Vivian Votruba, 98, Provided Medical Care As Longtime Maryknoll Sister

Vivian Votruba, 98, a Maryknoll Sister who provided medical care in many countries for decades, died on Thursday, March 22, at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.

Sister Vivian Votruba
Sister Vivian Votruba Photo Credit: Contributed

Sister Vivian was born in Minneapolis, Minn. on Jan. 3, 1920 to Irma (Cosgrove) Votruba and August Votruba. She had two brothers, John and William, all have predeceased her.

In 1937, she graduated from Villa Sancta Scholastica High School in Duluth, Minn. She attended the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. to begin the process of earning her Bachelor of Science Degree. On July 2, 1940 she entered the Maryknoll Sisters Novitiate in Ossining from St. Clement’s Parish, in the diocese of Duluth. 

At her Reception into the Congregation she retained her baptismal name of Vivian becoming Sister Mary Vivian. She made her First Profession of Vows on March 7, 1943 and her Final Profession of Vows on March 7, 1946.

From 1942-1943, Sister Vivian studied at Mount St. Vincent College in New York City and finished earning her Bachelor of Science Degree. From 1943-1944, she attended classes at Maryknoll Teachers College.

She then went to Marquette School of Medicine in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she earned a Degree as a Doctor of Medicine in 1947. Sister Vivian spent the next year doing her medical internship at Misericordia Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa.

In 1948, Sister Vivian received her first overseas mission assignment to Bolivia where she did language study at CalaCala and began her medical ministry at the Maryknoll Hospital in Riberalta, Bolivia. 

For the next several years, Sister Vivian’s medical work took her to many places around the world: Azangaro, Peru in 1960; Biafra, in Nigeria, Africa, working with refugees in 1969; and back to Peru in Ica and Ciudad de Dios (outside of Lima) in 1970.

In 1982, Sister Vivian returned to Maryknoll to serve in the Congregation’s Development Department’s World Awareness Program until 1985. She then served among the Navajo Indians in New Mexico before returning to Tacna, Peru in 1985. In 1991, Sister Vivian was assigned to Rosedale, Miss. for three years to do pastoral work. 

In 1995, she was assigned to Pogradec, Albania where she did medical and pastoral work, administrative work, and worked with women in need. In 1996, she was assigned to the Maryknoll Sisters semi-retirement home in Monrovia, Calif. where she did volunteer work. 

In 2002, she returned to the Maryknoll Sisters Center where she was an active volunteer doing clerical work in the Outpatient Clinic and accompanying elderly Sisters to their doctor’s visits. From 2006-2008, Sister Vivian served as Co-Coordinator for the Chi-Rho Community at the Maryknoll Sisters Center.

A Vespers service will be held for Sister Vivian on Monday, March 26 at 4:15 p.m. in the Main Chapel at the Maryknoll Sisters Center. 

A funeral Mass will follow on Tuesday, March 27 at 11 a.m. also in the Main Chapel at the Center. Interment will follow in the Maryknoll Sisters Cemetery on the Center grounds.

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