Rev. John Foster, CSV, died of a heart attack on July 2, 1962 in Monterrey, Mexico. His sudden death shocked his Viatorian Community, although it was not entirely unexpected, since he had fought health problems for years. Fr. Foster was 69 years old.
Fr. Foster was born August 26, 1892 in Chicago. He was brought up in the Episcopalian Church by his parents, but in 1910 at the age of 17, the young Foster was baptized a Catholic.
He graduated from Loyola University with a law degree in 1914, before he practiced law in Chicago until World War I, when he served in the U.S. Army.
Since his conversion, the grace of a religious vocation had also been slowly developing within him. At the age of 40, at the recommendation of his Chicago pastor, Fr. Foster entered the Novitiate of the Clerics of St. Viator at Fournier Institute in Lemont, IL. He professed his first vows on September 8, 1933.
Fr. Foster studied theology at Catholic University of America in Washington DC, where his missionary zeal was apparent. He was a constant advocate for the underprivileged, the poor and marginalized, and worked as a seminarian in the street preaching doctrine from the Catholic Evidence Guild, a program at the university directed by a Viatorian alumnus, Fr. Charles Hart.
While doing his theology studies, Foster also took part-time courses in the university’s School of Law and ultimately earned his law degree.
He was ordained to the priesthood on April 4, 1937 by Bishop James A. Griffin in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, IL.
From 1940 until 1946, he was not only engaged in giving missions himself, but he served as the superior of the Viatorian mission band.
Fr. Foster had served at several Illinois parishes through the 1950s, including in Gilman, Martinton, L’Erable and Sacred Heart Church in Goodrich. He was relieved of his duties as administrator in mid 1962, since he had been ill for some time and actually throughout his entire religious life.
For a change of climate and scenery, he was granted permission to go to Mexico to serve the unfortunate there, a work he dearly loved. He died just as his sojourn there was beginning.
Funeral services were held on July 7th at Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Bourbonnais, IL. A solemn requiem Mass was offered by Rev. Eugene J. Surprenant, CSV. Rev George A. Dempsey, CSV, Fr. Foster’s successor at Goodrich, preached the sermon.
A total of 75 priests were present at the Mass. Members of the fourth degree assembly of the Knights of Columbus served as pallbearers. Burial took place at the Viatorian plot at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, IL.