Fr. John Van Wiel, CSV, fondly recalls his own high school years at Alleman High School in
Rock Island, where he was taught by Viatorians who loved what they taught.
Last year, Fr. Van Wiel celebrated his 50th jubilee as a priest and nearly all of those years have been spent in the classroom, sharing his love of chemistry with high school students.
“I loved being a teacher,” says Fr. Van Wiel. “I could walk into school in a bad mood, but in a short time the energy and liveliness of the students would have me smiling.
“Knowing that in some way, what I taught helped students make a career choice,” he adds, “was always a great reward.”
Fr. Van Wiel retired in 2013 after 25 years of teaching chemistry at Saint Viator High School. He also was a teacher and administrator at Bishop McNamara High School in Kankakee and at Griffin High School in Springfield, as well as principal of his alma mater, Alleman High School.
Yet, he cannot seem to stay away from teaching. Now living with his confreres at the Viatorian Province Center, where he enjoys celebrating daily Mass and prayers with them, he regularly returns to Saint Viator, to help tutor students in his beloved chemistry.
For Fr. Van Wiel, it’s a labor of love.