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.


Benedictine Student Effort Puts Life on State Ballot

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The Benedictine mission of community, faith and scholarship transformed culture in Europe at the dawn of Western Civilization and Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, believes it can do the same in America today. To Transform Culture in America, Benedictine College plans to Form its students deeply in the mission, Advance its mission through alumni in every walk of life, and Extend its mission regionally and nationally.

At the Atchison, Kansas, March for Life organized by Benedictine College Jan. 29, President Stephen D. Minnis told the story of how the college’s students influenced a key pro-life vote in the state of Kansas. His words follow.

A couple of years ago the Kansas Supreme Court issued a ruling that said that the Kansas Constitution guarantees a right to an abortion — in the section which states that Kansans have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Ironically.  Yes, you can’t make this stuff up.

What this means then is if Roe v. Wade gets overturned and abortion legislation is returned to the states that Kansas would deem a Kansas Constitutional right to abortion and would automatically be considered the most pro-abortion state in the union.

Of course, this had to change. Archbishop Joseph Naumann immediately commissioned a new amendment to the Kansas Constitution be drafted and asked pro-life House and Senate representatives to try to get it passed.

Any state constitutional amendment has to pass the Kansas Senate and the Kansas House by 2/3 vote and then put on the ballot for Kansans to decide.

Last year, it passed the Senate, but not the House — and after that vote Ravens worked to get those negative votes out of the legislature — which they did.

But this year was a different story. The Amendment passed the House—carried by the Speaker of the House Ron Rykman whose son Christian is a freshman here at Benedictine.

But when it went to the Senate it appeared to be one short on votes. So what did Benedictine College students do? They didn’t believe that they have no influence, that no one will listen to them.

Instead, they stormed the dorms and received 400 separate petitions signed by Benedictine College students and presented this big stack of petitions on Saturday imploring support for the Amendment.

Did it work?

You should be happy to know that on Jan. 28, the Senate voted in favor of the “Value Them Both” Kansas Constitutional Amendment — putting Kansas back on track to being a pro-life state.

I was told last night after the vote by a person close to the debate that everyone in Topeka is talking about the Benedictine College students who helped get this Amendment passed.

Thank you to Vincent Schiffiano; Jack Kuckelman; Christopher Ullrich; Thomas Doyle; Alejandro Calderon; Abby Walterscheid; Molly Rowles and Zach Zimmer for your work on this.

And thank you students because without your help this doesn’t get done.

You should be proud of yourselves and walk away from this event knowing that you do make a difference and your support for the pro-life cause is and will save lives.

This is why we march.

And even though not in Washington, D.C. — your voices, your actions are being heard and seen far beyond this place.

Thank you for your witness.  Thank you for marching.

And know that my proudest moments as president of this college is walking along side of you — the pro-life generation — to stand up for life. Thank you.

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Stephen Minnis

Stephen Minnis

A native of St. Joseph, Mo., Stephen D. Minnis received his Bachelor’s degree from Benedictine College in 1982 and his Juris Doctorate degree from Washburn University in 1985 and Master’s of Business Administration degree in 1993 from Baker University. Minnis began his legal career in the county prosecutor’s office for Johnson County, Kansas. At Sprint Corporation, he held the position of director, state regulatory and general attorney for 14 years. Minnis was a contributing author to Inside the Mind: Achieving Success as a CEO (©2008 Thomson Reuters/Aspatore) and has given numerous talks on spirituality in the workplace and academic freedom to groups across America, including the Heritage Foundation, Legatus, and Catholic Charities. He was one of only five college presidents to be included on the Committee on Catholic Education Ex Corde Ecclesia Working Group in Baltimore in 2012 and he was invited by the Vatican to participate in the 2012 Pontificia Comisión Para América in Rome. Minnis and his wife, Amy (Kohake), a 1984 Benedictine graduate, live in Atchison, Kan. The couple has three grown children, Matthew, Michael, and Molly.