Rev. John W. Stafford, CSV, a past provincial of the Clerics of St. Viator and visionary behind some of its major building campaigns and international missions, died Sept. 8, 1970 at Colegio San Viator, in Bogotá, Colombia. He was 62.

Prior to his arrival in Bogotá, Fr. Stafford had just completed a second, five-year term as provincial of the American Province of the Viatorians.

Although born in Beaver, Oklahoma, Fr. Stafford considered himself a native of Dalton City, IL.  He was educated at St. Viator Academy and College in Bourbonnais, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1930. He earned his Master of Arts at Catholic University of America in 1934 and studied abroad at Louvain University in Belgium, where he received his doctorate degree in philosophy and psychology in 1939.

Fr. Stafford entered the Clerics of St. Viator in 1925.  He pronounced his first vows in 1926 and his final vows in 1930.  He completed his seminary training at St. Viator Seminary in Washington DC and was ordained by Bishop James A. Griffin on May 26, 1934 in Springfield. After his ordination, he taught at St. Viator College and at St. Francis College in Joliet.

Fr. Stafford joined the faculty of Catholic University of America in 1940, where he taught for 19 years, including 12 years as chairman of the psychology and psychiatry departments (1947-1959). From 1944 to 1946, he also served as an Air Force chaplain.

His appointment as Viatorian Provincial came in 1959, and for the next 10 years he lived at the Provincial Residence in Evanston, IL.

His years as provincial were marked by several major developments in the Viatorian Community, including the reorganization and construction of the Viatorian Seminary in Washington DC and the construction of St. Viator High School in Arlington Heights, IL.

The foremost development of Fr. Stafford’s administration was the founding of the Viatorian missions in South America, with the establishment and construction of Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, Colombia and the opening of Gimnasio Central del Valle in Buga, Colombia.

After serving 10 years as pastoral leader of his Viatorian confreres, Fr. Stafford was named director of guidance and counseling at Colegio San Viator, beginning in the fall of 1969.

Visitation was held Sept. 11, at the Theis Funeral Home in Chicago. The funeral Mass took place Sept. 12 at St. Viator Church in Chicago, before Fr. Stafford was laid to rest in the Viatorian Community plot at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, IL.


Taken from a Viatorian Community press release, not dated