In the town of Vourles, France, considered to be the cradle of the Viatorian Community, the latest Viatorian made his first vows. Br. Philippe Arnal is believed to be the first vocation from France in nearly 25 years.

“It’s a remarkable achievement,” says Fr. Thomas von Behren, CSV, provincial, “especially considering it took place on the feast of St. Viator, in Vourles, in the cradle of our community.”photo (4)

Fr. Alain Ambeault, CSV, superior general, presided over the ceremony, set in the Church of St. Bonnet in Vourles. It is the same church where Fr. Querbes served as lector during his early years of religious life, and where in 1831 he founded the Clerics of St. Viator.

Br. Arnal discerned his calling to religious life after teaching for 10 years, but his vocation began earlier than that, says Fr. Ambeault.

“Growing up, he was active in the youth group in his parish, and between that and a diverse university formation, where matters of faith were held in high regard, he began to hear the call of religious life,” Fr. Ambeault says.

As a teacher, Br. Arnal was drawn to the Viatorians’ ministry as educators of the faith. He continued teaching during his two years in the postulate, and after finding out more about community life as a Viatorian, he entered the novitiate in 2011.

In making his first profession, Br. Philippe joins a congregation that truly is international in scope. Led by Fr. Ambeault, a native of Canada, the congregation includes associates, brothers and priests around the world. They serve in the provinces of Canada, Chile, Spain, the United States and the delegation of France, as well as the foundations of Belize, Bolivia, Peru, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Haiti, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Japan and Taiwan.

No matter where Viatorians serve, they share a common vision to be educators of faith, driven to address social issues and to raise up communities of believers.