Lorraine Caza was born on September 17, 1935, in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu to a French-speaking father and an English-speaking mother. Surrounded by an older brother and two younger sisters, she lived a pleasant childhood in a religious family environment. As early as her First Communion, she decided to dedicate her life to God. In January 1956, following her studies at Collège Marguerite-Bourgeoys, she entered the Congrégation de Notre-Dame and made profession two years later. She then began teaching – mostly mathematics – at the high school level until 1961 and later at the college level at Regina Assumpta.
In the summer of 1962, she took an advanced Mathematics course at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. A scholarship from this University enabled her to continue her studies during the 1963-1964 academic school year, at the end of which she obtained an M.S. degree. When the Congregation offered her the possibility of obtaining a Doctorate in Theology, she travelled to Ottawa to study at the Dominican University College, which had just been authorized to admit female students. In the fall of 1967, Sister Lorraine was the first and only full-time female student. In 1972, she obtained a Masters degree in Theology and wrote a thesis on the theology of hope. When the Dominicans invited her to teach at the college, she became the first female professor to teach at the Dominican College’s Faculty of Theology. Wanting to pursue doctoral studies, she requested and obtained a scholarship from the Canada Council for the Arts, and in February 1977, left Canada to attend the École archéologique et biblique de Jérusalem. Her doctoral thesis entitled Mon Dieu pourquoi m’as-tu abandonné, cri du Christ sur la croix was submitted in 1985 and published in 1989. In 1987, she won the Paola e Antonio Malipiero Foundation award in Bologna for the best doctoral thesis submitted to this international competition.
When she returned to Canada in 1980, Sister Lorraine resumed her courses at the Faculty of Theology at the Dominican College in Ottawa. In 1984, she was named the College’s Associate Dean, Director of Studies and Academic Council Secretary. When, in 1987, she accepted to serve as Dean of the Faculty, she became the first woman to assume the deanship of a Faculty of Theology in Pontifical Rights. She occupied that position until 1993 when she was named Vice Principal of the College. In 1996, her community called her to become Superior General of the Congrégation de Notre-Dame.
In 2006, after completing her last term as Superior General, she took a few months for rest and renewal at the Visitandines Monastery in Fribourg, Switzerland. When she returned, the Congrégation de Notre-Dame suggested that she reside at Maison de prière Notre-Dame in Old Longueuil. Because of her profound interest in her community’s spirituality, Sister Lorraine gladly accepted the request and became actively involved. Over the years, because of the importance she gives to fostering dialogue between cultures, she has given numerous conferences, retreats and consultations at Maison de prière, in other parts of the country and internationally. She also sits on many boards of directors, such as those of Le Pèlerin, a centre for spiritual guidance, Fondation de la Vidéo religieuse, and McGill University’s Newman Centre, a Catholic student centre. Always seeking “opportunities for new life,” this pioneer of the Church in Canada continues her ministry in three major areas: the future of congregations and religious orders, the spirituality of the Visitation of Mary ̶ the inspiration for the life and work of Marguerite Bourgeoys ̶ and the witness of hope in today’s world.