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St. Benedict’s Abbey recently debuted “The First Kansas Monks” video telling the story of the monks who founded a college on the prairie and struggled to survive, grow and serve the German immigrants of early Kansas.
The history of St. Benedict’s Abbey — and thus the history of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas — began when Father Henry Lemke and Abbot Boniface Wimmer came to America and found great suffering along with great success.
Later, in 1863, the Benedictine sisters monastery of Mount St. Scholastica (introductory video here) were also founded despite anti-Catholic sentiment. They founded the school that would become the other half of the future Benedictine College.
Early leader of the monks, Abbot Innocent Wolf, said, “A true history of Kansas Beneditines and missions is a sad affair and good only for the archives.”
But from great hardship comes great inspiration, and the story of the Benedictines who staked their lives on the truth of the Gospel in the teeth of the Civil War is a great example for Catholics today.