Rev. Dr. Victoria (Vikki) Marie
Vikki was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York where she attended Roman Catholic parochial and high schools. She came to Canada in 1965 and settled in Montreal. She spent her young adult years alternating between dabbling at university attendance and working in the data processing and service industries. After two failed marriages she began university in earnest at the age of 42 in 1987.
Vikki received a BA (1991, Sociology and Anthropology) and MA (1995, Anthropology) from Simon Fraser University. After earning a Master of Pastoral Studies (1997, Spiritual Direction) from Vancouver School of Theology (VST) she worked as a spiritual director and as the coordinator of adult religious education and pastoral assistant for Catholic parishes in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver from 1996 until 2002. At VST, she says, she had the first stirrings of wanting to be able to be a priest or at least a deacon. This feeling increased as she did the work of a deacon with no apparent way to become one because of her gender.
Vikki joined a religious order of Franciscan women in 1997. With Sarah Bjorknas, she co-founded the Vancouver Catholic Worker in June of 1998. She professed her final vows as a Franciscan religious in 2000. The sisters encouraged her to pursue her PhD, which she received from the University of British Columbia in 2005. Interest in social justice has taken her to Kenya and Mexico; to Colombia with Witness for Peace; and to Grassy Narrows First Nations Territory in north-western Ontario with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).
She worked as a subcontractor doing archival research work with the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) in the Residential Schools Reconciliation Directorate from July 1996 until October 2010. The number of days of work allotted to her kept decreasing until finally her services were no longer needed. She says, “It was as if the Source of All Being had given me enough time to complete my training and was now telling me to ‘get serious’ about ministry.”
Her life experiences have made her adept at detecting the silent suffering of others. She realized that many of her brothers and sisters here in Vancouver felt abandoned by the Church and were hungering for a spiritual home. She had been denying the call to the priesthood because of fear of not being good enough and fear of being cast aside by the Church. But after some soul searching, discernment and lots of discussion with friends, she was ready to answer the call.
She was ordained as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest in July 2012 and felt she needed to upgrade her previous degree from the Vancouver School of Theology to a Master of Divinity, which she completed in May 2014. She is the priest/pastor of the Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community Society and in addition to spiritual direction and her pastoral ministry, Victoria leads prayer circles and offers group and individual meditation and healing experiences with the use of crystals and sound.