Lillian Caceres

Lillian Caceres
World Trade Center

Touch of an Angel

It's very easy for Lillian Caceres's family to envision her as an angel in heaven. She was very warm and friendly, the kind of sister who would sit at the bedside of someone who was ill or lend a patient ear to someone's problems, said her younger sister Aurea de la Cruz. For 22 years Ms. Caceres, 48, made a point of incorporating her belief in Christ into her daily life, and shared her faith with family and friends, sometimes giving Bibles as gifts.

And then there's the video.

On Sept. 10, Ms. Caceres appeared in a play at Gateway Cathedral, a nondenominational church in Staten Island where she taught Sunday school and sang in the choir. In the play, "Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames," Ms. Caceres was one of the angels who greet people in heaven after they have died in such calamities as a car crash, a plane crash or a building collapse. "It was profound," said Ms. de la Cruz, "because the theme of that whole play is you have to be ready for Christ."

On Sept. 11, Ms. Caceres, a technology administrator, was at her desk at Marsh & McLennan at 8 a.m. It was her 11-year-old daughter's first week back at school; Ms. Caceres had asked for the early shift so she could meet her daughter at 4 o'clock.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on January 13, 2002.

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