Br. Joseph Simeon Boisvert, CSV, pioneer and early builder of St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, IL, died tragically July 4, 1931 after being struck from behind by an automobile while taking an evening walk. He was 70.
Br. Boisvert was one of the Canadian pioneers who established the Viatorian settlement in the United States. He was born May 21, 1861 in Kamourska, Quebec, where he was educated in a primary school run by the Clerics of St. Viator.
In June, 1880, he entered the novitiate of the Viatorian Community and spent the first five years of his religious life as a teacher at the Institution des Sourds Muets in Montreal. In 1885, he was transferred to the Province of Chicago and under the superiorship of Fr. Moses Marsile, CSV, he worked on the grounds at St. Viator College.
Br. Boisvert planned and directed the building of the gymnasium in 1901, which ultimately perished in a fire in 1926. After another disastrous fire at the college in 1906, Br. Boisvert was called upon to supervise the construction of Marsile and Roy halls. A few years later, he designed the majestic St. Mary’s Church in Beaverville, IL.
Besides these projects, he remained involved in the Canadian foundations in Florida and the Viatorian endeavor in Chamberlain, SD. During his last few years, he had been devoting his time to composing a genealogy and history of the Canadian families who first settled in Bourbonnais. Unfortunately, due to the accident, he was unable to complete this firsthand account.
His remains rested in the chapel of St. Viator College until July 7, when they were brought to Maternity BVM Church, near the college’s campus, for the solemn Mass and final absolution. The Rev. Richard J. French, CSV, delivered the sermon. Br. Boisvert was laid to rest in the Viatorian Community cemetery along the Kankakee River.
Taken from an obituary news clipping, source and date unknown and the obituary published by the Viatorian General Direction in the 1931 Annuaire