Miracles and Lantern Light: Celebrating 160 Years of Mount St. Scholastica

Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, is joining in as Mount St. Scholastica Monastery celebrates the 160th anniversary of the arrival of the first Benedictine Sisters on the Kansas frontier.

Two key events have helped to celebrate the occasion.

The first was a special Nov. 5 concert available on YouTube or watchable below. The Benedictine College Chamber Singers, under the direction of Dr. Timothy Tharaldson, performed Tharaldson’s own composition, “The Miracle of St. Scholastica,” in St. Scholastica Chapel on the grounds of the monastery. (Read the Miracle of St. Scholastica by St. Gregory the Great here.)

On Nov. 10, dozens of students took part in a lantern procession from the college campus on the north side of Atchison to Mount St. Scholastica, on the town’s south side.

The Lantern procession commemorated the welcome the sisters had to Atchison. On Nov. 11, 1863, two men carried lanterns to show the sisters from the dock on the Missouri River to their new home. The men were also on hand to ensure that anti-Catholic threats against the sisters were not carried out. The Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica began a school for girls that was an early adopter of desegregation and the sisters to this day shine the light on prejudice and violence in the world today.

“We salute the sisters on this important anniversary,” said President Stephen D. Minnis. “We owe a lot to heir tenacity and commitment to educating students on the frontier in Atchison, Kansas. The sisters are the reason Benedictine College can boast of being the only Catholic college in America to have graduated a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Wangari Maathai, educated at the Mount.”

He added: “To this day, the sisters are a daily presence on our campus, in classrooms, in the office of the assistant dean, and helping lead our library. Thank you, sisters!”

Watch the “Miracle of St. Scholastica” under the direction of composer Timothy Tharaldson below.

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.