The Congregation of the Clerics of St. Viator
The religious Congregation of the Clerics of Saint Viator, founded by Father Louis Querbes, approved by Archbishop Gaston de Pins, Apostolic Administrator of Lyons in 1831 and by Pope Gregory XVI in 1838, finds its identity and spirit expressed today in a Constitution, complemented by the General and Particular Regulations.
According to the legislation of the Church, the Congregation of the Clerics of Saint Viator is recognized as an apostolic, clerical, and religious institute, of pontifical right. Viatorian religious life necessarily includes an active apostolate which may be exercised throughout the whole Church and which remains under the jurisdiction of the local Ordinary.
The Congregation of the Clerics of Saint Viator is identified by a
seal whose different parts come from Father Querbes. It is the
monogram ”IHS” surmounted by a cross, framed by the motto, ”Sinite
parvulos venire ad me”, centered in a crown of thorns.
All the members of the Congregation, whether or not they have received instituted or ordained ministries, are religious with the same standing within the Congregation. They all profess poverty, chastity, and obedience and work together in the same Viatorian mission.
A ring, which is given to the religious at the time of his perpetual profession, is the exterior sign of his belonging to the Congregation. Worn on the right hand, the ring has ten notches, and engraved on its bezel is the monogram IHS topped by a small cross.
Since the beginning of the Congregation, this ring has expressed the definitive commitment of the Clerics of Saint Viator and his devotion to the Mother of God.
The mission of the Congregation
To fulfill their mission, the Clerics of Saint Viator should take into account the following characteristic elements in choosing their apostolic commitments:
a) working in Christian education;
b) establishment and development of Christian communities;
c) promoting the quality of liturgical life;
d) making young people a priority;
e) being concerned for the most underprivileged.
Viatorian Community Life
According to an expression of Father Querbes, the community life of the Viatorians should be lived in mutual harmony based on charity. Such a participation demands the establishment and maintenance of authentic fraternal relationships and the absence of
any kind of privilege.
Viatorians usually live in local communities in order to lead a life of fraternal communion. Each religious is responsible for his faithful presence and active participation in community life. These are indispensable conditions for the dynamism and growth of the local community. A Local Superior is to take responsibility for encouraging the development of religious life and supporting fraternal relationships within each local community.
The Exercise of Authority
In our Congregation, the pastoral service of authority is exercised at different levels of government:
a) the General Chapter and the General Direction;
b) the Provinces
c) the Regions;
d) the local communities.
In a spirit of co-responsibility and according to his skills, each Cleric of Saint Viator collaborates with those who are entrusted with this authority. In so doing, all contribute to the unity and growth of the Congregation so that it might accomplish its mission in the world.