Tag Archives: Benedictine College

The Lantern of Life!

grotto KSThe IRL is comprised of bishops, priests, brothers, sisters, laity and colleges who work together to support and foster vocations to the consecrated life (click here to become an Associate Member!!). It is somewhat surprising to see colleges on the list but it is really no surprise because some colleges are virtual powerhouses of vocations.

One of those is Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. In 2012, for example, seven women who attended the college professed final vows as Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George.

On September 9, 2013, the college was consecrated to the Blessed Virgin Mary on the feast day of her birth. Their President, Stephen Minnis, recounted the many times that the Mother of God had interceded on the college’s behalf, most notably from the very beginning!

It seems that the founder of Benedictine College, Fr. Henry Lemke, OSB, found himself lost on the Kansas prairie in 1856 in a driving rainstorm. Certain that he was going to die, Father lifted his heart to Mary, whom as a convert to the faith, he had never prayed to in his life. “Mary,” he said, “I have never called upon you before; but if you can help me, I’ll be forever devoted to you.”

Just then he saw a faint light. In a prairie house, a mother had lit a lantern because her young daughter had had a vision of a women in white who told her to call her mother. Hearing her daughter’s cry, the mother lit the lantern.

Fr. Lemke believed that the Blessed Mother had saved his life. Two years later, in 1858, he founded Benedictine college, the same year that the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette in Lourdes. In fact, the college dedicated a new Lourdes Grotto in 2008 on the 150th anniversary of the apparition and the college’s founding. Legendary Notre Dame  football coach Lou Holtz gave the first donation.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann was present during the grotto dedication and recalled that the weather forecast had been for rain, rain, rain. He called President Minis and asked him to call out the Memorarae Army to pray for good weather. An air traffic controller was amazed “that the storm system that had rolled across Kansas at a steady clip” inexplicably stalled outside of Atchison for approximately 5 hours, “clearing” the way for the dedication.

In this college so devoted to Mary, Mr. Minnis estimates that over 250 students a year consecrate themselves to Mary. St. Benedict Abbey Abbot James Albers said, “She is the avenue of Christ to the world. We need to model our Yes on her Yes in bringing Christ to the world.”

The students agree. “Many of the professors remind us of how important Mary is in our faith lives,” said one young adult, “That through Mary we can be closer to Christ’s heart and live our lives in a more efficient and straighter path to salvation.”

For the complete story visit the National Catholic Register.

New Brides of Christ

August 15th, 2012, was a momentous day for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George located in Alton, Illinois. Thirteen women made their final profession as religious sisters, 3 pronounced first vows and 2 were received into the novitiate. And here is the other amazing sidebar to the story, 7 of the sisters who made their final vows attended or graduated from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. What a powerhouse of vocations!

Since the year 2000, 90 Benedictine Alumni have pursued vocations to the priesthood or religious life. Graduates are also serving in other ministries such as Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), LifeTeen and Christ in the City. What a model for other Catholic universities!

Benedictine College and the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George are IRL Affiliates. Check out their websites for more information.


Honk If You Love Nuns!

During spring break this year instead of heading for Daytona Beach, 12 young women decided to participate in a “Nun Run,” a beautiful journey of faith which allowed them to see different communities and their apostolates up close and personal. All twelve students were from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, whose 2 traveling minivans were decorated with the words: “BC Nun Run” and “Honk if you love nuns!”

Their journey took them to 5 IRL Affiliate Communities: the School Sisters of Christ the King; Marian Sisters; The Benedictine Sisters, Mary Queen of the Apostles; the Little Sisters of the Poor (see their write up on the 4 days spent there); and the Sisters of Saint Francis of the Holy Eucharist. The “run” ended at the IRL Midwest Meeting in Independence, MO, where Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem., offered advice on the practical steps for vocational discernment in general and discerning a religious community in particular.

One young women said, “The breathtaking truth that is found in religious life was clearly felt and experienced. And it has helped me so much to grow as a person, to love others, to live and share my life with others. It has been great!”