May They Rest in Peace: Sr. Carol Ann Votruba, RSM

Sr. Carol Ann Votruba, RSM, died peacefully on Oct. 3, 2020, in the presence of her loving friends, Sister Frances Gerhard and Toni Guerreso. 

Carol Ann’s life began in Saginaw, Michigan, on Oct. 9, 1940. Her parents, Andrew and Marie (Gnatkowski), provided her and her sister, Jane, and brother, Robert, with a happy childhood and a Catholic education at St. Andrew Parish School. Carol Ann’s association with the Sisters of Mercy continued when she earned her nursing diploma from Mercy Central School of Nursing in Grand Rapids.

Sr. Votruba will be interred in a private ceremony at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield.
Sr. Carol Ann Votruba, RSM

Carol enjoyed her professional career but was also attracted to religious life. She came to know Sisters Jonella Pieper and Therese Villerot when she was a staff nurse at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and was impressed with their dedication. She discerned her call was to be a Sister of Mercy, and on Aug. 15, 1970, she joined the Mercy community in Farmington Hills. Five years later, she made her profession of perpetual vows on Aug. 30, 1975.

Carol Ann’s ministry in healthcare took her to Michigan hospitals in Pontiac, Grand Rapids, and Cadillac, as well as to Dubuque, Iowa, and Dyer, Indiana. Her administrative abilities were evident as she served as a pastoral care director, patient representative, administrative assistant, and vice president.  During these years, she earned a master’s degree in business administration from Aquinas College and a master’s degree in hospital administration from the University of Minnesota.

Ministry to the homeless took her to Washington, D.C., in 1987, where she served as clinical director and manager of housing. She said these were some of the happiest years as she and Sister Nancy Connolly cared for the neediest persons. When asked if she would do it over again, Sister Carol Ann’s response was, “Yes, I love working with everyday folks.”

She returned to Michigan in 1996 to become the director of Sister’s services at McAuley Life Center. The center needed considerable renovation during the five years she was there, especially in the infirmary.  She assisted Sister Karen Dunville in relocating Sisters, caring for them in unfamiliar settings, and returning them to a renovated, more comfortable environment.  Sister Mary Generose Kubesh, who also worked at McAuley during those years, admired Carol Ann’s ability to organize and her compassionate understanding of Sisters’ personal needs. “She was an excellent organizer and great to work with.  We worked very hard, moving the infirmary Sisters for the renovation of their quarters and then back again.  It’s no wonder she had a bad back,” said Sister Mary Generose.  

Health challenges then forced a change in ministry, but Sister Carol Ann became involved in the ministry of prayer at McAuley Life Center and continued volunteering wherever she could. Often, she would visit the infirmary and bring treats to those incapacitated for a long time. 

Sister Carol Ann was appreciated for her faithfulness in caring for others as a clinical nurse and administrator. Patient needs always came first. Carol Ann held dear her long-time friendships and yet was especially grateful when she could rest and reflect alone. 

She is survived by her sister Jane (John) Maulbelsch, sister-in-law Gail Votruba, beloved nieces, nephews, and loving friends, Sister Frances Gerhard, RSM, Toni Guerreso, and the Sisters of Mercy.

Sister Carol Ann will be interred in a private ceremony at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield, Michigan.