Just one year after graduating from Saint Viator High School, Fr. Robert M. Egan, CSV, left to enter the novitiate at the Viatorian seminary in Washington DC — and he never looked back.
It was Aug. 30, 1970 and the city was on edge with the Vietnam war and rioting in the streets. Yet, studying with some of the Viatorian teachers — who would prove to be his lifelong mentors — was an enriching start to a vocation that now, 50 years later, continues to nourish him.
“Since the first days of the novitiate in Washington DC until today, I have always been sustained by God’s grace and an abiding belief in the power of God’s love in my life,” Fr. Egan says. “I have been blessed with the opportunity to minister in high schools and parishes, in Province administration and leadership, and now to discover the goodness of the international congregation.”
Fr. Egan opened the day by celebrating Mass in the peaceful setting of the Province Center Chapel, before enjoying a dinner out with some of his confreres that night. In any other year, Fr. Egan and his fellow jubilarians would celebrate among many of the Viatorian professed and associates at the annual Provincial Assembly, but not this year.
Instead, the quiet day gave Fr. Egan the chance to reflect on his long ministry — and the choice he made 50 years ago to devote his life to religious life.
He would go on to be the first graduate of Saint Viator High School to be ordained a priest, and ultimately lead Viatorian schools, parishes, the Province of Chicago and now the entire worldwide Viatorian Community, serving as Superior General.
“I have been blessed over the years with great mentors and teachers like Ken Morris, Arnie Perham, Tom McMahon and so many others,” Fr. Egan adds. “It has been a privilege to collaborate with many Viatorians over the years. But most of all I am grateful for the vocation that has been the source of my life for these past 50 years.”