With 13,000 Catholic Students SEEKing Christ

On Jan. 2, six buses left Benedictine College’s Atchison, Kan., campus. They were headed to SEEK 2017, this year’s national conference for FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) that attracted 13,000 students from universities nationwide.

Benedictine College was a partner in the conference, promoting Catholic identity in public life nationwide.

The conference saw powerful works of grace.

“Last night during adoration, I can say this skeptic was touched by God,” said one participant. “Confession after seven years was the most moving thing I’ve done. Now I’m able to receive the body and blood of Christ today during Mass.”

“Can’t be in a better place than adoration with 13,000 students, where the line for confession is cut off by fire marshals because it’s too long,” said another.

Benedictine students had high praise for the conference.

“SEEK two years ago saved my life,” said junior Macy Granger. “This is such an opportunity being around so many Catholics who are searching for Jesus. He is surrounding everyone here.”

“Walking in the confession line was really cool,” said Madison Mead, also a junior. “To walk together and know that we are waking towards the same end is amazing.”

Benedictine College and FOCUS have been walking together for a long time. Benedictine President Stephen D. Minnis joined FOCUS founder Curtis Martin on stage Jan. 5 to talk about the college’s role in FOCUS, after a college video played.

“The video mentions I had three sons who went to Benedictine, but that’s outdated,” said Martin. “I now have a daughter who went to Benedictine. I have a daughter-in-law who went to Benedictine College. My new soon-to-be daughter-in-law went to Benedictine College. Benedictine College has been great for FOCUS and it has been great for the Martin family!”

President Minnis answered by praising Martin’s work. “Less than 20 years ago, FOCUS was founded on Benedictine College’s campus. They had literally one campus and two missionaries. Today, FOCUS has 125 campuses and over 500 missionaries,” he said.

FOCUS serves students through Bible studies and trains them to be effective parishioners after graduation. Minnis recalled the first SEEK conference in the year 2000 with 100 people. “There’s a few more people here tonight,” he said.

There are a few more people from Benedictine, too. In addition to the 360 students, the college brought 18 faculty, staff and administrators, including more than half the college’s leadership team and five monks and sisters from Atchison’s Benedictine communities.

Below, enjoy some images from Benedictine College at the SEEK conference.

Benedictine SEEKers meet on campus.


Setting up Benedictine College at SEEK 2017.


Gathering for SEEK 2017 in San Antonio.


Benedictine’s Sarah Swafford introduces a speaker.


President Minnis and Curtis Martin dabbing.


Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at SEEK.


Rocky meets  Benedictine alumna SOLT Sister Mary Elizabeth Albers.


Benedictine’s Sarah Swafford leads the crowd.

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.