Saint Viator News

Delivering the latest news from Saint Viator High School.

Month: December 2018

Saint Viator Sophomore Spends Unforgettable Thanksgiving in Swaziland

IMG_0611Olivia Gauthier ’21 has volunteered every year with her family and Saint Viator classmates at Feed My Starving Children, but now she has seen her experience packing nutritious meal packs for children, come full circle.

Olivia recently returned from spending 10 days in Swaziland, located in southern Africa. This developing country faces major economic and health issues, starting with having the highest HIV rate in the world, leading to an estimated 200,000 orphans.

She traveled with her mother, Feliza, who is a dentist, as well as other extended family members, including an uncle who is a doctor, and an aunt who is a scientist. However, theirs was not a medical mission. Instead, they traveled to volunteer.

“We really only made one homestead visit,” Olivia explains, adding that homesteads were thatched roof houses that sheltered entire, extended families. “Mostly we worked in teams at the orphanage, at Project Canaan.”

In preparation for her trip, Olivia read “It’s Not OK With Me,” and its sequel, “Is It OK With You?” Both were written by Janine Maxwell, who with her husband, Ian, started Heart for Africa, a faith-based organization focused on bringing hope to the people of Swaziland in the areas of hunger, orphans, poverty and education.

IMG_1123The organization’s biggest project is Project Canaan, a 2,500-acre large-scale land development. It features multiple approaches to sustainable farming, as well as an orphanage and school for orphans and vulnerable children.

“Right now there are 214 orphans there,” Olivia says, “and of those more than 100 are babies. All of them come from terrible conditions. Their scars from abuse are terrible.”

IMG_1521Yet, working with the children was her favorite part of the trip, Olivia says. She now hopes to earn a medical degree and one day go back to Swaziland to treat these children and better their lives.

“They were all so happy and friendly,” Olivia says. “They all would come running up to you and hug you.”

During her stay, Olivia worked with a team of volunteers, doing everything from helping with the care of the children to organizing curriculum packets for their classrooms. During their one homestead visit, she helped out with wellness visits and passed out MannaPacks like the ones she had filled at Feed My Starving Children.

“All the children recognized the packs, and were really excited to get one,” Olivia said. “It really hit home for me. I felt like I had come full circle.”

IMG_0959Now back in her classes at Saint Viator, Olivia says her hands-on mission in Swaziland was in part living out the Viatorian charism, of “reaching out to those accounted of little importance.”

“As a member of Student Council, I’m trying to work out some sort of service project we can do,” Olivia says. “I’m also hoping to work with Campus Ministry to make (Heart for America) a Loaves and Fishes collection recipient.”

The entire trip made her appreciate just how much she has in this country, she says, but she also knows that she has a responsibility to help these children.

This much she knows: “I definitely want to go back.”

Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, Called to Lead Viatorian Community

Fr. Dan Hall, C.S.V. next to the Fr. Louis Querbes bust in the Alumni Memorial Chapel. Fr. Querbes founded the Clerics of St. Viator.

Fr. Dan Hall, C.S.V. next to the Fr. Louis Querbes bust in the Alumni Memorial Chapel. Fr. Querbes founded the Clerics of St. Viator.

After serving Saint Viator High School for a combined 19 years, Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV, has been called back to his community to lead the Viatorians as Provincial Superior.

His election came Friday, when Viatorians in this country and in Colombia voted Fr. Hall as their “first pastor.” While he had been serving as acting Provincial over the last four months, succeeding Fr. Robert. M. Egan, CSV, when he was elected Superior General in July, he now will devote himself fully to the Viatorian Community and advancing its spiritual mission.

In speaking to his confreres at a Mass after the election, Fr. Hall pointed to his predecessors as his role models, including Fr. Kenneth Morris, Fr. Patrick Render, Fr. Charles Bolser, Fr. Egan and Fr. Thomas von Behren.

“Forty years ago, when I entered the community, I had absolutely no idea that I would ever be asked to serve in this role,” Fr. Hall said. “I am truly humbled to follow these men.”

At the same time, Viatorians elected Br. Michael Gosch, CSV, ‘74 and Fr. Mark Francis, CSV, ‘71 to serve with Fr. Hall on his Provincial Council. Br. Gosch formerly taught English at Saint Viator High School and now co-directs the Viator House of Hospitality with Fr. Corey Brost, CSV.

Fr. Francis served the Viatorians as Superior General, from 2000 – 2012. He currently leads Catholic Theological Union in Chicago as president. It is one of the largest graduate schools of theology in the country.

Fr. Dan Lydon, CSV, ’73, and Br. Rob Robertson, CSV, were appointed to fill out the four-man Provincial Council. Both formerly taught at Saint Viator. Fr. Lydon left last year to serve as associate pastor at Maternity BVM in Bourbonnais, while Br. Robertson serves in Campus Ministry at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas.

Fr. Hall and his new Provincial Council members will be formally installed during a Mass at the Viatorian Province Center on Dec. 16.

For the last year and a half, Fr. Hall has served as Vice President of Viatorian Identity and Mission at Saint Viator. Along with serving as an assistant football and wrestling coach, and teaching social studies courses, Fr. Hall oversaw aspects of Campus Ministry, the Religion Department and outreach initiatives, to make sure they reflected the Viatorian mission.

 

In his new role as Provincial Superior and chair of the Board of Governors of Saint Viator High School, Fr. Hall will continue to remain involved with Saint Viator and its mission of providing religious formation and academic excellence for young people.

 

“At the end of the day, we hope students leave here with the idea of a life of service,” Fr. Hall said. “That’s the Viatorian understanding of living a Christian life.”

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