Fr. Charlie Bolser, CSV recently donated a book to the Viatorian Archives that I think everyone should know about – St. Viator and the Viatorians. This 254 page book was written by Fr. Eugene L. Rivard, CSV in 1916. It was published in Chicago by the Fred J. Ringley Co. and the Imprimatur of the book was the Archbishop of Chicago at the time, George William Mundelein.

Part I of the book, the historical sketch of St. Viator, closely follows two French books, Vie de St. Viateur, written in 1855 by the Rt. Rev. Ignace Bourget, Bishop of Montreal and the Vie de St. Just published in Lyons in 1886 by Rev. P. Gouillourd, SJ. “For several years it has been felt that a life of St. Viator in English would be desirable for the American Viatorians, their students, parishioners and the public in general.” This is the first English book on St. Viator.

The chapters of Part I include: an Introduction by the author; Chapter I – Ancient Lyons; Chapter II – St. Viator, His Childhood, His Name; Chapter III – St. Viator, the Lector; Chapter IV – St. Viator’s Call to the Religious Life. He accompanies St. Just to an Egyptian Monastery; Chapter V – St. Viator in an Austere Monsatery of Scete. The Church Praises Him as Model of Religious Perfection; Chapter VI – Holy Death of St. Viator. Translation of His Remains to Lyons; Chapter VII – Relics of St. Viator. Fruits of Devotion to His Relics; Chapter VIII Office and Mass of St. Viator. Special Prayers. Meditations and Novena.

Part II of the book focuses on the Viatorians. “Because this book is intended chiefly for American readers, the activities of the Viatorians in the United States have been dwelt upon at great length than the earlier and wider developments of the community in France, Belgium and Canada.”

The chapters of Part II include: Chapter I – Father Querbes, Pastor of Vourles and Founder of the Clerics of St. Viator; Chapter II – Viatorians in America. The Province of Montreal; Chapter III – Viatorians in the United States. Schools, Colleges, Parishes, Viatorian Missionaries; Chapter IV – The American Province; Chapter V – Father Fournier, the First American Provincial.

Thanks to Fr. Charlie for bringing Rivard’s significant historical work to light after nearly 95 years!

Note: E. L. Rivard, CSV was the Provincial of the Province of Chicago from 1912-1923. He also wrote the book Views of Dante in 1904, which he “dedicated to the youth of our high schools, academies and colleges.” He was a Doctor of Divinity and Philosophy at St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, IL at the time. The book includes an introduction by the Rt. Rev. John Lancaster Spalding, D.D., Bishop of Peoria, IL.