sister mary naomi treml
August 28, 1912 - October 30, 2010
Sister Mary Naomi Treml's conscious aim in life was to bring souls to God. Describing herself as coming from a "family of healers," Sister Naomi not only tended to the physical ills of others as a nurse, she also gently drew them to God, healing them from within by her aura of peace and light.
S. Naomi was born on August 28, 1912, in Luxemburg, Wis., and given the name Rose Margaret because the feast of St. Rose of Lima was near. An early childhood memory was that of her father reading to her and her brothers and sisters, in German, from the Lives of the Saints. Rose was the middle child of five girls and four boys.
When she was three years old the family moved to Casco, Wis., and lived on a farm. Her father, a professional carpenter, decided that with the Great Depression coming, it would be wise to have a source of food for his large family. Rose loved being with her dad as a "teamster," riding the tractor, plowing the fields and cutting the grain with him. Her mother was a professional seamstress and taught her how to sew. She was very proficient at a young age and was able to sew dresses for her sisters.
When she reached high school age, Rose went to a public school for one year; she then went to live with several families in Green Bay so she could attend St. Joseph's Academy. Working for her room and board, during her senior year, Rose stayed with cousins of S. Ella Josephine Kaster, with whom she became very close. After graduation, Rose attended Holy Family School of Nursing in Manitowoc for three years and received a nursing diploma, afterwards working as a nurse in Manitowoc and Green Bay.
As she matured spiritually, Rose was drawn to consider religious life. Because she had wanted to be a missionary, she had considered the Maryknolls. However, her spiritual director persuaded her to think about the Sisters of St. Joseph. Eventually, in 1939, Rose did enter the Sisters of St. Joseph in St. Louis.
Now known as S. Mary Naomi, in 1942, the newly professed sister was sent to the Boy's Home in St. Louis to be the resident nurse. Thus began a long career in the nursing profession. In 1958 Sister became a student at the College of St. Teresa and got her nursing degree.
Her nursing ministry encompassed the gamut of the profession. She served in supervisory roles as a night nurse, as nursing service director and as director of geriatrics. As a staff nurse she worked in all departments except surgery. Adaptable, S. Naomi loved all aspects of nursing, and her co-workers appreciated her cooperative nature. For over 30 years, she nursed in most of our hospitals: St. Joseph's Hospital, Hancock; St. Joseph's Hospital, Kirkwood; St. Joseph Health Center, Kansas City.
In 1984, S. Naomi moved to Green Bay from Kansas City. She worked part time in pastoral care at St. Vincent's Hospital. Whenever possible she spent time in family care in Casco-about 20 miles away. After her retirement, she spent about half time in Casco, but before she left, she always provided individual meals for S. Ruth Burkart, with whom she lived. Always an avid gardener, S. Naomi also made sure she and S. Ruth had fresh parsley growing indoors all winter. Nearing the end of an active life of ministry, S. Naomi thought it best that she move to Nazareth Living Center.
Thus at age 88 she arrived at NLC in 2000 and enjoyed getting to know many sisters whose paths she had never crossed. Because she had always loved being outdoors from her youth, she lovingly tended a flower and a vegetable bed on the patio. Cutting blossoms and picking cherry tomatoes to share with staff and other residents gave her joy. Even though she didn't get to go to the foreign missions, S. Naomi certainly lived the mission of Jesus throughout her lifetime. At age 98, she peacefully and quickly gave herself to God for all eternity.
S. Rita Louise Huebner
S. Joan Kaucher