Pre-Med Raven Gets Prestigious Fellowship

The Gregorian Fellows Leadership Program at Benedictine College promotes Catholic identity in public life by forming a new generation of leaders who unite faith and reason in their work. On Fellows Fridays, the Gregorian Institute will introduce you to some of these extraordinary students.

Of the thousands of seniors at colleges and universities across the county, only 15 are awarded the prestigious Röpke-Wojtyła Fellowship each year. Once again, one of those students comes from Benedictine College. Named to the 2019-2020 class of Röpke-Wojtyła Fellows is JohnPaul Stedwill, a senior biology major, pre-med student and Gregorian Fellow at Benedictine.

“I feel humbled to have this opportunity to build on my Liberal Arts education from Benedictine College and help me better serve in my professional career,” said Stedwill. “To me, this fellowship means an opportunity to engage with the larger Catholic world through conversations designed toward gaining insights into the challenges my generation will face in society and the marketplace.”

The Röpke-Wojtyła Fellowship, named for Wilhelm Röpke, the late economist, and Karol Wojtyła, who became better known as Pope John Paul II, is a program for Catholic undergraduate seniors from any institution across the United States. Its purpose is to educate future Catholic intellectuals and business leaders in the study of the market order and in social thought — in particular Catholic social thought as it compares to secular scholarship. Throughout the year, the fellows will discuss topics in history, philosophy, political economy, politics and sociology. They will study such things as St. Thomas Aquinas’ work on natural law, Charles Babbage’s analysis of automation, John Ruskin’s critique of political economy, Röpke’s assessment of the social framework for the market order, and Wojtyła’s philosophy of the human person.

“I think I have a great deal to learn from the other students who all come from various backgrounds and I am excited to share the ideas and experiences I have had with them,” Stedwill said. “Moving forward, I hope to attend medical school beginning in the fall of 2020. I am particularly aware of the growing constraints on Catholics practicing in the healthcare field as it threatens the autonomy of doctors in the patient-physician relationship. I believe this program will help me understand the best way I can approach these situations in light of Catholic social teaching.”

The Catholic University of America hosts to the program in Washington, D.C. Fellows participate in three one-day colloquia in Washington, with a fourth gathering in Rome. At all these events, students interact with exceptional and inspiring scholars in an effort to allow them to engage with intellectual traditions and authors they might not otherwise encounter during their studies.

“As with the Liberal Arts as a whole, my overall hope for this program is for ongoing formation into the person I am meant to become,” Stedwill concluded. “Through a combination of prayer, education, and communion with other students, I think this fellowship will help better prepare me to enter into my career with a sound heart and mind for Christ.”

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.