Biography of Catherine Gotovtseva (Sister Joanna, OP)

Born into a lower middle class family in 1883. She graduated from the Mathematics and Physics Department of the University of Moscow and completed four years of medical school. Converted to Catholicism and entered the Abrikosova community of Dominican Sisters, where she took the name Sr. Joanna. March 8, 1924 – arrested in Moscow in connection with a case against Russian Catholics. May 19, 1924 – sentenced under Article 68 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to three years’ exile in the Urals [OGPU Collegium]. Sent to Tobolsk, where she worked as a schoolteacher; transferred to the village of Demyanskoye in 1926. Released from exile May 9, 1927, but restricted from living in the six largest cities and the borderland regions for a period of three years. She lived at first in a Cossack village outside Krasnodar, then in Krasnodar itself, where she worked temporarily as a statistician, then gave private lessons in math and physics. July 22, 1929, Fr. Pietro Alagiagian, SJ accepted her final vows. In 1931 she prepared Ruvin Propishchin, who was studying for his exams in physics, for his conversion to Catholicism and stood as his godmother at his baptism. October 5, 1933 – arrested and drawn into the investigation in the second case against Anna Ivanovna Abrikosova and others. February 19, 1934 – sentenced under Articles 58-10 and 58-11 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR to five years in corrective labor camps [OGPU Collegium]. Sent to Urulga Station, Bamlag, where in 1938 she was arrested and sent to a punitive isolator. She died July 14, 1938. On November 13, 1933, she said at her interrogation: “As for questions concerning my belonging to a secret Dominican order, or questions about other persons, I do not consider myself obliged to testify since, in the first place, concerning myself, this is a matter of my spiritual life and I will not answer for it to an investigator of the GPU; as for others, they themselves may or may not provide information to investigator, as that is a matter of their spiritual life.” Sources: Assumptionist Archives, Rome, 2ER.66, p. 1; GARF, f. 8409, op. 1, d. 26, l. 161; d. 74, l. 37; d. 75, l. 94-101; d. 113, l. 274; d. 114, l. 126; d. 140, l. 97-98, 215-216; d. 1131, l. 70-71; Osipova (1996), p. 162; Osipova (1999), pp. 53, 329; Abrikosova et al. (1924 and 1934); Ott; Sokolovskyi, p. 50
Variant Names:
Gotovtseva, Catherine; Sister Joanna, OP
Moscow (Russia); Ural Mountains (Russia); Tobolʹsk (Russia); Demyanskoye (Russia); Krasnodar (Russia); Urulga (Russia)
female; clergy and religious; died in prison