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Remembering Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB

Updated: Feb 28, 2023

Our dear Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB, 109, passed away peacefully Saturday, February 11th, 2023 in the early hours of the morning. We thank God for her life; the impact she had on our community and generations of our alumnae. She passed into the loving arms of God and the Sisters who have gone before her are there to welcome her. Funeral arrangements are pending and will be shared once finalized. Please join us in thanking God for her remarkable life! The Mass of Resurrection for Sister Vivian was held Saturday, February 25th at 10:30 a.m. following the Wake prior to the funeral Mass from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at St. Scholastica Chapel. If you would like to join us in person or virtually, please click here to register.

Please join us in thanking God for her remarkable life!

Read the Funeral Reflection by Sister Judith Murphy, OSB, Prioress here:

2 25 2023 Funeral Homily for Sister Vivian Ivantic
Download PDF • 99KB

Read the Eulogy by niece Carol Finnegan here:

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB Eulogy by niece Carol Finnegan
Download PDF • 160KB

All photos courtesy of the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago and courtesy of Benedictine Sisters of Chicago Archives.

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB age 13 in 1926.

(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Sisters of Chicago Archives.)

Rosalie M. Ivantic was born August 28, 1913, the third of nine children of Agnes Jakopin and Math Ivantic. She was baptized on the following September 14. The family belonged to the Mother of God Parish in Waukegan, Illinois, and the children, five girls and four boys attended the parochial school there.

Mother of God School Waukegan IL Graduation 1927.

(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Sisters of Chicago Archives.)

Even before being in first grade, Rosalie strongly desired to dedicate herself to God, but learned early that ordination was denied to women.

Deeming religious life to be the best option available to her, after completing the elementary grades she became an aspirant in Chicago at Saint Scholastica Monastery for her first three years of high school. Rosalie interrupted aspirancy, returned home to help her mother with a new baby, and bonded with her youngest sibling Theresa. She then completed her senior year at Holy Child High School in Waukegan.

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB 1931 Holy Child High School graduation.

(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Sisters of Chicago Archives.)

On September 7, 1932, Rosalie entered the Benedictine Sisters of Chicago at Saint Scholastica Monastery, becoming a postulant. She was received as a novice on July 11, 1933, and given the name Sister Vivian.

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB on the day she entered the convent.

(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Sisters of Chicago Archives.)

At the completion of the novitiate year, on August 16, 1934, she professed her first vows and almost immediately began her long career as an educator.

In those times, as Catholic parochial schools were growing and teachers were in demand, it was common for young religious, to be sent out as teachers under careful supervision while still working for degrees and certification. That was Sister Vivian’s experience too. Through years of after-school, Saturday, and summer courses, she finally received her Bachelor of Arts degree from De Paul University in Chicago which was followed by completion of a Master of Library Science degree from Rosary College, River Forest, Illinois.

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB early years, undated.

(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Sisters of Chicago Archives.)

In her early years, Sister Vivian taught in parish schools of Chicago: St. Hilary, St. George, and St. Joseph. Then she spent one year at St. Mary’s in Pueblo, Colorado followed by two years at her home parish in Waukegan. Her next assignment was to teach in Arizona, where she was a faculty member for four years at the Sacred Heart School in Tucson. This was followed by a single year teaching at St. Symphorosa in Chicago, and two years at St. Scholastica High School in Chicago. In 1952 she was assigned to her home parish in Waukegan to be the House Superior while serving as the teaching principal at Mother of God School for a year.

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB with her parents in 1937.

(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Sisters of Chicago Archives.)

In 1953, Sister Vivian was assigned to St. Scholastica Academy in Cañon City, Colorado, where she was also the librarian and served as a dormitory prefect for boarders. In 1958 she returned to Saint Scholastica High School in Chicago, to be both teacher and librarian. This position she held for 17 years leaving the faculty in 1975.

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB library St. Scholastica undated.

(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Sisters of Chicago Archives.)

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB library St. Scholastica undated.

(Photo courtesy of Benedictine Sisters of Chicago Archives.)

At age 62 now, Sister Vivian became what she termed a “jack-of-all-trades” at the monastery. She served as sacristan, procured reading materials for the visually handicapped, and found time to do gardening, harvesting rhubarb and asparagus. Then there followed a two-year period when she helped again at her home parish in Waukegan, assisting in the school.

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB at the St. Scholastica Monastery grounds garden.

In 1978 Sister Vivian took up residence at the monastery in Rogers Park. Apparently, she never considered herself “retired”. Always a lover of learning, she took on the daunting challenge of formalizing the data and artifacts of the by then over 117-year-old community. In reality, she established the Archives!

On the second floor of what was the original laundry building, in a big room where Sisters for a time had baked altar breads for local parishes, Sister Vivian served as the Archivist until she could no longer climb the flights of stairs at the age of 102.

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB in the Archives filing-August 2015.

After January of 2015, it seemed best for Sister Vivian to reside in St. Joseph Court, the community’s infirmary wing. Here though wheelchair-bound and with failing vision, she continued to participate in common prayer, reciting with the group much that she had committed to memory.

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB Stand Against Racism April 2019 Benedictines for Peace.

While her fine mind sustained her in her career as an educator, it was her total gift of herself as a vowed religious that brought her holiness. She was widely known for her gratitude to her Creator for life and the abundant love she experienced in family and community. Sister Vivian said “thank you” countless times each day sensing God’s love being shown to her through every person with whom she was in contact.

Sister Vivian Ivantic, OSB with family for her 105th birthday.

On the Feast of St. Scholastica, February 10th, Sister Vivian was seated at the head of a table of ten Sisters and Oblates. Enjoying her wine and the festive meal, she showed gracious appreciation to those nearest to her, trying to catch and repeat names.

Feast of St. Scholastica February 10th, 2023 Community Photo for the Refuse to Use 2023 Catholic Sisters Week Campaign.

While being assisted with her bedtime routine she mentioned some discomfort. Since she had been a hospice patient for several years, the aides followed all of the protocols and one of them was sitting at her bedside when she died in the early morning of February 11 at the age of 109.

At Sister Vivian’s request, her body was cremated and her cremains will be buried as she wished at Calvary Cemetery. She is survived by her only living sibling, Bill Ivantic, many very close family members of multiple generations, and her beloved Benedictine Sisters. Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated February 25.

To be cherished is Sister Vivian’s legacy of unsurpassed gratitude.

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1 Comment

I remember Sister Vivian when I was at St. Scholastica High School. She was such a kind caring woman of God and was blessed with such an awesome life.

RIP, Sister Vivian

Francine Bartilotta Ciulla

Class of 1964.

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