Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 28, 2003
Sisters killed in Easter car crash
Sister's car run over by semi-trailer
By RENATO GANDIA
"The contribution they give to the community is a great thing and to lose that many sisters will have a big impact."
- Dennis Gruenwald
Staff Sgt. Carl DeSantis of the city police traffic unit told the WCR, "We are coordinating all the sources we've got."
Accident reconstruction specialists and mechanical experts are working together to figure out what caused the collision.
Both vehicles were travelling west on the highway when the large truck rear-ended the Chevrolet Cavalier near Bowfort Road N.W.
The investigators have spoken to many witnesses and are still receiving calls from the community.
"It's a very complex investigation that requires a lot of resources. Investigation could take several more days," said DeSantis.
The loss has far-reaching effects to the Calgary Diocese where the sisters minister to poor, poverty-stricken pregnant teens and other people in need. The program, which is a partnership between the diocese and the sisters, is called Elizabeth House. It provides a safe haven for pregnant and parenting teens who are having difficulties.
Dennis Gruenwald, director of Catholic Charities in the diocese said, "It's a big loss for Elizabeth House, for the mothers and the babies and for the Catholic Charities."
"What the sisters gave to these girls, the ripple effect is something that we cannot measure," Gruenwald said. "The contribution they give to the community is a great thing and to lose that many sisters will have a big impact. The rest of us will have to work pretty darn hard to fill that hole."
Gruenwald remembers Basso, who worked in Elizabeth House, as "very easy to work with, very quiet and very supportive.
"She did her job well very quietly. She was like a mother and a grandmother all at once to a very large number of pregnant mothers and sometimes to the fathers of the babies. She was a wonderful support and friend for them."
Basso, originally from Ontario, ministered as an RN assistant at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary, LPN at the Colonel Belcher Hospital and assistant director of Elizabeth House.
Flaherty's ministry included teaching and pastoral care in several communities in Saskatchewan. She also devoted her time to St. Vincent de Paul Society, providing food and other necessities to the poor.
Proulx, who was born in Quebec, taught in primary and secondary schools in Quebec and England. When she came back to Canada, she worked in palliative care in British Columbia and later in Calgary.
Tetrault devoted her life to teaching elementary and high schools in Saskatchewan, pastoral care and she was the current provincial treasurer of the congregation.
The Sisters of Charity of St. Louis were founded in 1803 to help girls left homeless by the French Revolution. They came to Calgary in 1951, although they began ministering in Alberta in 1913 in Medicine Hat.
With the loss of four sisters, their community in Calgary is now down to 14 members.
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