The Province of Canada had at the beginning of 2019, 178 religious and 92 associates, divided between Canada itself and Burkina Faso, Haiti, Japan and Peru.
Its Beginning, Its Expansion
The provinces of Abitibi, Joliette, Montréal and Bas-Saint-Laurent were restructured into a single province, Canada, which was inaugurated on Dec. 27, 1994. The Viatorians are organized into local communities to live the Viatorian charism and to be a sign and witness of evangelical fraternity and union with Christ.
The Operating Mode
The province of Canada is animated by a provincial council composed of five members: Fr. Nestor Fils-Aimé, Provincial Superior, Fr. Gérard Bernatchez, Provincial Assistant, Br. Jean-Marc Saint-Jacques, Treasurer, Br. Yvon Rolland and Fr. Wilford Douze, both Councilors. Twenty confreres, elected by all the religious, form the Provincial Chapter with the Provincial Council.
The province has created a Council of the Viatorian Community in Canada, a body that complements the Assembly of the Viatorian Community.
The mission takes place in different ways
The Viatorians of the province ensure a presence in the world of education: in Canada, in Rigaud at Collège Bourget and in Rawdon at Champagneur College.
In Burkina Faso, the Congregation owns the Groupe scolaire Saint-Viateur (GSSV) in Ouagadougou and the Établissement Louis-Querbes (ÉLOQ) in Banfora.
In Haiti, the Clerics of Saint Viator are involved in several educational institutions: in Gonaïves, they are responsible for the Immaculate Conception College, the Saint-Viateur mixed institution, the kindergarten, as well as the Cyr-Guillo Congregational School. In Saint-Marc, they run the James M. Stine College while in Grand-Goave, they are in charge of the Saint-François d’Assise school. Finally, they have just opened a new school in La Croix-des-Bouquets, a suburb of Port-au-Prince, called the Groupe scolaire Saint-Viateur.
In Japan, the Congregation has founded, built and still runs Rakusei Secondary School, considered one of the best in the country.
In Peru, we are present in the Fe y Alegria no. 69 schools in Cutervo and Fe y Alegria no. 11 in Collique.
The Viatorian Catechetical Service, established in 2000, was given the mission to help understand faith in Jesus Christ and to transmit it through catechesis. Its website, www.catechese-ressources.com, focuses on Christian initiation and offers a reflection on the challenges of transmitting the faith. It also offers practical tools for catechesis.
The House of Faith, founded in 1988, helps people affected by deafness, especially children, adolescents and young adults, to progress humanly and spiritually.
In Canada, a good number of religious and associates collaborate in parish ministry in the dioceses of Montreal, Joliette, Saint-Jean-Longueuil and Valleyfield. And that’s not counting the other parishes of our foundations: Saint-Viateur in Banfora in Burkina Faso, Saint-François-d’Assise in Grand Goave and Christ the King, located in the Croix-des-Bouquets area in Haiti, and finally Saint Viator in Kyoto, Japan.
The Sanctuary of Notre-Dame de Lourdes in Rigaud.
For more than 135 years, people have come from all over Canada and even Europe to pay tribute to Mary, the Mother of God, in the heart of a magnificent “cathedral of greenery” located in Rigaud. Religious and associates unite to accomplish a magnificent work of educating the popular faith.
The Service of Preparation for Life (SPV), is a community of Christian life where young people live in their environment according to the example of the first Christian community (Acts 2:42-47). The SPV was born on Jan. 19, 1964. The young people who are involved learn to live in team life, with all that it implies, that is, discovering oneself and others, listening, respecting others and their ideas. With the responsible adult, they prepare and carry out various engagement projects. As a team, they learn to develop their personality while being involved in their environment and discovering the presence of God in their personal lives.
In 2013, the SPV is present in the province of Quebec, Haiti, Africa (Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo) and Madagascar.
Camp of the Future, Canada
Every summer, camps are organized at Lac Ouimet in the Laurentians to welcome many young people from Quebec and French Canada. These happy life stays allow the learning of evangelical values such as truth, justice, service, commitment, solidarity and communion.
The Future Camps were created by the SPV. These camps are designed to meet the needs of young people aged 10 to 16 who want to live an experience of Christian faith.
Friendship Camp, Burkina Faso, for inter-religious and intercultural dialogue
“The friendship camps were initiated to provide a Viatorian response to the evangelical efforts taking place all over the world in search of hope. It is therefore an inter-religious and intercultural encounter, in which young schoolchildren and students, Muslims, Catholic Christians, Protestants and those of traditional ancestral beliefs, aged 12 to 25, participate. Initiated in July 2005, the friendship camps provide a framework for the training and education of young believers. Its main objective is to promote inter-religious and intercultural dialogue for social peace,” says François Savadogo, CSV
ALFAGO in Haiti (“Alfa” for literacy and “Go” for Gonaïves) was born at the end of an education symposium held on the 30th anniversary of Immaculate Conception College on Dec. 8, 1996.
This is an ambitious but essential project: the holding of literacy sessions for the adult population of the Gonaïve community, provided by high school students. The following summer, “Alfago 97”, took place in 10 centers in the city, allowing 260 people to discover the joy of learning to read and write. This humanitarian initiative has taken root.
Subsequently, there were Alfa 98, Alfa 99, Alfa 2000 and Alfa 2001, annual sessions in which Viatorians were involved, assisted by teams of young people and adults who wanted to free “illiterate” people from their isolation.
The NAC is a movement for Haitian youth founded by the Viatorians. It animates young people and mobilizes them under the banner of Christ. Its motto, “light-force, force-light”, indicates the comings and goings characteristic of Christian witness.
The mission of the NAC is the evangelization of young people by young people. Alternating with exchanges, the movement offers cultural, artistic and sporting activities. The movement reaches and energizes a few thousand young people in about 30 localities across the country of Haiti.
Wherever they are, the Viatorians, religious and associates, embody, with zeal and fervour, the values and spirituality that flow from their charism, with a particular concern for the most deprived.