SLIDESHOW: Surprised in El Salvador, Grateful in Guatemala, Blessed in Belize
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.
“Going to El Salvador was the beginning of new friendships!”
That’s what Kylie — class of 2020 at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas — said about her spring break mission trip to El Salvador.
At Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kansas, 36% of students go on a mission trip — a far higher proportion than at leading Catholic universities such as Notre Dame.
“We would simply wake up each day ready to adventure with the people, meet their needs, and serve them as the body of Christ,” said Kylie. The thing that surprised me was the El Salvadorians did the same for us. Their gratitude for our service was expressed in an overwhelmingly abundant hospitality which cultivated friendships in Christ.”
She added: “It was never all about us or all about them; rather, it was always all about Him — working together to glorify God. It was what we all brought to the table — native dances, skills to build houses, fresh fruit, laughter, a place to pray, memorizing one another’s names, and playing together. St. Oscar Romero, pray for us!”
Benedictine College’s 21 mission trips per year include domestic trips as well as trips to eight countries on four continents. Mission and Ministry is working to provide every Benedictine College student the opportunity to go on a mission trip during their time in college.
Another student described her group’s mission trip to Belize and Guatemala.
“More than anything this trip reminded me of how to be a human being, not a human doing.”
Adelaide ’21, was part of a group of students who spent their spring break on Mission in Belize and Guatemala.
“Every day started with a loose plan,” she said. “Whether that was painting, visiting with communities, praying, or being with each other. But our true aim was to be in tune with the Holy Spirit and to live in the moment. We had to trust that whoever and whatever was right in front of us was our vocation right then.
She added “My goal is to carry this attitude into all aspects of my life, and to live each moment with intentional love.”
Benedictine College promotes both the sacraments and service on campus, with three Masses daily, 29 weekly opportunities for confession and perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. Seven 21st century bishops are Benedictine College graduates, as well as many religious superiors and vocations directors. The college recently added a Catechesis and Evangelization major and many graduates serve as missionaries or enter the seminary or religious life after leaving Benedictine.
Benedictine College is the birthplace of FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students and the Hunger Coalition, in which hundreds of students skip a meal on Wednesday to pay for lunches that they make and deliver them to homes. Through Benedictine College’s Service Learning Office and other programs, students serve throughout the Kansas City area.