Fr. George Auger, CSV, was among the founding faculty members at Saint Viator High School when it opened in 1961, and he would go on to serve in pastoral ministry in Bourbonnais and Kankakee.

Fr. Auger, left, with Fr. Thomas von Behren, in 2015

But perhaps his lasting legacy lies with the young Viatorians he mentored as their Novice Master, who continue to spread the Viatorian charism, rooted in his call for a deep prayer and spiritual life.

Fr. Auger died peacefully on June 2. He was 87.

Br. John Eustice, CSV, was one of his novices. He now serves as Vice President of Viatorian Identity and Mission at Saint Viator High School, and Director of Vocation Ministry for the Viatorian Community. He still carries with him Fr. Auger’s direction that as a religious he be rooted in faith and prayer.

“Interiority,” Br. Eustice says. “If there was one word that described Fr. George’s outlook on life, that was it.”

Fr. Auger also mentored Fr. Moses Mesh, CSV, Fr. Jason Nesbit, CSV, and Br. Dan Tripamer, CSV, during their years as novices.

Fr. Auger, far right, during a celebration of Holy Thursday Mass in 2017

Fr. Mesh now serves as Associate Pastor of St. Viator Parish in Chicago. He describes Fr. Auger as a great inspiration, who never hesitated to support his novices — and affirm their ministries.

“He was always someone I could call my biggest fan,” Fr. Mesh says. “I could count on him for any advice. . . I can’t thank him enough for not only his teamwork and support, but for the vote of confidence. He helped me become who I am today.”

Fr. Nesbit now serves as pastor at Maternity BVM Parish in Bourbonnais, where he tries to model some of the qualities his former Novice Master taught him.

“I will always remember his gentle demeanor,” Fr. Nesbit says. “He was deeply sensitive, but also gracious and accommodating. I know on many occasions that he was quick to forgive and never allowed conflicts to linger.”

Br. Eustice came across a letter Fr. Auger wrote to him, back in 2017, that continues to resonate as he counsels young men interested in religious life.

“It is my firm belief that our religious life is rooted in divine love — and from that love, faith is born,” Fr. Auger wrote. “Without his love, religious life and mission has no foundation.”