Benedictine College, Kansas: the flagship college of the new evangelization

(Source: Here)

Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas

On the eve of the U.S. Bishops’ November meeting, Benedictine College has presented its archbishop with a document highlighting the way Catholic identity can reinvigorate a college.

In January, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops requested that each bishop have a conversation with the Catholic colleges and universities in their respective diocese on how they have implemented Ex Corde Ecclesiae (From the Heart of the Church). Ex Corde is Blessed John Paul II’s 1990 Apostolic Constitution on Higher Education.

“Catholic Identity at Benedictine College in Atchison Kansas: A Ten Year Review of Ex Corde Ecclessiae,” the document the college produced, showcases how the school’s thorough implementation of Ex Corde has brought extraordinary success to the college. Since the year 2000, the school has seen its enrollment grow each year, has opened eight new residence halls, has become recognized by U.S. News & World Report and has expanded its academic majors. Benedictine College now offers full programs in nursing and finance and is one of the few Catholic liberal arts colleges to offer Chemical, Electrical, Mechanical and Civil Engineering.

St. Benedict's Church on campus

Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis presented the document to Archbishop Joseph Naumann, of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, on October 22, the first-ever feast day of Blessed John Paul II.

“We hope to show why we are the flagship college of the new evangelization,” said Minnis.

Among the information highlighted in the document:

• Required courses for all students in a philosophy department centered on St. Thomas Aquinas.
• Required courses for all students in a theology department that was in early, robust and public compliance with the canon-law mandatum.
• A retooled business curriculum with philosophy and Christian Moral Life requirements.
• A residence life program that forbids coed dorms and trains all students in theology of the body.
• Student life policies that require crucifixes in every dorm room and two spiritual programs in each residence hall floor, such as the Rosary and morning prayer.
• New campus art and architecture including: A grotto built on the 150th anniversary of both the school and Our Lady of Lourdes, the Mother Teresa Nursing Center featuring a commissioned painting of Mother Teresa, and a new 8-foot statue of St. Benedict in the center of campus.
• The compilation of the Benedictine College Values, a framed copy of which hangs in every classroom and staff department along with a crucifix.
• Extensive service to the poor, including nearly 600 students in a skip-a-meal program this year.
• No other school sends as many students from as far away to the March for Life in Washington.
• The school honors Catholic identity through six awards, including the Humanae Vitae Award, the John Paul II Distinguished Speaker Award and the Do Something Beautiful for God Award.
• The school is the birthplace of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students and remains a leading FOCUS school; more than 400 students have attended the FOCUS national conference in the last two years.

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.

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19 Responses to Benedictine College, Kansas: the flagship college of the new evangelization

  1. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    With for example, Ethics in Business, I’m sure it’s a nice place to study, but the militaristic building, the national flag on the pole and the unusual helipad (cant do those smileys) makes me uneasy.

    Architecture talks, or in this case, swears.


  2. teresa says:

    Mr. Whippy, it just occurs to me after you mentioned it. The building seems to be dated in the 20s’ of the 20th. century? (I hope I guess correctly), it does have too much monumental character and too little decorative character, and it is also a little cold, but I hope the campus will be more friendly than this main building.


  3. There is here a lengthier snapshot of the ‘facilities’. When I see that (poor) photograph, I don’t see ‘militarism’, I see ‘build cheaply and hope for munificent benefactors in the future’. It looks to be the Haverty Center, ca 1923. And I see healthy patriotic sentiment in the flying of the national standard.


  4. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Yes T, the syllabus looks interesting. The inclusion of Engineering in an Arts College is wonderful. I’ve never been keen on the separation of such studies.

    M, flag flying is a deeply suspect business, and I shudder to read of the oxymoronic ‘healthy patriotic sentiment’. The body count from that is horrific.

    It is indeed ‘sentiment’ – no thinking involved.


  5. rebrites says:

    I can´t see how flying a national flag out front is any more suspect or unthinking or sentimental than planting a big red religious symbol in the front lawn.


  6. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Yes, same thing isn’t it?


  7. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    On an architectural point, and just to put my money where my mouth is and ready to take the flak;

    The building is a horrendous mismatch of

    Medieval towers:
    Too wide romanesque window arches:
    Modern rectangular window penetrations:
    Medieval battlements:

    All in brick (which is fine), but all together in mongrel ancient styles. Each element is fine, but not in this mix. I reassert my comments that it has a militaristic look.

    I myself studied in an unattractive looking college where the teaching was first class. I have said already how this US college could be a good place to study. I’d give anything to wind back the years and study again, including here. But I’d sneak out at midnight and remove that flag.


  8. Ha, no one wants to die defending the less than beautiful building, no. The flag represents a reality that can be justly defended, however, even with blood, without also subscribing to some indefensible ‘militarism’. (Nor, for that matter, are ‘thought’ and ‘sentiment’ in a human being mutually exclusive, I think. But, again, I do concede that the silly building is unattractive, yes.)


  9. toadspittle says:


    “But I’d sneak out at midnight and remove that flag.”

    What are you, some kind of Commie, Whippy? God help you if they catch you. The Flag is regarded with religious reverence over there. You will probably be shot. They’ve all got guns.
    Many private homes have The Flag in their yard.

    And Toad will take the opportunity of re-running this nice little H.L.Mencken quote, for no particular reason:

    “The American people, taken one with another,constitute the most timorous, snivelling, poltroonish, ignominous mob of serfs and goose-steppers gathered under one flag in Christendom since the end of the Middle Ages.”

    He said that in 1922. Of course, things are very different now..


  10. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Yes Mr Toad, if McCarthy caught me I would be toast, whether I was a Red or not. Just like the Soviet show trials. Plus ca change etc.

    But as you say, things are different now, so I would only be waterboarded, or incarcerated in Gtmo without trial or benefit of clergy.

    Ho hum.


  11. rebrites says:

    And the man behind the Toad persona, ever magnanamous and ecumenical, is married to an American. They seem to get along most of the time, so long as nobody flies any flags.
    Funny old world.


  12. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Marc, m’dear

    You say that “the flag represents a reality which can justly be defended, however, even with blood”. I hear bands playing, chests swelling, and bombs falling. I think of the unholy My Lai, Abu Graid. Or the massacre in Katyn forest, or …well, you know, those naughty Soviets may be just like you.

    What is that “reality” – can you expand on that a little? And most importantly, whose “blood”?

    Is this “reality” tempered by your Catholicism? Or does that matter at all? I just ask.

    Is it perhaps a “reality” which other nations may use, or is it reserved just for you, a Christian nation so they say.?

    Put out more flags I cry.

    Teasingly, you haven’t yet told all.

    Let us pray….


  13. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Thank you Rebrites.

    Down with flags, we say in harmony.


  14. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    A quick reread tells us that students will be trained in “theology of the body”, and co-ed dorms will be ruled out. Co-ed dorms are a transAtlantic concept, but I guess what it means.

    Does this mean no contact after ‘lights out’? Are student not allowed to co-educate? Maybe the architecture told us all, and I was right about the militaristic tone of this place, despite the interesting syllabus.

    If so, it does not attract in the same way that my old college did.

    Can any of our liturgical litigators tell us more about ‘theology of the body’?


  15. manus says:

    Wally is beginning to sound like the “Nudge, Nudge” Monty Python sketch. Perhaps Wall Eyed is derived from “Woah, eh?” I think we should be told.


  16. toadspittle says:


    Toad thinks we should be told what kind of guns Marc has.

    “• Required courses for all students in a philosophy department centered on St. Thomas Aquinas.”

    That is, if Thomas says “It ain’t so”, it ain’t so.
    Or so we suppose.
    Very ‘liberal.’


  17. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Nobody expects the Nudge Nudge sketch.


  18. toadspittle says:


    “Ethics in Business,” is probably the shortest course on the planet.

    “• The compilation of the Benedictine College Values, a framed copy of which hangs in every classroom and staff department along with a crucifix.”

    Unaccounably failed to mention a reproduction of Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.”
    (For a bit o’ culture, innit?)


  19. Wall Eyed Mr Whippy says:

    Yes, T quite right, but the ‘Sunflowers’ print is of course in the foyer or lobby, beside the potted plants.

    I remember at school there was in a corridor a plaster statue of the Virgin Mary and, rotten little tykes that we were, we used to insert a cigarette end between her upraised fingers, suggesting a relaxed manner. This was our contribution to ‘art’.

    Yes Ethics is a short course to tick the box. They also include it at Harvard Business School but to date this only seems to have made things worse with the massive fraud/greed on Wall St, in London and other countries banks.

    Yes Italy next; Mr Bunga Bunga has done well. I don’t know why the Holy Father hasnt sent a bolt of lighning over Bunga’s way. Mind you, all this may pale into insignificance when compared with what’s brewing in the crazed Middle East, I am afraid to say. And we know that an economic crisis is handy when wars need to be launched. 1930s anyone?



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