An aerial photo of campus.

Abbot to Consecrate Benedictine College to Virgin Mary

Published: Tuesday, August 13, 2013

21-foot Fountain Statue of Mary To Be Installed

Benedictine College has announced plans to consecrate the college to the Blessed Virgin Mary on Sept. 8 and add a 21-foot fountain statue of Our Lady of Grace.  The consecration ceremony, which will include a procession through campus and a blessing of Marian religious articles, will start at approximately 11 a.m., following a special 10 a.m. Mass at St. Benedict’s Abbey Church.

Learn more about the consecration.

The Our Lady of Grace statue in the center of the campus’ main quad will be blessed as part of the consecration.  Invitations to the consecration ceremony have been sent to bishops throughout the country and to many special guests.

“In many ways, Benedictine College owes its very existence to Mary, the Mother of God,” said Minnis. He cited several incidents in the college’s past:
[Read more “Mary’s Miracles” here.]

  • The founder of St. Benedict’s Abbey,  Benedictine Fr. Henry Lemke, prayed to Our Lady as he collapsed in exhaustion, lost in a storm in the Kansas wilderness. At the moment he did so a little girl in a pioneer cottage was awakened by “a lady dressed in white.” Her mother lit a lantern in the window. In what he calls “a miracle of the mother of God,” Fr. Lemke saw the light and was saved.
  • Benedictine College was founded two years later in 1858, the year that “Lady Dressed in White” visited another small town little girl: Bernadette of Lourdes, France.
  • On the 150th anniversary of the college and of the Lourdes apparition, the college built a large Mary’s Grotto in the center of campus. The 58 tons of stone used to build the grotto includes original stones from Lourdes, France. Lourdes water was used to mix the concrete.
  • The first sisters in Atchison heard their first Mass on the feast of the Patronage of Mary and took vows “in honor of Almighty God” and “the most Blessed Virgin Mary.”
  • The college has relied on the Marian prayers of the campus Memorare Army prayer campaign to further the college’s mission, answering important college needs.
  • The college has expanded the prayer campaign to a National Memorare Army praying for religious liberty. The college has gathered pledges for more than 3 million memorares to be said for religious liberty.
  • Abbot James will be the celebrant for Mass and the main cleric for the Consecration ceremony, details of which follow.
  1. The procession will go first to the statue of Mary in front of the library.  After an invocation, the procession will continue down to the St. Benedict statue in front of the Haverty Center.
  2. The procession will then move up the Raven Walk to the Grotto. As the Abbot enters the Grotto, he will stop and do a blessing of Lourdes water at the new waterfall and then proceed into the Grotto for an invocation at the Our Lady of Lourdes statue.
  3. Finally, the procession will lead to the quad and the new Our Lady of Grace statue. Members of the Benedictine College and the Atchison Catholic community are able to bring Marian objects—pictures, statues, rosaries—to be placed on the steps of Ferrell Academic Center to be blessed.
  4. After the ceremony, lunch will be provided for guests and medals will be presented to those participating.

The Vatican’s “Directory on Popular Piety” says of consecration:  “The Roman Pontiffs have frequently expressed appreciation for the pious practice of ‘consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary.’”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains (No. 971): “The Church rightly honors the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. … This very special devotion differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration.”


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.