Over his 50 years as a Viatorian, Br. Michael Rice, CSV, has served at institutions in Illinois, Nevada and Colombia, but it turns out the relationships he established along the way made a lasting difference.

Fr, Alan Syslo, left, and Br. Michael Rice retired in 2021 to the Province Center.

At a celebratory dinner this week with a few of his Viatorian confreres, Br. Rice learned of stories about his influence that he never knew. For instance, Fr. Corey Brost, CSV, shared that Br. Rice was the first Viatorian he met at Griffin High School in Springfield, where as Dean of Studies Br. Rice welcomed him as part of the admissions process.

“I was new to Springfield and didn’t know anyone,” Fr. Brost says. “He was so welcoming to me and always looking out for me. He’s one of the reasons I became a Viatorian.”

Fr. Daniel Lydon, CSV, shared a similar story of Br. Rice’s impact on his career — and ultimately religious vocation.

“He was the first one to hire me at Saint Viator High School,” Fr. Lydon says. “It was in 1994, when he was Principal. I answered an ad for a Spanish teacher, and within days I was in the classroom. If it wasn’t for Michael, I don’t know what would have happened.”

Hearing these stories, of how he had played a small role in the lives of these men who would go on to become Viatorians made the night for Br. Rice.

Fr. Richard Rinn, pastor, thanked Br. Rice for the 20 years of service to the St. Viator Parish. community.

“Gathering with a small group of men, that I have known for such a long time was very meaningful for me,” Br. Rice says. “It was an emotional night.”

Over his 50 years in vows, Br. Rice ministered at Griffin High School in Springfield, Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, as Superior of the Foundation of Colombia, St. Francis High School in West suburban Wheaton, Saint Viator High School, and St. Viator Catholic Community in Las Vegas before moving to the retirement residence at the Province Center.

Even now in retirement he continues to lend his expertise as a former plant manager at St. Viator Catholic Community, during the renovation projects at the Province Center. But most of all, he enjoys the chance to appreciate the peaceful grounds of the Province Center and live in community, with his retired Viatorian confreres.