Sister Vivian in July 2016, aged 102
|Birth:||28 August 1913|
Chicago, Illinois, USA
|Age:||107 years, 234 days|
A member of the Chicago Benedectines, Ivantic is one of the oldest ecclesiastical people in the world. She has campaigned for the ordination of female priests in the Catholic Church, and has also took part in anti-racism protests.
Early Life and Family
Sr. Vivian was born to immigrant parents from Slovenia on 28 August 1913, and grew up in north Chicago, Illinois. She had eight siblings, but in World War II, two of her four brothers were killed within a week of each other. As of 2020, her brother Bill is her only living sibling. Their grandmother died from Spanish Flu during the 1918-19 pandemic.
Sr. Vivian joined the Chicago Benedictines in 1933, and worked as a teacher and librarian at the St. Scholastica Academy, a former all-girls Catholic high school run by the sisters. In 1977, she became the community's archivist, and meticulously reviewed old documents and memorabilia that record changes in the church's history. She held this position until her retirement at the age of 102.
Later Life and COVID-19 Survival
In August 2013, a Mass was held celebrating Sr. Vivian's 100th birthday and the 80th anniversary of her joining the Benedictines. Sr. Vivian, who always wanted to become a priest, spoke out in favour of female ordination, which is prohibited by the Catholic Church. In April 2019, at the age of 105, she took part in a Stand Against Racism event in Evanston, Illinois, which was a protest against racial injustice and police brutality.
Sr. Vivian currently lives in the St. Scholastica Monastery in Chicago, Illinois, where she enjoys feeding the squirrels outside. In April 2020, she contracted COVID-19 during the coronavirus pandemic; her symptoms were so mild, however, that she thought she just had a cold. She successfully recovered, making her one of the world's oldest survivors of the disease. She went on to celebrate her 107th birthday in August 2020.
- Sister Vivian Ivantic, 100 Year Old Nun, Still Fighting For Women Priests, Supports Female Ordination Huffington Post, 28 August 2013
- On her 100th birthday, Chicago nun still wants to become a Catholic priest New York Daily News, 28 August 2013 (via The Wayback Machine)
- Sister Vivian Ivantic, 100 Years Old And Has Wanted To Be A Priest Chicago Tribune, 28 August 2013 (via Bridget Mary's Blog)
- Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB SOAR!, 22 December 2016
- Q & A with Sr. Vivian Ivantic, witness to changes in the church in her 83 years as a sister Global Sisters Report, 23 March 2017
- Featured Podcast: Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB Benedictine Sisters of Chicago, 18 December 2018
- In second pandemic, Benedictine turns 107, 'too old to be set back very much' Global Sisters Report, 27 August 2020