Rev. Thomas Roy, CSV, the first president of St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, died July 16, 1879 at the Clerics of St. Viator Novitiate in Joliette, in the Province of Quebec, Canada. He was 38.
Fr. Roy was born May 24, 1841 in Saint-Thomas, near Joliette. In 1855, he entered the College Joliette and at the end of his course of study, he remained in the same school as a teacher.
He was ordained a priest on Jul. 22, 1866, and the following year on Aug. 1, 1867, faithful to the impulse of grace, Fr. Roy entered the Clerics of St. Viator novitiate. He made his first vows as a Viatorian on Aug. 13, 1868 and went almost immediately to the distant mission of Bourbonnais Grove in Illinois, where he helped to found St. Viator College.
Fr. Roy had a special gift to attract his colleagues and students, and to lead in the way of godliness. His confreres said he possessed the qualities of many of the builders of great institutions at the time: He was a pioneer, who was hardy, genial, tireless, constant and shrewd.
His years at St. Viator College 1868 – 1879 were considered an era of great success and progress. Fr. Roy and his associates worked tirelessly in establishing an excellent reputation for the college, as one of the leading educational institutions of the West.
With his health waning, he returned to his native Joliette, Canada, for some much needed rest, though he was never to return to his beloved college and students. His death was regretted by all who knew him.
A large number of former students formed an alumni association in June 1888. Subscriptions were paid by members and a sufficient amount was raised to enable the faculty to erect a new building — the Roy Memorial Chapel — in memory of Fr. Roy.
Taken from article “Historical Sketch of St. Viateur’s College: Fr. Roy – College Opened” published in the St. Viator College Journal, Jan. 1892, pp. 3-5