For the past few years, due to COVID-19, the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica have had a more minimal presence on campus in order to protect their community and the residents of Dooley Center, their nursing care facility. Although the sisters who work at the college have remained on the job, other sisters are looking forward to being more involved again.
Prior to 1971, male students were educated by the monks at St. Benedict’s College and females were educated at Mount St. Scholastica College by the sisters’ monastery.
In 1971 the two colleges merged to become Benedictine College. When the colleges first merged, the school used both campuses with a bus system that ran between them.
In the mid-80s, Benedictine College moved all activities to the current college campus, property of the Benedictine monks. The sisters remained at the Mount and used their campus for other ministries, including a retreat center.
Where else might a student see the sisters? They speak as guests in a variety of classes, offer opening prayers at the Raven women’s athletic games, and participate in other campus events.
In addition to these activities, the sisters offer special benefits that are being re-incorporated into the lives of the Benedictine students.
These opportunities include spiritual direction, serving as Partners in Prayer for those interested in strengthening their relationships with God and the sisters, and a new program for environmental partnerships.
The sisters also offer a Wangari Committee sponsorship of Discover Day projects. After Wangari Matai passed away in 2011, her classmates of 1964 gave an endowment for education specifically in the environmental studies programs. Grants are given for projects in science and in women’s issues.
Further opportunities the sisters offer include individual and group volunteering, tours of their historic monastery, quiet places for students to study, the Sophia Retreat Center, daily vespers, and Sunday Mass.
Sister Loretta McGuire oversees volunteer opportunities at the Mount.
“There are volunteer opportunities galore. From gathering the fall harvest of walnuts and pecans, to raking leaves, pulling weeds, washing cars, visiting with the old and infirm,” Sr. Loretta said.
The sisters would like to re-introduce their presence to the new classes, as well as share the many opportunities that can be found at the Mount. They would like to create and maintain relationships with the students as they have done in the past.
“To maintain a relationship with our community is to come. Come share in our prayer, our Mass, and our meal; listen to the stories of who we are,” Sr. Loretta said. “I love having the students come and help me in volunteering and sharing our meals. It gives me life and I love hearing their story.”
This year, the sisters are celebrating 160 years in Atchison and invite everyone to join them in celebration on November 10th. This event will include a lantern lit procession from the Haverty Circle on the Benedictine campus to Mount Saint Scholastica to remember the night the sisters first came to Atchison.
The sisters were escorted to the monastery grounds, protected from those who opposed the Catholic Church and wanted to burn the sisters’ house down. The procession is to remember that hate and violence are still present in our world.
If you are interested in connecting with the sisters or learning more about them, visit their website at www.mountosb.org. Mass and vesper times are posted on their website.
Here are some contacts for specific activities: service volunteering – Give Pulse, or call Sister Loretta McGuire (913-426-0726); Prayer Partners – Sister Elizabeth Carrillo (email@example.com or 913-360-0556); spiritual direction: Sister Marcia Ziska (firstname.lastname@example.org or 913-370-3733).