Benedictine College Going Big to Honor Mary

Hundreds of well-wishers at Benedictine College will bury Miraculous Medals all along the main drive of Benedictine College’s campus Sept. 8 to help re-consecrate the college to Mary.

It is all part of an event in celebration of Mary’s birthday and in thanksgiving on the fifth anniversary of Benedictine College’s consecration to the Blessed Mother.

The Sept. 8 schedule is as follows:

4:00 – Mass at St. Benedict’s Abbey Church
5:15 – Rosary around campus.
5:45 – The Consecration Prayer and placement of Miraculous Medals.
6:00 – Picnic in the Park – celebrate with a picnic dinner, live band, and birthday cake in Raven Memorial Park.

Students, faculty and friends of the college have been invited to “Come be a part of history with us.”

Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis said the celebration comes after years of relying on Mary.

“We called on the Blessed Virgin Mary, and she has interceded on our behalf, and success has come to the college. It becomes clear we hold a special place in our heart for her,” Minnis said. “We always say Benedictine College is chosen by Mary to be in this place at this time.”

“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 will be a new “public statement” of appreciation for Mary as the school anticipates a record year in enrollment.

“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:

  • 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.

At the Sept. 8 event participants will bury Miraculous Medals following a tradition of the monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey who have put a St. Benedict’s Medal in the foundation of every campus building.

The Miraculous Medal depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary following the design given to St. Catherine Laboure in a vision and is honored at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

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.

“Mary always leads to her son, and we want nothing more for our students then to thrive in their faith in Jesus Christ,” said President Minnis.

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.