Sr. Sylvia Rita Hicks was born June 15, 1943 in St. Jeans, Quebec. She is the eldest of 13 children born to John and Catherine (nee de Lesseps) Hicks. After WWII ended, her Dad took a job as an accountant in the oil fields in Colombia. So, the small family moved there. After a few years, they returned to Canada and settled in Westholme, BC where Sylvia grew up. She was a good student and had a thirst for knowledge.
Early on, she had 3 goals for her life: Become a religious Sister; a doctor; and serve those in most need in Africa. She felt the call to religious life and joined the Sisters of the Child Jesus. They encouraged her and made it possible for her to go to Medical School. Later in life, Sr. Sylvia was affiliated with the Sisters for Christian Community (SFCC) whose motto is “That All May Be One.” She achieved her second goal graduating from Medical School in the mid-1970’s and she realized her third goal--serving in Africa as a Doctor. She shared her medical skills in Lusikisiki and in Liberia. When she returned to Canada, she did many locums as a Doctor. Always hungry to learn more, she succeeded in receiving a PhD in 1994 in Theocentric Counselling. Also, she became a pilot, a skill she hoped would be useful in Africa.
When she came to Nelson in 2017, she found a warm and welcoming Parish community. She joined the Catholic Women’s League (CWL). She enjoyed the hospitality of the Knights of Columbus (K of C) monthly breakfasts after Sunday Mass, and she joined the prayer groups in the Parish. During Covid, she was able to keep up contact with the different groups through Zoom. In the latter years she was one of the sacristans at the Cathedral of Immaculate Mary (CIM). She was very happy to serve in whatever way she was needed.
Her health was deteriorating, and she did her best to cope with many challenges. Unexpectedly, she was called home to her eternal reward on April 15, 2023. She daily prayed the Divine Mercy Prayer and had just completed the Novena in preparation for Divine Mercy Sunday (which was on April 16th) when she was called Home. She had followed all the requirements (Good Confession, Holy Communion) so needless to say, Sr. Sylvia was ready.
Her Memorial Mass was celebrated April 28th at 10:30 am at the Cathedral of Immaculate Mary with the pastor Fr. Neil Lustado presiding. Family members from Williams Lake, BC, St. John’s, NL and Montreal, QC were in attendance. Following the Mass, there was a reception put on by the CWL. Condolences go out to the family.