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

Raven Planned to Transform Culture, Then Acted

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.

Two years ago, she was helping form the Transforming Culture in America strategic plan for Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

Now Natalie Dykmann of Lenexa, Kansas, (pictured second from top right, above and top left, below) is making an impact with kids in New York City.

Dykmann, a 2020 graduate, studied Biology with a minor in Education and now works as a Seton Teaching Fellow in The Bronx, N.Y.

The Seton Teaching Fellow is a year of mission in public charter schools and provides support to the teachers. The Fellows also teach a Catholic Catechesis after-school program. After this year of mission, Natalie will work as a full-time teacher at the Public Charter School, Brilla Veritas Elementary School.

Two years ago, nine Benedictine College subcommittees met to see how the college’s mission of community, faith and scholarship, could transform culture. The subcommittees included leaders from industry, academia, media and health care. Dykmann was one of the students invited to attend, as a member of the Faith and Service Subcommittee

She said that Benedictine College’s mission of community, faith and scholarship has been vital to her work.

“The communal life isn’t always easy, especially when there are so many uncertainties right now. But because there are so many uncertainties, community is what has kept us grounded,” she said.

In her first weeks with the Seton Fellowship, “One thing that especially helped us in our growth as a community is having nightly dinners,” she added. “Creating a space where technology is put away and our full selves are present has allowed us to partake in intentional conversations. Intentionality in a community is key.”

Her faith leadership at Benedictine College also helped prepare her, she said. Dykmann coordinated Benedictine College mission trips for College Ministry.

“Through my work in the Ministry Office, I learned communication skills that have transferred over very well into my educational work,” she said. “Benedictine also prepared me to have the confidence to teach Catechism to 3rd graders. Because of how Benedictine shaped my faith life, I am now able to share it with my wonderful students.”

Last, the college’s emphasis on scholarship was critical, she said.

“Although I was a biology major and now work in an elementary school, my biology professors truly prepared me to enter any field. They prepared me to think deeply and critically about anything, and they also prepared me to ask good questions to further my thinking. I am able to ask my own students critical questions.”

To sum up, she said, “Benedictine gave me so many opportunities to grow in my personal and professional life, so I felt very prepared to enter life post-graduation.”

Images courtesy Seton Education Partners.


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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.