Process Opens for Founder of Viatorians

LYON, France, FEB. 23, 2006 ( The Archdiocese of Lyon opened the process of beatification of the founder of the Clerics of St. Viator, Father Louis Joseph Marie Querbes, according to the Fides news agency.

The process opened today. Louis Querbes was born in Lyon on Aug. 21, 1793, at the height of the French Revolution. He entered the St. Irenaeus Seminary of Lyon in 1812, and was ordained a priest on Dec. 17, 1816.

As a parish priest in a rural community south of Lyons, he was aware of his country’s de-Christianization coupled with great religious ignorance. He was inspired to start an association of catechists, and of men who might help parish priests.

The founder conceived of the group in 1826. The “St. Viator Catechists” obtained diocesan approval in 1831.

The founder chose Viator, a fourth-century catechist and reader of Lyon cathedral, as the patron of his foundation. The group’s first schools opened in the fall of 1832. In May 1839, the Clerics of St. Viator, the Viatorians, obtained pontifical approval.

Father Querbes died in Vourles, where he worked, on Sept. 1, 1859. His spiritual heirs form a religious community of priests and brothers, and associated diocesan priests and lay people involved in catechesis.