summer program.
Later, the Holguin children transferred to Dolores School, where Simona was impressed with the way the Sisters interacted with one another and with the students. She decided early on that life as a Sister of Notre Dame was the life for her. Entering the novitiate in 1946, she later chose the name Lucy in honor of her sister.
There was no question about Sister Lucy’s preference in teaching; she had a natural rapport with children in the first and second grades. Her class in Los Angeles had exactly 30 girls and 30 boys! “We were always reassured that God gave us the grace of the ‘charge’—we hoped!” said Sister Lucy.
She taught in 12 schools along the West Coast and Hawaii, with longer assignments in Alameda, Chico, and at St Lucy’s (Campbell) and Star of the Sea (Honolulu). Along the way, she completed a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from the University of San Francisco. She served as Principal and Superior of some of the schools where she was assigned.
Vatican II began the renewal process for women’s congregations, and Sisters could now visit their families. Sr. Lucy was asked to accompany one of the Sisters on a home visit to Mexico City. Sr. Lucy was delighted, and she was able to invite her sister Lucy to make the trip as well. Her sister later joined the Notre Dame Associates, a group of lay women who live the charism and spirituality of St. Julie.
When Sr. Lucy returned to Santa Barbara in the 1980’s and 90’s, she enjoyed serving as Principal, then Director of Religious Education in her home parish of Our Lady of Sorrows. Among other blessings, Sister counts her participation in a program of spiritual renewal in Rome for SNDs from all parts of the Notre Dame world, which she attended with California Sister Yvonne Bondi. There she met and experienced the reach of Notre Dame on five continents.
Since 2010, Sister has been living at Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland. She was surprised recently by a visit from some of her former first graders at St. Philip Neri School in Alameda. It was one of her favorite classes in one of her favorite missions. She also enjoys visits from former students from Chico, another place where she made lasting friendships. It’s no surprise that her wonderful sense of fun and humorous stories continue to draw people to her.
As she reflects on what seven decades in Notre Dame means to her, she spoke of the unconditional acceptance she felt in Notre Dame from the start. She is grateful for her good education and the many opportunities she has been given for enrichment along the way. Above all, she is grateful to a loving God for her 70 years as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur. In the words of our blessed foundress, St. Julie Billiart, “How Good is the Good God!”