Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 25, 2008
Sr. Alica Caza gave life to inner city women
Sr. Alica Caza
By CHERYL KLASSEN
Special to the WCR
Reflecting on the strength, courage, faith and wisdom of Sister Alice Caza, Barbara Marquis remembers her qualities.
Caza encouraged new life, peace, prayer and the possibility of making dreams come true for residents at Elizabeth Place, an inner-city residence in Edmonton for vulnerable and low-income women.
Sister Alice, 83, died July 4 after a brief period with cancer.
Caza and Marquis were the coordinators at Elizabeth House. Caza, a Sister of St. Joseph of London, Ont., had a vision and prayed that each resident's innate seed of goodness within them would blossom and bring their dreams to fruition, Marquis said.
In the past 20 years, several hundred women lived at Elizabeth Place. Caza was proud of all of them and actively promoted hospitality, education, self-awareness and faith in the house.
Before Caza died, she requested her friend Barbara, with whom she lived for 18 years, to create an artistic design for her pall (the cloth that is draped over the casket).
While creating the pall, Marquis reflected on who Caza was and how her life had similarities with that of St. Elizabeth.
"Alice, like Elizabeth, knew that when two spirits are connected in faith, tenderness and compassion, the Holy leaps in life from one heart to another in a wonderful cosmic leap," Marquis said.
"We feel this leap perhaps for a moment as Elizabeth did but we forever know this moment because it transforms our lives."
Sister Alice, like Elizabeth, was an older woman ministering to younger women. Her spirit touched many hearts with wisdom, grace, kindness and prayer. She reached out to others with openness and acceptance.
Caza had a gift of hospitality and generosity. She was devoted to friends and family. She called her sister, Isabelle, in Kitchener, Ont., twice a day.
Twelve years ago, Sister Alice had cancer in the spine and was told she would never walk again. She courageously defied the medical opinion and walked again with the grace of God and the help of her devoted friend Marquis.
Marquis attentively cared for each of Caza's medical and physical needs.
During Alice's 59 years of religious life, she served as an educator in Ontario and Senegal, Africa and volunteered as an ESL teacher for immigrants and refugees in Edmonton.
Caza's favourite outings included trips to Elk Island Park and Sylvan Lake. She enjoyed painting, gardening, playing Scrabble, baking and cooking.