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Archives News

What’s going on in the Viatorian Community Archives for the United States Province

U.S. Provincials – From the founding in 1882 to today

September 16, 2019

Summer 2018 – Archives Meetings

July 20, 2018

Archon Day – June 29, 2018

Held at Denison University in Granville, OH, the Archon Users Collaborative met to discuss the future of using Archon, an open-source archival content management system developed at the University of IL.  The Viatorian Community Archives has been utilizing this system about 10 years now. Just last year, we contracted LibraryHost to support and host our site.

The 2019 meeting will be a video conference which will allow more Archon users to participate – date to be announced.


Envisioning the Future of Catholic Religious Archives July 11 – July 13, 2018

This 3-day working conference was held at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA to discuss this complex topic due to diminishing membership of religious orders, merging sites or coming to completion.  Nearly 170 attendees included archivists, historians and leadership of both men and women religious communities, mainly from the U.S. and a few from Canada, Ireland and Scotland.

Preservation and access of these rich, historical records and artifacts was at the forefront of discussion along with sensitivity to privacy and confidentiality.  Links to videos of the presentations with be forthcoming along with a white paper. The energy and passion of the attendees at this conference will move the discussion forward into positive action in the near future.

Watch for an upcoming article titled “Grace at Work: There’s an untold American history in Catholic religious communities’ archives” in the August 2018 issue of U.S. Catholic magazine it’s about the conference!

Read another summary of the conference here on the Chicago Area Religious Archivists blog.

New book delves into the Viatorians and Dowling College

July 19, 2018

The Viatorian Community Archives recently received a copy of Steven M. Avella’s new book The Church in Southwest Iowa: A History of the Diocese of Des Moines from the Most Reverend Richard E. Pates, Bishop of Des Moines.  Author Fr. Steven Avella is a professor of history at Marquette University.

The book includes a section on the life of Bishop Gerald Thomas Bergan, who served the Diocese Des Moines from 1934 – 1948.  Bergan studied at St. Viator College in Bourbonnais beginning in 1909 and served as priest in the Peoria Diocese before being appointed as Bishop of Des Moines.

The history of Bergan, the Viatorians and Dowling College is described in a section titled ‘Saving the High School – The Viatorian Gambit.’  This will be an interesting resource to be used – along with our in-house archival records from that era – in telling the story of the Viatorians in this diocese after St. Viator College closed in 1938.

Glass plate negatives reveal the past around the turn of the 20th century

May 03, 2018

The following images were scanned from glass plate negatives that were found in Burke Administration Building on the campus of Olivet University in Bourbonnais, the former St. Viator College.  They were passed on to the Viatorian Community Archives earlier this year.

They can be dated from the late 1890s to the early 1900s.  Most of the people are not identified yet – let me know if you can identify anyone from your family tree or town.  Contact me at


Two priests and group of young men posing behind the old St. Viator campus, chapel (far left). Fr. James F. Ryan, CSV, standing 2nd from right.


Priest (right) shaking his finger at three young men smoking pipes near the chapel


Young cadet standing behind the old St. Viator College buildings (domed chapel, far left)


Group of  men and priest (back row center) standing behind St. Viator College buildings. Maternity BVM Church steeple (far right)


Three young men posing around a priest (center back) behind the college campus; chapel on far left


Three Congregation of Notre Dame nuns sitting in a room


Woman standing next to a Congregation of Notre Dame nun sitting

Young girl standing next to table holding candle, First Communion Day


Young boy standing next to table holding a candle, possibly First Communion Day


Young boy standing next to a chair holding a candle, possibly First Communion Day


Woman seated in a chair


Sisters of Mercy nun sitting (blurry)


Young boy standing next to a table


Very young boy standing next to a very young girl sitting


Young man sitting next to table


Young priest sitting, possibly a Redemptorist


Group of 7 young women posing


Group of 9 young women standing outside; man in background



5 young men pose while ice skating, another looks on in the background



The Epiphany

January 02, 2018

The original greeting card (left) from St. Viator College, c. 1917

We are now in the season of the Epiphany.  The card that was donated was blown up to poster size and is now on display in the Province Center, as it shows the Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem.  It won’t be up for long as a new digital display will be installed sometime soon where the exhibit case sits now.  Looking forward to that!  New year – new ideas!

Wishing all a happy and healthy 2018!

Merry Christmas 2017!

December 21, 2017

Read about this nearly 100 year old greeting card here.

RIP Fr. William Mayer

December 14, 2017

Fr. Bill Mayer was buried on Wednesday, Dec. 13th and below are the photo boards that were displayed at his wake in the Province Center chapel.  Please remember Fr. Mayer in your prayers.

Season’s Greetings from the Past

December 12, 2017

Christmas 2017
Nearly 100 years ago, this card was sent out by the president and faculty of St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, IL.  Find out how the Viatorian Community Archives recently acquired this beautiful addition to the college collection that is housed at the Province Center in Arlington Heights, IL.  read more



Originally published in 'Archives Uncovered'

December already!

December 01, 2017

The last month of year has arrived and the decorating begins.  Red and green are the traditional colors of choice with a little candy cane paper thrown in and of course Poinsettias to make the December calendar at the Province Center come alive.

As we begin the Advent season and await the blessed birth of Christ, please remember the deceased Viatorians and those celebrating birthdays this month.


Giving Thanks

October 31, 2017

For me, November is synonymous with Thanksgiving.  So for the entire month let us give thanks for all of our blessings – the people in our lives, the food we eat, our homes, the beauty of nature, our pets, and so on.  The list could be endless.  And especially this month remember and be grateful for those who are celebrating birthdays or who have died.

The new calendar exhibit for November is now on display in the Province Center.  After viewing it, stop by the chapel and give thanks for the Viatorian Community, too.

Happy Thanksgiving!