‘My Proudest Moment Was Standing With the Pro-Life Generation’ Says College President

Following the Supreme Court decision to reverse Roe v. Wade, Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis made the following statement:

This is a great day in American history, a great day for those who cherish the principle that all “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life.”

The decision by the Supreme Court in the Dobbs case is a new beginning for America and a beginning for the pro-life movement in America. Now, we will move our fight for the right to life to the states, and we will redouble our efforts to serve those women who face difficult circumstances because of their pregnancies.

On the afternoon of June 24, 2022, when the decision was handed down, board members, faculty, staff and students of the college gathered by the Sacred Heart statue in the center of campus to thank Our Lord for this tremendous gift on the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

But I wanted to extend my own personal thanks to the students of Benedictine College who for decades have worked, prayed, and marched for the right to life, the civil rights issue of our day.

My proudest moments as president of this college have been walking along side of you — the pro-life generation — to stand up for life.

You knew you could not be silent when over 60 million babies have been killed since Roe v. Wade.

You could not be silent when over half of Americans are against abortion, yet it was still the law of the land.

You could not be silent when for many people abortion was still the answer to their troubles.

You could not be silent when the most dangerous place in America for young people was in their mother’s womb.

You have made Benedictine College the pro-life college in America.

Year after year, for decades, Benedictine College students traveled the 1,100-mile, 27-hour journey to Washington, D.C. to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in the March for Life. Benedictine became known as the organization that brings the most people from furthest away to the Washington, D.C., March for Life.

The college owes thanks to the Knights of Columbus, who first organized informal trips starting in the 1980s, and to Ravens Respect Life, who began the formal college involvement in 1989. Many of the students who led Ravens Respect Life in its early days are now leaders in the Church, including Bishop Andrew Cozzens ’91 of the Diocese of Crookston, Minn., Abbot James Albers ’94 of St. Benedict’s Abbey, Father Joseph Taphorn ’93 from the Archdiocese of Omaha, Father Brendan Rolling ’99, former chaplain of Benedictine College, and Father Jeremy Hepler ’00, pastor of St. Benedict’s Parish on the campus of Benedictine College.

In 2009, Benedictine College’s presence at the March attracted the attention of documentary film makers, who then featured Benedictine students in the film “Thine Eyes: A Witness to the March for Life,” shown on EWTN.

In 2014, Benedictine College led the March for Life in Washington, D.C., and dedicated our involvement to Our Lady. The previous September, Abbot James Albers consecrated the college to Our Lady, and the college arranged with the World Apostolate of Fatima — Our Lady’s Blue Army — to carry a statue of Our Lady of Fatima that was blessed by the Holy Father as we led the March.

In 2017, the college enthroned the Sacred Heart in the center of campus and started the tradition of beginning each March for Life trip with a procession with roses past the statue of the Sacred Heart to the Memorial of the Unborn, and then onto the buses.

From the beginning, we have put our efforts to stand up for life in the hands of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart. When the Dobbs case was taken up by the Supreme Court, with oral arguments to begin Dec. 1, the college turned to Our Lord and Our Lady for help. Students prayed in All Night Adoration Nov. 30 before oral arguments began and on the morning of Dec. 1, Dean of the College Dr. Kimberly Shankman and I led a rosary for the intention of the case.

So, it was appropriate that the news of the Dobbs decision came on the feast of the Sacred Heart.

Now our prayers will continue for legislators at the state level, for mothers facing difficult circumstances and for the many pro-life apostolates who provide services to them. We trust in God’s loving care, and we pledge to continue to show that trust with our Benedictine motto, Pray and Work.

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.