1,000-Strong Living Rosary at ‘Consecrated’ College

As Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, renewed its consecration to Mary, the chaplain of the college prayed: “Shower us with God’s graces so that our students will transform the world through intellectual, personal and spiritual greatness that in all things God may be glorified.”

The consecration prayer came at the end of a living Rosary made up of nearly 1,000 students, faculty, administration, staff and friends of Benedictine College who surrounded the school’s campus on Sept. 8, 2018, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To mark the historic event, students embedded Miraculous Medals into the sidewalk along the main campus drives and perimeter streets.

“Mary always leads to her Son, and we want nothing more for our students than to thrive in their faith in Jesus Christ,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis.

The “Prayer from the Heart” was based on national events in Ireland, Italy and Poland where participants lined the borders and prayed the Rosary in unison, surrounding their nations in prayer and protection. Organizers evoked the words of Pope Pius IX, who said, “Give me an army that recites the Rosary and I will conquer the world.”

The buried miraculous medals will serve as the foundation of a permanent Walking Rosary.

The monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey have a long tradition of embedding St. Benedict medals into the foundations of every building on campus. The college also embedded a rosary blessed by Pope Benedict XVI into the foundation of the college’s Grotto, built in 2008.

From the places where the miraculous medals are embedded the school will mark 59 spots, which will serve as markers for the prayers of the Rosary. The Walking Rosary begins at the entrance to campus with a Crucifix and winds its way through campus, ending up back down at the entrance.

Decades of the Rosary at the event were led by students Raven Baseball first-baseman Andrew Richards, and Olivia Wieger, who leads the Marian group FIAT on campus, as well as Sister Mary Ellen Auffert OSB of Mount St. Scholastica monastery, Father Simon Baker, chaplain of Benedictine College, and President Minnis.

President Minnis said the celebration comes after years of relying on Mary.

“There’s no question we owe a great deal of thanks to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” said Minnis, who began planning the consecration not long after he participated in the Vatican’s 2012 “Ecclesia in America” international conference in Rome that was dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Star of the New Evangelization.

“I thought, ‘What a perfect time in our history to consecrate the college to the Blessed Virgin Mary.’ It was so significant and important to make a public statement of our love and reliance upon our Mother,” Minnis said.

Five years later, the 2018 event is a new public statement of appreciation for Mary as the school welcomes a record freshman class.

President Minnis leads a weekly rosary at the college on Wednesday mornings throughout the school year and the college added a daily rosary at the Grotto in 2017 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady of Fatima.

Father Simon ended the ceremony with this prayer:

“Holy Mary, we have consecrated Benedictine College to Jesus through you. Help us live this consecration by following your son more closely each day. May we be quick to follow God’s will, recognize Christ in others and bring him into the lives of those we meet. May we do whatever he tells us. Our Lord Jesus Christ told us that we are the light of the world. Through your intercession, may he make this so.”

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.