Benedictine College Goes Big to Celebrate St. Teresa of Calcutta
Benedictine College will unveil a new statue of the saint and light campus buildings and fountains blue as part of an 11-day celebration of the canonization of Mother Teresa early this school year.
Aug. 26 – Mother Teresa’s Birthday; birthday cake in the Dining Hall and Freshman Alpha Retreat with Mother Teresa focus.
Aug. 27 – Mother Teresa’s Baptismal Day; block party, campus buildings and fountains will be lit blue in honor of Mother Teresa until her first feast day.
Aug. 30 – All-School Mass and Convocation featuring Dr. Michael Boland, a neurosurgeon whose missionary service in Guatemala follows in Mother Teresa’s footsteps, and Father Nathan Haverland, an alumnus priest.
Aug. 31 – Mother Teresa movie shown on campus.
Sept. 2 – At 11:30 a.m., Mother Teresa Statue unveiled in front of the Mother Teresa Center for Nursing and Health Education. Fr. Meinrad Miller, OSB, will receive the “Do Something Beautiful for God” Award.
Sept. 4 – Mother Teresa’s Canonization Day. Students at Benedictine College’s Florence campus will attend the canonization. Watch party in Kansas.
Sept. 5 – Mother Teresa’s feast day; four Masses on campus.
Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis said Mother Teresa has been important to the college.
“Mother Teresa is a key model for our students, combining commitment to the faith and service to others,” he said. “We are proud of the impact her life, message and visit made on Benedictine College.”
Mother Teresa visited the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery in Atchison on June 9 and 10, 1981, when Benedictine College operated a South Campus at the Mount. While in Atchison, she said, “I beg you to give Jesus to the young people in your care.”
Father Meinrad Miller, OSB, a longtime chaplain and theology instructor at Benedictine College, has given seminars to the Missionaries of Charity since 2008. He said recognizing Mother Teresa’s life is important to students.
“Celebrating Mother Teresa reminds us of the link between each of us and with Jesus,” he said. “When we forget about Christ, we also tend to forget about mercy: the mercy God shows us; and the acts of mercy we in turn do for those around us, especially the poorest of the poor.”
He will be honored during the week on September 2 with the presentation of the award that is actually named for a quote from Mother Teresa, the “Do Something Beautiful for God” Award. Her quote was “Every day on awaking, my desire and my enthusiasm is this: today I must do something beautiful for God.” Fr. Meinrad will be honored for the help and guidance he has provided Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity over the years.
Dr. Stephen Mirarchi will accompany students to the canonization itself. “The Florence program is a time of intense growth–intellectually, socially, spiritually–and what better way to immerse oneself in the richness of the Church’s teachings than to assist at Mother Teresa’s Canonization Mass?” he said.
Denis Spahaj, an Albanian native who works at the college, presented a history of his country at the 2012 Rimini Meeting of Communion & Liberation. Mother Teresa loomed large in that presentation.
“We are aware that mother Teresa is not simply a daughter of Albania but a Mother of the world,” he said. “However, everyone has a starting point, and we feel proud and lucky that her homeland, with its noble traditions that have created favorable conditions, happened to be us. Thus, all Albanians feel part of this story.”
Mother Teresa’s impact on the college has included a number of initiatives. Benedictine College students volunteer each year to help the Missionaries of Charity serve the poor in St. Louis and Dr. Matthew Ramage has led student pilgrimages to Calcutta, India. In addition:
Hunger Coalition. Mother Teresa’s 1981 visit inspired the creation of the Hunger Coalition, which has continued ever since. Today, more than 400 students skip a meal each week to fund a program in which students deliver meals to the needy in Atchison every Saturday.
Mother Teresa Center. The statue of Mother Teresa will stand in front of the Mother Teresa Center for Nursing and Health Education. The center was dedicated on Mother Teresa’s 100th anniversary of birth on Aug. 26, 2010. Missionaries of Charity Superior General Sister M. Prema, MC, wrote a letter to Benedictine College granting permission for the naming of the building and Missionaries of Charity helped open the building. The center features large classrooms, a clinical skills lab, a high-fidelity simulation room, seven faculty offices, additional administrative offices, an area for practicing clinical assessment skills, and several computer labs and study areas for students.
‘Do Something Beautiful for God’ Award is the name of the college’s recognition for service to the needy.
The campus installed an original portrait called Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, by Dawna Gardner, an artist from Maine. The portrait was donated to the college by Stephen and Amy Minnis.
“I can think of no better model to give our nursing students and no better message to send them,” said President Minnis. “Every day, when our nursing students enter through those doors, they will see that beautiful image of Mother Teresa caring for a child and read the words: ‘Give your hands to serve and your hearts to love.’”
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.