Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 5, 2005
Sister celebrates her own centennial
By Special to the WCR
On Sept. 9, Sister Alice Gauthier turns 100 years old and incredibly, the oldest Sister of Providence in Holy Angels Province can often be found at daily Mass or enjoying a social gathering with the other sisters.
Sister Alice has spent her life in service to the poor and says that prayer and helping others has been her motivation.
When asked about her decision to enter the Sisters of Providence she smiled and replied, "It's almost 80 years ago, do you think I remember?" But of course Sister Alice remembers well.
She shared her past and the struggles she faced when at the age of six, her mother died of tuberculosis. "After my mother died, my father was left to raise me and my four brothers. He had to work long hours so I was placed in the care of the sisters."
Although it was a difficult time, Sister Alice has fond memories of her childhood years with the sisters. "The sisters were very good to me. I was happy, they gave me a childhood that I might never have had."
Alice soon realized that her life had changed dramatically because of the influence of the sisters. She knew she too wanted to serve the people, the poor, like the sisters she admired.
Sister Alice entered the novitiate in February 1926 in Montreal. She was sent west for her first ministry, arriving in Fort Vermilion in September 1927.
For 25 years, she worked with native communities in northern Alberta. She especially loved working with the children.
She told the children that she wanted to be a sister because she liked to help others. She believed that God would provide for her, and allow her to help the poor, visit them and be there when they needed her. She always felt close to the children.
She then served in administration at several community houses in Alberta and B.C., doing various jobs. In 1987, Sister Alice retired at age 82. However, this was just another beginning. She embraced this opportunity to continue her ministry of prayer and to visit other sisters in the infirmary.
Love of nature
Sister Alice has been blessed with good health. Although she now finds it difficult to walk, she still likes to get out as much as possible. She has a love of nature and enjoys the beauty of the seasons, but now relies on others to help her experience the outdoors.
Sister Alice is a determined lady. She knows what she likes and what she doesn't and is not afraid to speak her mind.
Her eyes are failing and her hearing isn't what it used to be, but she places her trust in God.
She has no regrets. "I have been very happy as a sister. This is the life I chose. I gave myself to God and to my community. For me, it has gone too fast."
Sister Alice recently received the province's Centennial Medallion from MLA Rick Miller. The medallions are being presented to Albertans 100 years or older to honour their efforts in building Alberta.