SLIDESHOW: May Crowning and Consecration Is Benedictine’s Latest Plea to Mary

Not just the United States and Canada were consecrated to Our Lady of the Church on May 1. So was Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

Abbot James Albers of St. Benedict’s Abbey on campus presided over the ceremony.

“We are blessed to share in this re-consecration of St. Benedict’s Abbey and Benedictine College to our Lord through our Mother Mary,” he said, and prayed for the intercession of St. Joseph.

Each May, students who are entering religious life crown the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes in Mary’s Grotto, in the center of Benedictine’s campus.

This year, with students away from campus because of the coronavirus pandemic, Rachel Doerneman, one of the campus’s FOCUS missionaries crowned the statue. FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students, was founded at Benedictine College in 1998.

Photographs of other students who are entering religious life were placed in the grotto. Senior Jack Lind sang “Ave Maria” and the monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey ended the ceremony by singing the “Regina Caeli.”

President Stephen Minnis asked families to share the pictures of their own Marian devotions to celebrate the month of May.

To share Marian devotion photos, use the #RavensWillRise hashtag and tag @BenedictineKS, or submit photos via email.

“There’s no question we owe a great deal of thanks to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” said Minnis, who began planning the college’s original consecration after he participated in the Vatican’s 2012 “Ecclesia in America” international conference in Rome on behalf of the college. The conference was dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, queen of the Americas, and the college opened its Our Lady of Guadalupe residence hall in 2014.

“We always say Benedictine College is chosen by Mary to be in this place at this time,” President Minnis said. “We called on the Blessed Virgin Mary, and she has interceded on our behalf, and success has come to the college.”

In 1856, lost in a storm and fearing for his life, Benedictine’s founder Father Henry Lemke cried out to Mary and “the Mother of God worked a miracle” to guide him to shelter, he said in his diary. “For this reason, I promised to love and honor her until I draw my very last breath.” Seven years later, in 1863, Benedictine sisters moved to Atchison and their Mount St. Scholastica monastery’s first Mass was celebrated on the feast of the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The college has honored their commitments and was consecrated to Jesus through Mary on Sept. 8, 2013.

“We have set your image in the center of our campus as a reminder of this consecration, which places your maternal care at the center of our lives,” said the words of the consecration. “Accompany us with your prayers and shower us with God’s graces so that our students will transform the world.”

The college was re-consecrated in 2018, when 1,000 students surrounded the college, prayed the rosary, and embedded miraculous medals in dozens of points in the sidewalk around campus.

“Mary always leads to her son, and we want nothing more for our students then to thrive in their faith in Jesus Christ,” said President Minnis.

When the coronavirus crisis sent the world into lockdown mode, the college turned to Mary again. When the college first extended its spring break for a week to monitor the situation, President Minnis invited the campus community to join him in a novena to Our Lady of Mount Berico. When students were sent home to switch to online learning for the semester, President Minnis launched a Memorare Army  for a swift end to the coronavirus.

Watch the ceremony here.

Pease share your own Marian devotion photos, using the #RavensWillRise hashtag and tagging @BenedictineKS, or submit photos via email.

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.