Benedictine College Unveils New St. Scholastica Statue

Benedictine College Unveils New St. Scholastica Statue

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery commissioned a statue of St. Scholastica in commemoration of their sesquicentennial in Atchison and that statue was recently unveiled on the campus of Benedictine College. The event took place on Friday afternoon, October 17, and was incorporated into the 2014 Homecoming festivities. Dozens of Sisters were in attendance, along with students, faculty and staff of the college.

“This is a significant event on our campus,” said Benedictine College President Stephen D. Minnis. “Thanks to the Benedictine Sisters, we have this statue to remind all those who pray, study, teach, and work here at Benedictine College of the life of this holy woman, and her influence on generations of women and men through her life of prayer and trust in God.”

The ceremony included a song to St. Scholastica written by S. Diana Seago, OSB. The St. Scholastica Schola led the song and those in the audience joined in.

“We had the words in the program because we wanted everyone to join us in the song,” said S. Diana, who was in attendance.

“Today we welcome the statue of our patroness, St. Scholastica, the twin sister of Benedict, who is up the hill,” said S. Anne Shepard, OSB, prioress of Mount St. Scholastica. “You’ll note her arm is extended toward the campus as she greets her brother and all who are welcomed on the campus.”

The bronze statue by sculptor Bill Hopen joins several other works by the artist in St. Scholastica Plaza, the area between Elizabeth Hall and the Dining Hall. His sculpture of Wangari Maathai, the late Nobel Peace Laureate who graduated from the college in 1964, is nearby, along with the bronze gathering of a Benedictine Sister and two students as well as the bas relief on Elizabeth Hall of the Sisters arriving in Atchison in 1863.

Hopen studied painting at Lehman College, a branch of the City University of New York, and is largely self-taught as a sculptor. In the mid-1970s, he moved from Manhattan to Sutton, West Virginia, to be closer to the West Virginia hardwoods and stone he used in his early carvings. Later in his career, he devoted himself largely to sculpture cast in lead crystal, bronze, and other metals. Today, his works appear in government buildings, museums, churches, and hospitals across the nation and around the world.

“It’s wonderful to be here and share this beautiful Homecoming day and it’s a bit of a homecoming for me, too,” said Hopen. “When I first came here 14 years ago, it was to develop a concept for this space.  It was to be St. Scholastica Plaza and now, today, we have an image of St. Scholastica in this plaza.”

Student Government Association President Joey Jadlowski, a senior accounting major, read from the works of Pope St. Gregory the Great, who told the story of St. Scholastica and St. Benedict in his Dialogues, written in the sixth century. After the reading, senior Katie Lind joined the Schola for another hymn, then Abbot James Albers, of St. Benedict’s Abbey, and Sister Anne blessed the statue.

The ceremony ended with another verse of the Hymn to St. Scholastica, then photos and a reception. Not long after, the crowd broke up to watch the annual Homecoming parade.