Associate Ann Perez holds the title of Assistant to the President for Mission at Saint Viator High School, but all of the associates and professed Viatorians on staff help advance Viatorian mission and identity in the school.
In all, there are 10 Viatorians in the building, starting with Fr. Daniel Lydon, CSV, President of the school. Along with Perez, Associates Brigette Brankin and Brian Hansen, as well as Br Peter Lamick, CSV, all teach theology, while Br. Jhobany Orduz works in Campus Ministry. Br. Rob Robertson, CSV, is a guidance counselor, while Associate Kurt Paprocki teaches Spanish. Associate Cathy Abrahamian serves as Administrative Assistant to the President and Associate Jason Kuffel is the Athletic Director.
A good example of their impact took place last week, when seniors in the Christian Ethics and Catholic Morality units heard from, Jeanne Bishop, a Cook County public defender, author and leading figure in advocating against the death penalty.
Her presentation came after students in Ethics had just wrapped up a unit on capital punishment, including looking at it through the lens of Catholic social teaching.
It was Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, ’74, who suggested bringing Bishop into the school, to give her firsthand testimony. Br. Gosch formerly taught English at the school and now is a member of its Board of Governors. As Coordinator of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation for the Viatorians, he supports the Catholic Mobilizing Network and its efforts to end the death penalty.
Bishop’s story was raw. Back in 1990, three members of Bishop’s family were murdered, including her sister, brother-in-law, and her sister’s unborn baby. The family members were shot at point blank and the horrific nature of their murders made national news.
Bishop told the group of how she struggled for years to come to terms with the crime and her anger against the killer. However, in 2015, she wrote a book about her own transformation, called, “Change of Heart: Justice, Mercy, and Making Peace with My Sister’s Killer.”
Since then, Bishop has become an active member of the Catholic Mobilizing Network, publicly advocating for forgiveness and reconciliation, violence prevention and reform of the criminal justice system to make it more merciful.
“Based on the nature and significant number of questions students asked Jeanne, students were very moved by her personal story and witness to Gospel values in face of one of the most challenging situations,” said Br. Lamick, who teaches Ethics.
“Through her own personal story and current advocacy work, Jeanne synthesized all of the subtopics and central facets of the Church’s teaching about capital punishment,” Br. Lamick added. “Her testimony and articulation of Christian values in the face of violence presented an arresting talk that helped our students understand that the Church’s teaching can, and indeed, needs to be lived out in our society.”