Dear family and friends of Silvia,

Silvia arrived to study in the Peace and Conflict Studies (PACS) program at Conrad Grebel University College (affiliated with the University of Waterloo) in the mid 2000’s. I was the administrative assistant for the program at the time.

Silvia and I connected because we both had experience living and working in Africa. She had been in Sudan (most recently at the time) and I had come from several years working in Uganda. I was fascinated by Silvia’s vast life experience and her commitment to social justice and her wide view of Christian faith. I knew her as a person struggling against injustice with a passion for the people she met and a concern for the soul of relationships.One of the things I most admired about her was that she was willing to take risks to live out her values. After she graduated with the PACS Diploma we kept in touch on and off. I was touched when she decided to take her vows and give up her earthly possessions of which I was a beneficiary. I was able to visit her once or so in Toronto and enjoyed meeting her priest.  

Our paths led away from each other, but once in a while Silvia would be in touch with a question, a concern, a connection, or just to catch up. I was fascinated by her move to Albuquerque and we did chat by phone on at least one occasion when she lived there. I loved her ability to be jovial even in the midst of pain and painful circumstances. Life never seemed exactly easy for her, but she appeared to be resilient or able to find and ask for the supports she needed.

She gave generously of herself and her connections. The PACS program was a beneficiary of this in 2008 (?) when we were able to host Dr. Luis Lugo when he was the Director of the PEW Forum on Religion and Public Life because Silvia was a friend of Luis.

I am so sad to hear that Covid-19 took Silvia’s life.

How will I remember Silvia? As a passionate soul who struggled against injustice, was full of fun and hope despite the challenges she faced. I suppose the word resilience would also come to mind when I think of her.

— Mary Lou Klassen