Freshmen, Interrupted
Youngest Ravens Shelter at Home with Community in their Hearts

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Ava Hill

“Ava wanted a college where she could grow in her faith and share it,” said Laura Hill, whose daughter is a Benedictine College freshman from Colorado. “She saw that in Benedictine, but she also saw a community where students were enjoying a full, true college experience.”

Time and time again, the community aspect of Benedictine College is what sets it apart. There is a concerted effort on the part of the faculty, staff, and students to ensure that each new Raven has every opportunity to become immersed in that community. Those bonds formed by these young Ravens were tested this semester, as a return to life on campus after spring break became impossible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Ava truly misses the school for so many reasons. But the people and the spiritual support are a couple of the main reasons,” said Laura, who reports Ava has found some degree of connection to her Benedictine community through participating in the daily Mass being streamed by the Monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey.

While the residential part of the Benedictine College experience is on temporary hiatus, the academic portion is in full swing, with courses being continued through online learning technology. The college also used social media, emails, telephone conversations, and a twist on the traditional college care package (with the college sending goodies to home, instead of the other way around) to let Ravens know that there still is a community that loves them and eagerly awaits their return in the fall.

“We love the personal communication,” wrote the mother of a Raven freshman from California in response to an email checking in on students. “We are so blessed to have chosen Benedictine. Thank you for taking the time to check on us.”

It’s true that parents weren’t expecting to see their students home this early. But in a way, these new arrangements have given families an early look at what being a part of the Raven community has meant in the lives of their first-year students.

“Maria misses her school environment very, very much,” said the mother of a Raven freshman from Missouri. “Benedictine was shaping and molding her, and she has grown so much since she began there.”

“Caroline has come home with a deepened and renewed faith,” said the same mother from California. “As disappointed as she is to not be able to go back to school now, she is dealing with it like an adult.”

Benedictine College cannot ask for anything more than that. Even the youngest of Ravens have taken what they’ve learned within this community of faith and scholarship and used it to press on through tough times. The lamp still burns bright on the hill in Atchison, Kansas, and it will be there to guide the Ravens home when the time is right.