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Click here to see the Atchison County Commissioner Meeting from Sept. 2 discussing another order for all students to isolate.
Click here to see images of the Sept. 3 student-initiated Rosary praying for an end to the crisis.
Click here for the Sept. 4 press release about the resolution announcing the Atchison and Benedictine: Stronger Together agreement.
Wow. Last time I spoke to you I asked you to pray and fast for the college until Mary’s birthday, Sept. 8. That was a good idea, I guess.
Today is Mary’s birthday, and I have been overwhelmed by the willingness of so many to pray for the college.
I wanted to publicly thank those who turned our situation around at Benedictine College last week.
First and foremost, I want to thank our students.
As you know, we faced government orders that would have locked you in your rooms, and kept you away from in-person classes. But you wouldn’t let that happen. You did two things that changed everything.
First, you proved you were willing to do whatever is necessary to protect the mission, even if it meant waiting in lines at the courthouse and spending your precious time standing up for our mission.
Second, you prayed. You organized a rosary on Thursday night at a crucial time. It was your idea to gather around the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Raven Memorial Park, distanced, wearing masks, and pray for our mission.
The prayer worked. Our Lady did what she always does, and she turned division into unity in our meeting the next day. Your prayers and your example changed the conversation with the county from mistrust and disagreement into mutual trust and compromise.
Now I want you to do one more thing: Help us make our mission stronger than ever. It is absolutely essential that we live our mission in these difficult times.
Our mission of Community is hard right now. But I know that Ravens can find ways to grow closer than ever. I am so grateful for our Student Life team for their amazing efforts in bringing us all together. I especially hope we can reach out to those students in isolation or quarantine to make them know they are an important part of our community, too.
Our mission of Faith is the heart of who we are, and our students have received more faith opportunities than any class before thanks to our ministry team that is working harder than ever. Let’s join them in using the cross of Covid to grow closer to Jesus Christ.
Our mission of Scholarship is the ultimate purpose of all we do. I thank our faculty who are doing more than ever to be able to teach you in person, while allowing others to join online. Let’s all work together to use our resourcefulness and ingenuity to build community in the classroom even when we have to distance, with masks.
To the county, I want to say: We are encouraged by our new spirit of cooperation. You have a hard job, and we don’t take that lightly. We were able to step forward by trusting each other and realizing that we both have the same goal: Making Covid cases lower in the county. I hope that the county will help change division into unity, and encourage residents to see Ravens not as threats or outsiders, but as part of the Atchison community, partners in building a healthier, stronger future. It is true: Atchison and Benedictine are Stronger Together.
Last, I want to publicly thank the one who made all of this work: Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Exactly 162 years ago a lady in white visited a small girl on the Kansas prairie and together they led our founder to safety. Father Henry Lemke called it a miracle of Our Lady, and we agree.
Thank you, Mary, for reaching out to help us then, and thank you for reaching out to help us now. Your constant care is moving beyond words.
You have blessed us on your birthday again and again. We dedicated the Grotto on your birthday. We consecrated the college on your birthday. We embedded Miraculous Medals all over campus on your birthday.
And all the students noticed what you did last week. They gathered with you to ask your Son for a miracle, and the next news they heard was that an agreement was on the way.
We followed your example and united together to put others’ needs ahead of our own. Now we ask you to help us stay stronger together to protect Atchison from the coronavirus. We ask you to give us the strength to carry the cross we have been given.
And we thank you for the great birthday gift you have given us this year: Being here, together, in community, faith and scholarship.
So let’s end with a Memorare:
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mot her of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.