Sister Vivian Votruba


Maryknoll NY

United States

“There is much of God’s goodness right here in people’s love of family, kindness to strangers and respect for religion.  Maybe we are here to make His love known and to praise and thank Him together.”

vvotruba_lgSister Vivian Votruba, a Minneapolis native, entered Maryknoll in 1940.  A poet and a gentle yet dauntless woman, Sister Vivian earned her M.D. at the Marquette School of Medicine in Milwaukee.

For the next 40 years, Sister Vivian used her medical training in both Bolivia and Peru, where she helped establish public health programs along the Beni River in Riberalta, Bolivia, among the indigenous Quechua people in the mountains of Peru and among the urban poor in the large slums ringing Lima.

In 1969, Sister Vivian was sent on a special mission to Biafra, Nigeria, to aid the refugees.  Bombing continuously shattered the life and rhythm of Biafra, but Sister Vivian devoted herself tirelessly to the work at hand, operating on bullet wounds and distended stomachs, delivering babies, and ministering to the children.  Within the year she was arrested, tried, and deported, but the fruits of her witness and her gentle service remained.

Sister Vivian served in a hospital on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Shiprock, NM as well as gave public health service in St. Catherine’s Mission in Manuelito, NM in the late 1980s.  She also did pastoral work in Rosedale, MS in the early 1990s.  From 1995-1996, Sister Vivian was a parish minister in Pogradec, Albania which was a mission Maryknoll Sisters began in response to a request from the US Catholic Bishops.

Sister Vivian was assigned to Monrovia, California from 1996 to 2002 where she volunteered in the Finance Department in Monrovia City Hall and Foothill Unity Center.

Six years later Sister Vivian returned to the Maryknoll Center, where she did clerical work, acted as a Sister Companion in Out-Patient Care, and ultimately served as the Assistant Sacristan.  For two years she was also the Co-Coordinator of the Chi Rho Community.

Today Sister Vivian is a beloved member of the Maryknoll Center and her prayer ministry is Albania.

Maryknoll NY

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