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This year, Benedictine College celebrates its Century of Science — 100 years ago, in 1916, the college first offered science degrees; this year we’re taking science on campus to a whole new level.
But the National Catholic Register reminds us that the Church might as well be celebrating two millennia of science.
Many of history’s discoveries and scientific progress, the newspaper recalls, were not just made by Catholics, but in many cases by priests.
We especially noted the paper’s mention of two scientists we pass every day on the way into St. Benedict’s Hall, Louis Pasteur and Gregor Mendel, pictured above.
The article also lists several Benedictines who played a significant part in advancing science.
Our Century of Science is very much in their debt. The Benedictines on the list started making science a big deal 500 years ago. Our monks made it a big deal 100 years ago. And Pope Francis has made science education a priority for colleges worldwide three years ago, calling for “an encounter between faith, reason and the sciences.”
President Minnis sees advancement in STEM disciplines as central to the college’s faith-based mission.
“At Benedictine College, we believe faith, morality and ethics are just as important in the sciences as in every other part of our lives. They cannot be separated,” he said. “That is why it is so important to train future doctors, engineers and scientists at a place like Benedictine College that understands the essential role of faith, morality and ethics in the sciences.”
Here are the examples of Benedictine science greatness from the National Catholic Register:
Fr. Benedetto Castelli (1578–1643) – Benedictine mathematician; long-time friend and supporter of Galileo Galilei, who was his teacher; wrote an important work on fluids in motion
Placidus Fixlmillner (1721–1791) – Benedictine priest and one of the first astronomers to compute the orbit of Uranus
Fr. Andrew Gordon (Benedictine) (1712–1751) – Benedictine monk, physicist and inventor who made the first electric motor
Fr. Hermann of Reichenau (1013–1054) – Benedictine historian, music theorist, astronomer and mathematician
Fr. Stanley Jaki (1924–2009) – Benedictine priest and prolific writer who wrote on the relationship between science and theology
Fr. Ányos Jedlik (1800–1895) – Benedictine engineer, physicist and inventor; considered by Hungarians and Slovaks to be the unsung Father of the dynamo and electric motor
Fr. Karl Kehrle (1898–1996) – Benedictine Monk of Buckfast Abbey, England; beekeeper; world authority on bee breeding, developer of the Buckfast bee which is the hybrid commonly used currently
Fr. Marian Wolfgang Koller (1792–1866) – Benedictine professor who wrote on astronomy, physics and meteorology
Fr. Jean Mabillon (1632–1707) – Benedictine monk and scholar, considered the founder of paleography and diplomatics
Fr. Francesco Maurolico (1494–1575) – Benedictine who made contributions to the fields of geometry, optics, conics, mechanics, music and astronomy and gave the first known proof by mathematical induction
Cardinal Jean Baptiste François Pitra (1812–1889) – Benedictine cardinal, archaeologist and theologian who noteworthy for his great archaeological discoveries