Br. Donald Houde, CSV, was among the first group of religious to profess  vows at the Viatorian Province Center, back in 1952, and his flare for art and design shaped nearly every corner of the building.

Br. Don Houde collected and shipped more than 50 boxes of books to the Viatorian foundation of Belize in 2012.

Over the years, he helped design many of the common areas of the Province Center and he eventually evolved into the unofficial historian and curator of its religious art collection.

Br. Houde passed away quietly Sept. 29. He was 91.

“He was a very creative teacher and was widely respected for that,” says Fr. Thomas Long, CSV. “He also had a good sense of art and color. His imprint is all over (the Province Center).

Br. Don Houde arranged nativity sets around the Province Center every Christmas season.

Professionally, Br. Houde built a 40-year career in education, that included serving as principal of Saint Viator High School and ultimately as curriculum director for the Office of Schools within the Archdiocese of Chicago.

When he retired in 1998, Br. Houde served as sacristan and on the Arts and Environment Committee at St. Josephat Parish in Chicago, before moving back to the Province Center in 2012. Over the next 19 years, Br. Houde served as sacristan at daily Mass, decorated the chapel for every liturgical season and holiday and contributed to the Viatorian newsletters.

In 2019, Br. Houde unearthed all of the relics owned by the Viatorians and he helped showcase them in a reliquary chapel.

One of the last projects he worked on was designing the Viatorian Community’s annual Christmas card. For the last 10 years, Br. Houde would scour the Province Center’s religious art collection for a suitable image for the card. He also would write the inside greeting and edit the description of the community — and the image — on the back.

Ironically, this year’s image is one from his own collection: Madonna col Bambino, by Renaissance artist Simone Martini.

Visitation for Br. Houde will take place at 10 a.m. Oct. 5 before an 11 a.m. Mass of Christian burial, both at the Viatorian Province Center, 1212 E. Euclid Ave. in Arlington Heights. Interment will be at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside. Those planning to attend must be vaccinated and wear a mask to protect the senior Viatorian residents.