Boldness and The Blessed Mother

It wasn’t community, faith or scholarship that led West Coast native Gabby Lara to the rolling plains of the Midwest, on the bluffs of the Missouri River. It was all three. Specifically, it was how she discovered them on the campus of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

“Smaller class sizes make it easier to connect with professors and peers,” Lara says. The people at Benedictine “walk with you spiritually, you really grow as a person here, if you let yourself!”

Benedictine College has a 13:1 student-faculty ratio, giving students the classroom culture that Lara describes. The faith culture on campus is also strong, with Adoration, Mass and Confession offered seven days a week; numerous student-led Bible studies; multiple priests available for spiritual direction; Campus Ministry, and more.

“Mary called me to go here,” Lara says, echoing the sentiments of countless other students, and the words of Benedictine College President, Stephen D. Minnis:

“Benedictine College is a chosen place, and Mary chooses you to be here.

“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 says. “We always say Benedictine College is chosen by Mary to be in this place at this time.”

Lara has made the most of her time at Benedictine since answering Mary’s call, participating in several of the opportunities offered on campus. She performs with the Raven Regiment, Benedictine College’s Marching band. She spent time as president of Ravens Respect Life, which participates in national pro-life initiatives. and plans the student trip to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life every January. Lara also welcomes new students to campus every fall as a Raven Orientation Camp (ROC) leader.

A senior majoring in Exercise Science and Philosophy, Lara says she chose her major because she has “an interest in taking care of people through mind, body, and soul.” Although she admits it sounds like an unusual combination, Lara says “it’s awesome to learn about the philosophy of life. I’m interested in rehabilitation sciences and I plan to work in the medical field!”

As a transfer student to Benedictine after her freshman year of college, Gabby Lara understands the challenge of making college plans, and the difficulty in pivoting when necessary. She knows adjusting to new standards and a new pace of life can be overwhelming. Lara encourages students to be bold and embrace the newness head on.

“Get involved on campus as much as you can without overextending yourself! College is a time to find yourself and build relationships.”

Nicholas Martin