In her autobiography, Sister Vivian Miller wrote, “I have never had permanent roots, and I am a living example that when God wants to use someone, her human qualities, or lack of them, are not the issue, but rather, her willingness to do God’s will.”
When Sister Vivian Miller was only 1½ years old, her father John Miller died, and her mother, Mary Catherine Kennedy Miller, was left with eight children to support. She moved her family from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to western Kansas, to be near her parents and other sisters. She became a beautician, setting up her beauty parlor in the front room of her rented home in Ellis, Kansas. The children often spent the summers on their Aunt Marge and Uncle Bill’s farm to free the home for Mary Catherine’s business.
Sister Vivian Miller’s mother saved enough money to send her daughter to St. John’s Academy in Wichita. At 16, she entered the religious community of Adorers, receiving the name Vivian. In her early years as a sister, she was known as the “musical cook,” teaching music in the school, playing organ in the parish church for liturgy, and cooking for the sisters. After four years in elementary schools, she was assigned to Sacred Heart Academy to direct the band.
In 1953, she joined the Adorer community in Brazil, teaching English and music in the high school in Manaus for five years. She also was aspirant and novice director, and vice-provincial and provincial of the newly established province in Manaus, Brazil. Following her ministry in the office of provincial, Vivian spent two years in Tanzania, Africa, to work with the young Adorers there in their mission; this meant another culture and another language for her.
She returned to Wichita after two years and taught once again in schools in Kansas. Vivian was then elected to the General Council in 1979, and, following that term, she remained to serve as superior for the international community at the Generalate for four years.
Teacher Education at Newman
Her last ministry was working for 10 years with the students in the teacher education program at Kansas Newman College, now Newman University, assisting them in their application process for teaching certification. She then retired to the Wichita Center.
In all of her years as an Adorer, her life without rootedness continued, as she moved from one country to another, interacting with new cultures and new languages. But wherever she ministered, Vivian, with her bright smile and laughter, shared untiringly the love of God with everyone she met. Without roots in this world, she moved to her eternal home in February 2014.