The Gregorian Institute Shield, composed of the crossed gold and silver keys of the Papal Insignia, an open book with the words 'Via Veritas Vita' ('The Way, the Truth, and the Life') written on its pages, three golden six-sided stars on a red banner, and a Germanic cross.

at BENEDICTINE COLLEGE

Benedictine President Calls on Our Lady of Guadalupe to Transform Culture

In an online speech on Sept. 8, 2021, President Stephen D. Minnis announced the Benedictine College strategic plan Transforming Culture in America and, referencing St. John Paul II, called on Our Lady of Guadalupe. The full text of his remarks follows.

Hello my name is Steve Minnis, President of Benedictine College and today — Mary’s Birthday — we are excited to share with you our new bold and visionary plan to Transform Culture in America.

With this success, we began to realize that it all came after we Embraced Our Lady — by putting the college in her loving hands; and we embraced our mission of educating our students within a community of faith and scholarship.

And after these gains we began asking ourselves: can we take that blueprint for success for a greater cause? In other words, what kind of a force for good can we be in this world?

To answer these questions, the college embarked on a three-year process in which our faculty, board of directors, students and administration met with dozens of leaders in every walk of life, asking them: How can Benedictine College Transform Culture in America?

And the answer became clear. Our mission. The Benedictine mission of community, faith and scholarship transformed Europe after the fall of the Roman empire, and it can transform America today.In a world of loneliness and polarization, community is the key. In an age of hopelessness and incivility, faith is the answer. And in a post-truth era that is information-rich but analysis-poor, scholarship is the key.

Our plan is to form our students in our mission on campus; advance the mission in every walk of life through our alumni; and extend the mission to off-campus audiences through the media.

That sounds like a lot, and it is. But we believe it can be done because we know it has been done once before.

St. Juan Diego saw Our Lady of Guadalupe appear 490 years ago this December. She asked him to bring her message of transformation to the leaders of his day. He told her it was impossible. He said she should send someone else.

She answered him: “My little son, there are many I could send. But you are the one I have chosen.”

The rest is history, and years later when St. John Paul II wrote the document The Church in America, he said:

“Through Our Lady of Guadalupe’s powerful intercession, the Gospel will penetrate the hearts of the men and women of America and permeate their culture, transforming them from within.”

A few years after he wrote those words, I felt a little like Juan Diego when the Vatican chose me to represent Benedictine College at conferences in Rome and at Mexico City to review that document.

But those conferences changed everything. After that, we consecrated Benedictine College to Our Lady, opened Guadalupe Hall on campus, and began planning ways to Transform Culture in America.

I will never forget the night I went back and forth in front of the tilma, asking Our Lady, over and over again, for her son to bless Benedictine College.

And I can’t help but hear those words she said so long ago to Juan Diego: “There are many I could send, but you are the one I have chosen.”

So please join Benedictine College in this bold and unprecedented strategic vision to Transform Culture in America.

God bless you all and God bless Benedictine College.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Join the Memorare Army.

Read the Transforming Culture in America Strategic Plan.


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Benedictine College

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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 proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as 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. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.