Every professed Viatorian carries with them a symbol of their sacred vows that dates back to their 19th century founder, Fr. Louis Querbes: a distinctive gold ring they wear on their right hand.
Engraved on each is a holy cross with the initials, IHS, symbolizing Christ’s name etched over the crest, and 10 notches in its band, symbolizing beads of the rosary.
For each Viatorian, it is a reminder of his lasting connection to the community, and is “symbolic of his union with Christ, to whose service he has bound himself by taking the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience,” according to an internal newsletter, published in 1947.
The practice of bestowing the ring upon formed religious dates back to 1833, when Fr. Querbes asked Pope Gregory XVI for permission for his young community to adopt the ring, which originally was designed as a rosary ring.
While Pope Gregory did not grant the indulgences of the rosary be given to the Viatorians, simply by wearing the ring, he did approve the ring as a symbol of the Viatorian Community.
Consequently, for more than 180 years the bestowing of the ring during a perpetual vow ceremony has become a highlight, and continues to this day around the world. Modern day Viatorians wear the gold signet ring with great devotion to their procession of faith and commitment to advancing the Viatorian charism.