Why I love Saint Ben's
The Bennie sisterhood is 20,000 alumnae strong. Each Bennie has played a part in making Saint Ben's a place like no other. Here are a few of your stories about your favorite Saint Ben's experiences.
I love that as each day passes after graduation, I still feel - to the same incredible degree - a strong connection to this outstanding community. Once a Bennie, always a Bennie.
Jennie Olson '11
In 2007 I spent the summer of my life at St. Ben's as an exchange student from Germany. The foundress of St. Benedict's Monastery, Mother Benedicta, was born and raised in my Bavarian hometown Waal. Thus the Sisters enabled me to come and study in Minnesota for about two months. I just loved the place. The college was so very different from my school at home. The teachers (especially Larry Davis!) did actually care about their students and the (small!) classes were so interesting and inspiring. But what made my stay there so very special was the fact that I felt so very welcome there. People helped me with all different kinds of stuff and I was invited all the time. I definitely made friends for life there. Now I'm working in education and advise students who want to go to the U.S.
P.S. We had a few visitors from St. Ben's already and if you should ever be in or around Munich, you're so very welcome in Waal as well!
I didn't just learn at CSB, I learned HOW to learn. The women I met in classes,the residential halls, and activities are now my best friends and role-models. The faculty are inspiring and devoted to their students. I love Saint Ben's not only for what it gave me during those 4 years, but what it continues to give me everyday.
Anna Burgason '10
St. Bens was definitely my home away from home. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to intern in the Campus Recreation department this year for my graduate program, and everyday I'm back, I feel at home again. I couldn't be more thankful to be part of a community and alumni of wonderful people who will always have each other's back like sisters <3
Kelsey Ivancich '10
For four outstanding years, I walked the beautiful campus and never felt untouched by the smiles and warm greetings that came my way on every outing.
Laura Holton Hendrickson '02
Saint Ben's is . . . a welcoming, vibrant place, filled with energy, excitement, challenge and opportunity. I treasure the life-long friends I made! My love of learning was nurtured at Saint Ben's and has been a gift to me. Since graduation, I have continued to meet amazing women who experienced Saint Ben's both before and after me - women who have become my mentors, cheerleaders and friends - I am grateful, and proud to be a part of this tremendous sisterhood!
Laura Kelly Lovdahl '85
I LOVE Saint Ben's because I learned how to become aware of what I loved: The love of LEARNING+ the love of NATURE+ and my love of Johnnies and Bennies everywhere! The CSB Experience=Love
Nicole Wagner Steele '96
I love St. Ben's because of the wonderful experience I had and the lifelong friends I made. I find myself telling CSB stories to the students I work with and I have been lucky to see two students in the last two years, not only attend CSB themselves, but thrive there. There is a magic to St. Ben's that is unique and special and I am so grateful for my time there. If I had the chance to do it all again, I would in a heartbeat! I love you CSB!
Hayley Berrisford '10
A. I married a Bennie. Couldn't have done it without CSB.
B. The BAC was my home away from home.
C. The home of the outstanding sisters I had as teachers grades 1-16.
Bob Dinndorf, SJU '75
I love the warmth and the community at St Bens. My experience at St Bens helped me have the confidence to pursue my dreams.
Marcia Meredith '79
St. Ben's is a place where I have been able to embrace my roots, expand my horizons and find myself as a woman and as a bennie. This place is a community where you stay for 4 years but are welcomed back for a lifetime. Professors genuinely care about your success. The Benedictine Values become a part of who you are and as you continue on into the world, you share these with the people around you.
Kelsey Swenson '13
I love St. Ben's because I have been exposed to opportunities I never could have imagined for myself. St. Ben's gives me the ability to live, learn, love, lead, and laugh here; I could not ask for anything better.
Stephanie Pinkalla '14
Being a faculty kid, St. Ben's was part of my life from birth. I have loved all the adventures it has provided me from youth sport camps to little sibs weekends, sports, study abroad, friendships and my future. My life would not be the same without all the experiences St. Ben's provided me and will continue to provide me. I love St. Ben's because the saying is true, once a Bennie always a Bennie. My life will continue to flourish because I am a Bennie.
Susan Sass '10
Although I knew St. Ben's was the perfect college for me at a young age, it exceeded all my expectations! I am still amazed at how much it helped me shape my life, challenged me to be my best, and provided me the community of support as I approach any new adventure. Living in Philadelphia now, I don't run into Bennies too often, but there really is something unique and special about being part of a community in spirit even if not in person. I love being a Bennie!
Patty Allen Capkin '06
The students, the faculty, the religious and the staff were all so genuine. Everyone was there for the common experience of learning, loving, and serving. We celebrated each other. I guess that is fitting with the Benedictine traditions. It is a place that makes your soul feel uplifted, and believe that all things are possible. I think of my time at St. Bens with the greatest joy in my heart.
Patricia Chabot Hughes '85
As soon as I received the brochure in the mail, I knew I was going to be a Bennie and CSB was the only school I applied to. My friendships, my experiences, my time in Salzburg, they all shaped me into the person I am today. I love the fact that I am still part of this wonderful community!!
Kelli Birk '91
I love St. Ben's because they are concerned with both truth and justice. I have frequently reviewed the many things I learned there and I still put them into practice.
Charlotte Schneider Donovan '54
I love Saint Ben's because of all the wonderful, eager, and successful women working together to make our world a better place!
Diane Beckius '13
I value the fact that my gifts and talents as a scholar, an athlete, and a woman were affirmed and strengthened by the faculty of St. Ben's and St. John's. The College of St. Benedict is so special because of the amazing women of its past, its present, and its future. There is a thread of service and compassion that runs through Bennies and defines them. St. Ben's women make a difference in the world.
Patty Oaster Mraz '80
I love St. Ben's because of the amazing community! I always felt like a friend was near, whether a floor-mate, professor, or Sister. I loved the unique atmosphere of the monastery being on campus and the Sisters being a part of our lives during college. St. Ben's taught me what it means to be proud to be a woman and gave me a sense of empowerment and feeling of belonging with other women.
Emily Persichetti Schuster '09
I love Saint Bens because this magical amazing place gave me self-esteem, instilled in me the idea that I can be anything I want to be and to dream the dreams and go on to live them; I love Saint Bens because it was a turning point in my life and nurtured a strong faith in God. After years of public education, Saint Bens truly introduced me to the Catholic faith and made me proud to be Catholic. Unlike others who have written, I do not stay in touch with my Bennie friends. But I carry them in my heart: Sue, Anne, Carol, Mary, Connie, Beth . . . . I cannot name you all, but I love you and think of you often. I also love Saint Bens for the great fiestas!! Abrazos, y gracias
Mary Kramer '85
What made St. Ben's so special for me was the close relationship with the monastery that existed at that time. I have no idea whether that is the same for everyone, but, because of the Benedictine nuns and the times that I spent with them in prayer, at mealtimes, and socially, I have felt for my entire life that St. Ben's was my second home. The development of the whole woman was emphasized in the curriculum core that was part of our classes. The powerful female role models that I found there left a lasting impression on me that time has not erased. I left St. Ben's feeling like a "super woman" and I have continued through my adult life feeling the power of the feminine gender to incur change. And THAT'S why I love St. Ben's!
Leann Zins Enninga '76
I LOVE St. Ben's because there is no other place like it in the world. No other place where you can feel so free to be yourself, be unique, and be a part of something bigger.
Caitlin Conlon '12
Everyone who is hired to guide the students along their way does so with a caring and loving heart. The students look at each other as real people, not for the illusions so many people live by. There are a lot of loving people on this campus, and that's the most wonderful environment in which to grow and learn.
Tara Grosso '13
St. Ben's is where I became the woman I was meant to be.
Laura Nezworski '03
Friendships made (both students and faculty) that continue to enrich my life. Vital critical thinking skills that have helped me to excel in graduate programs and employment. Well-rounded education that allowed me to jump smoothly from music to nursing (and also the imagination to dream of a career that combines the two). Legacy of service and social justice.
Stephanie Burgess '05
I love the cohesion and teamwork of strong, women leaders that separates St. Ben's from every other school in the country. Seeing all the positive energy on campus and having a support system that pushes you to be the best person you can be makes all the difference in the world. Good luck to Stephanie Hall and all of those other Bennies working their way to graduation and changing the world! XOXO
Samuela Patnoe '11
What does Saint Ben's mean to me? Strong and intelligent women, wonderful professors and mentors, lifelong friendships, wonderful memories, and preparing future leaders. I am so grateful for my education and experiences at St. Ben's - thank you!
Shellie Kieke '95
It's a peaceful place where I remember that God is with us. The bells are a helpful reminder, too!
Maria Gau Bavier '10
One of the many reasons why I "LOVE" St. Ben's is because it is there that I learned the priceless value of friendships with women, and it is there that I learned the importance of developing friendships with women throughout my life time. While I have been happily married for 27 years and am grateful I have a special "Valentine", I treasure my friendships with my girlfriends, including those special friendships which found their roots over 30 years ago at CSB!
MaryBeth "Boe" Frankman Rossiter '78
The incredible Bennie alumnae network- Bennies help Bennies and there is nothing like running into an unexpected red CSB sweatshirt at the mall, the airport, or along Nicollet Ave! The community extends beyond the limits of St. Joe into life beyond the years spent as a student. I love St. Ben's.
Ashley Ver Burg '10
In the warm smiles and big hearts of the three Bennies in the picture, I see the warmth and caring of my sisters who are alums, and many, many Bennie friends....my best to all the special women in the class of '80! When I see a College of St. Benedict bumper sticker I feel that bond, and know the driver and I have a special shared experience and would have much to talk about! I'm very proud of my education, and how St. Ben's has grown over the years. Here's to the next chapter for all of us Bennies!
Ann Giebel Fisher '80
I love St. Ben's because it will forever be the foundation of who I am today. My lifetime friends are my bennie friends, even after 25 years. My faith, my values and my strength all came from my four years at CSB.
Pam Morrow Zender '87
I LOVE St. Ben's for many many reasons. It was my home for 4 years and still feels like a home away from home. Living on campus for 4 years really made it feel like a tight knit community. I met so many wonderful people and formed lifelong friendships. My professors, advisors and RA's were always around to help guide me and answer questions when I needed. The experiences (study abroad in Ireland, alternative spring break in Missouri, JEC, etc.) really made me who I am and helped me grow up to face the "real world"
Stacy Wurm '06
I loved Saint Ben's because it was a place where I could explore all sorts of things; not just my major, but my other interests as well. I studied, played sports, sang in the choir and had the time of my life with friends. I even got to coach at Saint Ben's! Now, Looking back, I also love it because it introduced me to a community where I have worked for nearly the entirety of my working life. Once I came here, I never wanted to leave. I love the CSBSJU community!
Kris Gorman Fremo '96
I love Saint Ben's because the critical thinking skills you learn through a liberal arts education truly make you globally competitive.
Bethany Heinzen Robicheaux '05
I love that when I meet another Bennie we are instantly connected! The community of Bennies is such a great support system and network.
Emily Felton Pearson '06
The opportunities I've had, the people I've met- all would've been impossible without St. Ben's. St. Ben's shaped my identity, challenged and encouraged my self-discovery, and was in a word- AMAZING.
Thank you St. Ben's!
Jennie Olson '11
From the first moment I stepped onto the CSB campus, I saw the Rule of St. Benedict in action. It was visitors' day and I was a junior in high school. My friend and I had also visited St. Kate's, but were immediately impressed by the hospitality shown us by everyone--even strangers on the sidewalk--at St. Ben's. When I officially became a Bennie, I never felt like a number. I always felt like the staff cared about my success in all aspects of my life. With all of the changes involved with college life, the staff/faculty at St. Ben's helped me feel centered and focused.
Michelle Paripovich Thompson '91
Just hearing someone talk about or refer to St. Bens puts a smile on my face. Transferring to St. Bens my sophomore year was one of the best decisions of my life. The education I received through the faculty, staff and fellow students couldn't have been better. I miss St. Bens every day and I treasure every moment I experienced on campus.
The community and "family" I made is amazing and it is something I will take with me throughout my life. Bennies and Johnnies forever!
Kelsey Ivancich '10
I LOVE that at St. Ben's, I created an extended family of friends, professors and monastics. St. Ben's helped me to define and explore my self, and has forever changed the way I view that self in relation to those around me.
Chris Beckstrand-Schafer '10
I LOVE St. Ben's because it made me feel at home, introduced me to so many amazing people, and taught me it was okay to take risks and believe in myself as a woman leader.
Katie Schneider '10
I love Saint Ben's because it is a place where I made many friendships that have continued to grow even when we are living all across the world. The professors who shared their wisdom and passion with me I still meet up with and we continue to share in each other's lives. That is the most valuable thing I have taken with me.
Megan Van Loh '10
I love CSB for so many reasons, the wonderful profs, the beautiful campus, football games in the fall and snow days, reading by the lake, and hanging out in the BAC till the late hours of the night. Knowing all of my professors on a first name basis, study abroad, the sweet lunch ladies that was make the best tater tots. Long hours in the library being kept awake by the coffee from Clemens perk, and the beautiful music coming from Esher.
But above all I love the people I have met there. My friends that I made there are the people I know will be with me for the rest of my life whether we are in the same city or not. Bennies have challenged me to try new things and think outside of the box, to love everything and everyone I meet and to know that it's okay to be scared or lost. From random dancing in someone's room before an audition or coming home way to late from St. Joe. They will always be there to give me a hug, some chocolate and remind me that I am a beautiful woman who has so much to offer the world and that I should never ever stop doing just that. So thank you Bennies and Johnnies a like. You were the reason the last four years were some of the best of my life, that my education was as amazing as it was and that at the end of the day you helped make me into someone that I am proud to be.
Meredith Godsall '11
The vision that Mother Benedicta (Sister Benedicta Riepp) had continues to thrive in 2012.
The "lamps continue to burn" and I love the spirit of the Benedictine Rule that is present for all to learn and live. I am thrilled that the College maintains an academic excellence that allows my great niece Alice Closmore to experience the best. I am grateful for the attention St. Benedict's give to the arts and environment. My friendships which include the wonderful religious in the Monastery continue to inspire, challenge and comfort me. I love all that St. Benedict's was in the 1800's, 1900's and years bringing us to today. Congratulations!
Martha Otto Honer '64
I met my Johnnie and, together, we know about Benedictine values and we have tried to use them as a guide in life. I also treasure the memories of the many Benedictine sisters who were my mentors and the genuine friendships I shared with very special people...the most memorable, my roommate and still my best friend, Donna Coyne Rajkowski.
Lois LeVasseur Liners '46
I treasure my experience at St. Ben's more and more with each day that I spend away from campus. I had such a close connection to the student body and we experienced a unique sense of place that is unforgettable. The relationships I cultivated on campus are still so important to me. I am a socially conscious citizen because of the well-rounded education I received at CSB and I know the benefits of my education there will only continue to grow!
Emily Masters '11
I love Saint Ben's because of all of the leadership opportunities I have received while studying here. I have grown a great deal and learned a lot because of them. Also, studying abroad was probably the best thing that ever happened to me - thanks Saint Ben's!
Rebecca Gross '12
I love the real community spirit centered in Benedictine spirituality and hospitality. At St. Ben's there is a real respect for the dignity of each person that lifts up the dignity of women. Women are taught about community, faith, service, justice, etc., not just by what is offered but by how it is lived on campus. The education of the whole person is important to St. Ben's. I also love hearing from Catholic school principals how they love having new teachers from St. Ben's and St. John's because "they get it," i.e., the sense of community, spirituality and service and justice that they can model to the students. The college also continues to grow and improve academically. I am very proud to be associated with St. Ben's, both yesterday as an alum and today as it continues to grow.
Mary Ann Marschall '00
A great tradition to be a part of. The flights of stairs in the main to the nursing department were always trips of excitement, okay maybe not on test day, but always exciting to be with classmates learning about our similar passion. Often I find myself thinking about sitting in that classroom. What a great experience.
Patrick Murray '01
Possibly no where else in the real world is there a place so nurturing, affirming, filled with kindness, strength, and a good sense of humor.
I love Saint Ben's for teaching me how to connect with each person I meet by identifying what is most important to that individual and fostering that value.
Jeannie Bykowski Kenevan '98
The reason I love Saint Ben's is because this is the place where I learned the power of reflection. In order to maintain that essential balance, or the benedictine value of 'moderation', one must truly know how to reflect. I learned so much about myself throughout my four short years at Saint Ben's, and this is the most important of all I took away with me.
Tiana Woitas '11
Saint Ben's is so special because as soon as I walk on campus I feel at home. There is such a strong community feeling and everyone is so welcoming. I have just began my journey here and have already made lifelong friends. I know the education I am receiving is one of the very best and I am excited to continue on. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to go to such a great school with such amazing people.
Danielle Vanderhyde '15
Saint Ben's was a wonderful experience for me because everyone was so welcoming and friendly. As an international student Minnesota, the weather and culture were new for me. There were so many amazing resources and people readily available to help me feel comfortable. All the events on campus and campus groups kept me busy even after classes.
Meera Ginnelle Mansingh Wiest '09
Being away from home the first time, St. Ben's made it feel like I never left home. Everyone was so warm and inviting - just what a Freshman 1,000 miles away from home needed.
The thing that struck me and sticks with me to this day is the Benedictan community. They helped me find my faith again and made it that much stronger.
The friendships I made during my time at St. Ben's will always be cherished and continue to this day. From riding the last bus back from St. John's to the late nights up talking and trying to figure out what life is all about, St. Ben's and everyone I met there helped form the person I am today.
I am very grateful for the experience (both the good and the bad) I had in attending St. Ben's and would not trade it for the world.
Margaret Herdina Lynch '98
My Saint Ben's experience was exceptional because the Benedictine nuns (and monks)and the community they built ground and based our education in something solid: Two thousand years of Catholic tradition in a modern ecumenical faith community. Training in chemistry, biology, nursing and teaching, travel abroad and community service all grew out of a history of service and dedication to something greater and deeper than money and success: God as the nuns and monks quietly manifested God to us.
Mary Voight Voight '80
When I attended St. Ben's to continue my education, I worked outside the home, and was married with 2 daughters. In the campus environment, I experienced new challenges, but felt the peace and quiet beauty of the surroundings. I was granted respect, saw the enthusiasm for learning, and enjoyed opening myself to new opportunities. I felt empowered.
Life experience demands a global view and understanding, and I found this to be a major focus at St. Ben's. My knowledge was expanded, along with my view of humankind. The core values, trust, commitment, hospitality, integrity, respect, and service were demonstrated daily. I was so proud when my daughter decided to pursue her education at St. Ben's. That is why I give back. Thank you.
Elaine Prom '96
St. Ben's was a wonderful second home that nurtured and empowered me to discover and learn more about who I was and about the world around us!! My study aboard to Salzburg was a life experience I will always cherish!! St. Ben's will always be a special place filled with memories and a future of continued experiences.
Janel Halverson Goff '91
I loved the cultural opportunities that were offered. I loved being able to attend the various dance troupe performances as well as many other musical type performances. The events were conveniently located right on campus and were a nice thing to with friends as a study break.
Anne Feess Lundstrom '89
I love St. Ben's because it feels like home. Every time I visit campus, I feel like I never left because I am still surrounded by smiling faces and wonderful memories. St. Ben's is where I blossomed into adulthood, learning the beauty and joy of being a woman. It's a gift I treasure every day.
Maria Stanek Burnham '01
I LOVE Saint Ben's for many reasons. I LOVE that Saint Ben's was my home and comfort for four years. I LOVE that my classmates, the faculty and monastery were like family and an amazing source of strength, support and knowledge. I LOVE that the friendships I developed at Saint Ben's have continued into adulthood - we are all strong, amazing women. I LOVE that no matter where I go in life, if I meet a fellow Bennie, there is an instant connection. I LOVE that my degree is more than just a "degree" - it's a symbol of my development & growth as a woman, a remembrance of where my friendships were forged, a monumental part of my history. I'm a Bennie at heart.
Katie Kaproth '01
Saint Ben's allowed me to discover what it meant to be a woman surrounded by other powerful women. There are many things in this world that are male dominated. Living exclusively with females and enjoying social interactions solely with females helped me realize how GREAT we can be when we work together! Being surrounded by women empowered me to make decisions I maybe would not have made at a typical co-educational college. I never felt judged for wanting to learn, explore and discover what things awaited me in the future. I was up at Saint Ben's just this last weekend and while walking around, I could feel that sense of electricity in the air; women propelling other women to take a chance and become more than they thought they could be. I wouldn't trade my experience for the world!
Jennifer Bruns Meyers '03
Saint Ben's has been the best place to spend the last four years of my life for so many reasons but most importantly, Saint Ben's has allowed me to develop the most impacting and meaningful relationships I could have ever hoped for in my young adult life. It isn't emphasized enough how inspiring this community, and the people who inhabit it, truly are. I have grown in faith, in global perspective, in worth ethic, and in so many other notable ways that I owe to this place, but most profoundly I have grown from the support of my peers who inspire me every single day.
Jenny Wesser '11
I love the fact that I get just as excited talking about Saint Ben's today as a decade ago when I was a student. Saint Ben's nourished my natural desire to lead, while coaching me on how to gracefully follow others when the time is right.
Sarah Halverson Jansen '02
When I was a freshman, Saint Ben's was a convent school during World War II. Dayhops rode the Bennie Bus, a few of us catching it at the railroad tracks near Matthew Hall Lumber after early mass in St. Mary's crypt. Crowded in, some of us standing, we crossed over the old Sauk River bridge, arriving at the college entry just in time for 8:00 a.m. classes. We ate our noon meal together, family style. And in late afternoon, if we were hungry, we could buy a square of frosted chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a nickel. We read books on reserve in the quiet library, hurrying to finish the assigned pages before boarding the bus for the long ride home. We drank jasmine tea from china cups while discussing our writing in our professor's study. Survey courses were frowned on. We read primary sources, sometimes only managing to finish one a semester - The Devine Comedy, Paradise Lost, Samson Agonistes, Canterbury Tales, Crime and Punishment, and The Congressional Record. Classes were small - there were only two of us in Medieval Latin. Neglecting to study was not a viable option. Biology classes trooped through the convent woods with their professor looking for specimens. The sisters watched over us; do it right or do it over. The life of our minds and hearts was serious business. In 1948, 45 of us graduated - a large class by convent school standards. Many of us are still friends today, close also to the sisters, sometimes having taken classes years later from the very sisters who trained us. Why do we love Saint Ben's? It is hard to count the ways.
Mary Pluth Palmquist '48
It's more than just a great education. The life lessons, experiences, and values we are exposed to are priceless.
Kayla Scheerle '12
I love Saint Bens because I can rely on my fellow Bennies to help with anything I need. The community feeling at Saint Bens is so wonderful and friendly!
Tara Maas '14
I love Saint Ben's because it provides a truly genuine college experience. We have the opportunity to attend a college where we are empowered to strive for our highest goals proudly as women. We are shaped through the academic and personal opportunities that Saint Ben's provides. With our partnership with Saint John's, Saint Ben's provides the chance for strong, lasting relationships with both the women and men in this community. With a smaller campus, Saint Ben's really becomes your home where your friends, fellow peers, and professors all support you.
Kirsti Klaverkamp '13
I love Saint Ben's for all of the opportunities I have had during my four years here. One of the major reasons I chose to attend Saint Ben's was because of their study abroad program. Last year I was able to spend the semester in London. It was such an amazing semester and I am so happy I was able to share it with 21 other amazing students.
Emily Dobesh '11
I love Saint Ben's because of the feeling of belonging and "coming home" that I get every time I arrive on campus.
Laurie Gebhardt Rieb '80
I love Saint Ben's because of the many opportunities they offer. Because of my major, I don't get to study abroad for a semester, but instead I will be visiting 3 countries in my time here through ABE and short term study abroad opportunities that are offered. So, even though I'm required to be on campus every semester, I will still receive a global education because of the many opportunities they offer!
Stephanie Hall '13
I love being immersed in the Benedictine tradition while receiving an incredibly unique and inspiring education! Saint Ben's offers so many amazing opportunities such as study abroad and alternative break trips-it's difficult to find something NOT to love!!!
Christine Schneider '13
I love Saint Ben's because of the amazing people, the inspirational faculty, the life changing courses, and the unique community Saint Ben's provides for its Bennies.
Rachel Mullin '14
I love Saint Ben's because it offered me so many opportunities and introduced me to friends I will have for a lifetime!
Hayley Berrisford '10
I love Saint Ben's because...
Some of my most important lifelong friendships began there.
My mom and I share the Saint Ben's experience.
My husband, dad, and brother all share the very similar Saint John's experience.
The knowledge that woman of the Monastery always keep us top of mind and close to their hearts.
My educational experience rivals or exceeds all others.
I was exposed to the life-altering 1987 Salzburg and 1989 Weimar study abroad experiences.
I am able to continue to be connected with and supportive of this extraordinary place for the woman who were there before me, and who are following after me.
Susan Wolkerstorfer Hommes '89
Saint Ben's taught me how to become my own person. I have grown more as an individual in the past four years than at any other time in my life. The extraordinary people, incredible friendships I have developed, beautiful setting, and rigorous academics, have all played a tremendous role in shaping the person I am today and I feel will continue to guide my life path and the decisions and impacts that I make.
Beatrice Zovich '11
I love Saint Ben's because it planted me firmly in the world and strengthened my roots in my faith, values, relationships, and career and life long hopes and dreams.
Valerie Jones '94
What's not to love? Saint Ben's has a faculty, staff and administration dedicated to providing women the very best liberal arts education possible. You need to look no further than the college's outstanding students and alums to know that this dedication is paying off. Bennies are extraordinary, amazing and wonderful! I love Saint Ben's!
Lynn Newman '79
The amazing people I've met. I love everyday that I'm here. The Saint Ben's campus is like a tight-knit community. I feel comfortable, safe, and at-home here. Everyone is always more than willing to help in anyway that they can. I've never been someplace where every person is so nice. What I value most about my education is that my degree will prepare me even more for my future. I value the small classrooms and the helpful teachers.
Nikki Olson '12
Saint Ben's has been an invaluable experience, providing me with an opportunity to grow, learn, and be challenged in all aspects of my life. Saint Ben's is special because it brings together students, faculty, staff, and monastic members under one roof. This creates a special community, and with St. Ben's unique partnership with St. John's, students express their ideas and share their talents together. We learn from and with one another, we leave behind a legacy, and carry forward a tradition.
Katie Kenefick '11
I love Saint Ben's because of the family of Bennies and Johnnies I'm still a part of after graduation. I love the beautiful fall days, football games, Sister Angelo, Caf food, making myself comfortable and spending whole days at the library, living on campus, concerts at Brother Willies, the chapel, the alumnae connection, and how everyone holds the door for everyone even though we're all fully capable :) I love Saint Ben's because it is a gathering place for wonderful people.
Jaime Streine '09
Saint Ben's was my way to access the big world out there when I came in as an 18-year-old farm kid from Stearns County who'd never been further. I was exposed to people and ideas as well as opportunities to travel and learn. All of this was presented in a true community of caring people. Saint Ben's at the same time valued intelligence and creativity and I still feel the energy and excitement when I come back to visit today. I felt there were no limits to what I could do and that keeps me going even today when I face a new challenge.
Lois Thielen '76
Vicki Hassing Rothstein '81
I LOVE Saint Ben's because of the feeling of community that we had there.
Stephanie Rothstein '09
I love Saint Ben's because I was able to receive a wonderful education, while making friends that became family. My experience at Saint Ben's is something that has shaped me for the rest of my life.
Joy Pohland '10
The faculty and staff of Saint Ben's instilled in me a sense of worth and confidence that remains with me today. I was encouraged in leadership roles in liturgy which urged me to pursue my MA at Saint John's. Saint Ben's gave me the opportunity to make friends who are still among my closest and best. I'm happy to hear that the college continues to be "today's place for tomorrow's women!"
Bev Hahn Cote '74
I LOVE Saint Ben's because they took me back graciously, whole heartedly, and without question. I began my studies at CSB as a nursing major. After a rough experience working in a hospital I decided nursing might not be for me. I explored my other major choices at CSB, and decided to leave my junior year and attend another university. I was miserable. Don't get me wrong, my grades were good, and the classes interesting; however, I was just another student in the crowd. I no longer was Christine, a short, sassy blond. I was one of 500 students in an auditorium. I longed for my small, personal classes at CSB. After finishing my year at the other university, I called and spoke with admissions. Not only did they accept me back in, but they rewarded me with my scholarship, allowing me to enter back my senior year and graduate with my original classmates. I was accommodated with an individualized major, so I could continue my studies in criminology, but stay at Saint Ben's. I was very fortunate to have my experience!
Christine Sullivan Althaus '02
I loved all the women I went to school with and how they and the atmosphere at Saint Ben's helped me to become the woman I am today.
Heidi Skundberg Kram '95
I love the rural atmosphere - being able to play soccer on the edge of the woods, go for a run on a country road, walk the trail to the chapel and row on Lake Sag. I love the sacred, holy, setting that the nuns and monks create through their peaceful presence, their singing, church services, examples of service, and their teaching. I love the sense of community where people care about you and remember you when you come back years later as an alum. I love all the study abroad programs and how the colleges have made this so possible for so many students.
Katie Regnier Mortenson '92
I LOVE Saint Ben's for all the opportunities it provided me: semester abroad in South Africa, professors who genuinely cared about my educational experience, roommates and friends who are still around long after graduation...
Kenna Caughey Dooley '04
The campuses are beautiful, the profs informative and friendly, and the friendships I formed long lasting. I have only great memories from my time on campus and abroad in Ireland.
Jessica Haidet Hill '03
I love Saint Ben's because it provided me with an excellent, unique education with memories and skills that last a lifetime.
Megan Sand Carr '06
The amazing friendships that were forged during our four years at Saint Ben's are lifelong. Today on Valentine's Day 8 of us girls exchanged emails of love and friendship and fond memories of our cheesiest Valentine's Day. Most of these occurred during out time at Saint Ben's! These girls are a strength in my life and despite the fact that we span from the west coast to the east coast they are always just an email or phone call away. Once a year (and sometimes even more often) we gather together to tell stories and reflect upon the past, laugh, listen and love one another. I feel blessed and lucky to have them in my life!
Kristi Macht '01
I LOVE that I met some of the most amazing people at Saint Ben's. I am fortunate enough to have lived with 4 other Bennies my Junior and Senior year and we have remained such close friends even after graduation. Friendships that last throughout the years are rare and I feel blessed to have met my four best friends at Saint Ben's. That sense of community and caring for one another that Saint Ben's has is one of a kind and felt by many!
Alexandra Topp '09
Work, study, and prayer plus a host of great friends --- all of these marked our years at CSB-SJU.
Since our first days on campus in the fall of 1971 I still count my college friends among my most beloved relationships --- Joan, Kathleen, Kelly, Bonnie, Jo and Jill and many others. And our hallway neighbor, chaplain Fr. Ken Irrgang, now 82, is still inspiring all of us. Can you imagine it --- a priest living in an apartment complex with a bunch of college-aged women? It was a more trusting era! He was a great neighbor and a voice for social justice and church reform. More than anything, my career in social services administration grew from my student work assignment as administrative aide to the Dean of Students. S. Grace Donovan was a multi-tasking, no-nonsense, get-the-job-done leader. Command the details and run the project! And then there's the phy-ed department where I learned to swim, which I still love, and dance, which I rarely do but I surely enjoyed it. Never did understand what that integrated studies experiment was about, but somehow we survived.
We learned life skills that stand us in good stead
today, and that was 40 years ago when we started.
There's value in the long view!
Bridget Ryan '75
I LOVE Saint Ben's because of the community of people that make it such an amazing place . From the first time I walked on campus there was never a time that students and professors walking around didn't smile and wave hello. The community doesn't end upon graduation. The alum network of Bennies & Johnnies in the working world is amazing, and it's such an empowering connection!
I also LOVE Saint Ben's because of the study abroad opportunities. I studied abroad in Australia the Spring of 2009, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my college career. The worldly & cultural experiences, friendships and stunning sunsets are memories that will never be forgotten!
Saint Ben's allowed me to learn about myself through my education, my relationships, and my spiritual connections, making me into the woman I am today.
Katherine Krois '10
There are so many reasons I LOVE Saint Ben's. I could say it was my introduction to traveling overseas, all the great Bennie friends who I love see during the holidays, at reunion and SJU's Homecoming, networking events, or just out and about, or I could say that Saint Ben's is the reason I am in business for myself, but I think I will say it is because it has made me so content at where I am right now in life. On this Valentine's Day, I wish everyone the same peace and comfort.
Marlys Hauser Schmitt '85
I love Saint Ben's because I met the best sister-friend I could ever have. I loved living at Saint Ben's and going to classes there. Sister Roberta Werner was a fabulous teacher and I loved going to MENC in Minneapolis with her. I love Saint Ben's because Dale White is still the best band director and has given my daughters a wonderful experience in Wind Ensemble! And I love that the BAC still smells the same way it did 29 years ago :-)
Sieglinde Nelson Grivna '82
Being 5 and a half years away from graduation I have to say that more than anything my time spent with my Journey group has stayed with me and kept me focused through teaching, getting married, motherhood, and now graduate school. Remembering to listen to the ear of my heart has been a constant.
Bethany Heinzen Robicheaux '05
The atmosphere made me love it so much. I can think of so many great things I was involved in such as being an RA and working with orientation to late night study sessions in the library of in the residence hall computer labs. The relationships that are built from the Saint Ben's atmosphere is priceless. While I don't miss the homework, I definitely miss the opportunity to be around such strong, wonderful women and to work side by side with them. Outside of Saint Ben's, most people don't understand the benefits of having the best of both worlds with an all female population campus that is joint with St. John's. I value all the great experiences I had.
Sara Kersbergen Ruiz '05
I LOVE Saint Ben's because it enabled me to be challenged, grow, learn, succeed, fail, network, connect, and ultimately, be me. I value the relationships I have formed throughout my time on campus and that lasting friendships I will have forever. My purpose in the world was brought forth through and by Saint Ben's. I became who I am today there, and I will look fondly back on that time forever.
Emma Jaynes Keeler '10
I love Saint Ben's because it has been my home for over 55 years (high school and college)and then my life as a member of the Monastery. I have come to appreciate Benedictine values, especially education, communication, hospitality, spirituality, and community. I value the education I received and the spirituality that formed my faith life. Now, as a facilitator for Companions on a Journey, I have gotten to know a group of wonderful young women at CSB ready and eager to carry on the Benedictine heritage.
Sister Joyce Iten '68
I love Saint Ben's because it created a community that encourages me to be an innovative thinker, helps me to be a leader in creating positive change, and has inspired me to be a global citizen that strives to give back in a positive way. All of this was through the tremendous education received through classroom experience, interaction with fellow CSBSJU classmates, my study abroad experience and the consistent messages given by the college. I am fortunate to have created special friendships with Bennies and Johnnies that continue to foster the important life lessons I learned at Saint Ben's.
Natalia Calderon '08
I love Saint Ben's and I always will. In 1977, it offered me exposure from a tropical island setting to a white winter wonderland. I still remember the slipping, sliding, and purchase of the a fake fur coat from the Thrift Shop in St. Joseph. Do you believe I still have that coat and it was the first coat I have ever purchased for $7 in my life? Snow was new to me and to this day I still respect those who do not enjoy 77 degree weather in winter.
Sister Mary Anthony Wagner was my mentor and so was a classmate by the name of Beth. I hope Beth is doing well, she was an absolute angel and took the Bahamian ladies around the town while studying in a strange land. I will never forget Sister Margaret and the education received at Saint Ben's. If I had children, they would all be Bennies and Johnnies. May God continue to bless the sisters and administrators of my alma mater. It was my joy to visit the campus some twenty years ago at a reunion. Who knows, I may come back again!
Valencia Wright Grant Carroll '77
I love Saint Ben's because it still feels like home when I go back to visit (even though there are tons of new buildings!) Some of my current best friends I met on Aurora B freshman year. Saint Ben's gave me some of the best memories and opportunities: studying abroad in London, volunteering at schools in St. Cloud, working for Campus Ministry, going on a mission trip to New Orleans and all those fun nights on campus and in St. Joe! I am in my fifth year of teaching kindergarten and I could not be more thankful for the elementary education program! My professors gave me so much knowledge and in classroom experience that I could not have been more prepared to man my own classroom. I love the person that Saint Ben's helped me become!
Corrie Schmidt '06
It was at Saint Ben's that I began my love for daily mass. I remember with great affection the cloister walk and walk it in my memory. Daily mass influenced and entered my life after Saint Bens. During the summer, I attended mass and took my children. After my retirement from teaching Kindergarten in 1997, I began attending daily mass again. I had been a lector three days a week. I now lector only on Fridays. Recently, along with being a Minster of Care on one Sunday a month, I have begun ministering a small group at a retirement home. This is so wonderful because they are so appreciative. Shortly after beginning with them, it was First Friday so I explained the meaning of First Friday. Last April after Pilgrimage to France and visiting Paray de Monial, birth place of St. Margaret Alacoe, I shared with my small group about First Friday. They are so excited about it. We say special prayer to the Sacred Heart. In conclusion, the Holy Mass led to all this.
Dorothy Mae Fisher Kostelecky '53
I love Saint Ben's because as the last of seven children, all of my siblings went to CSB or SJU, I always felt like I was coming home when I went there. We used to joke that our combined tuitions paid for the Alcuin library. Saint Ben's was a place of growth and experience that forced me out of my comfort zone and taught me more that I ever expected.
Mariana Ginder '83
I love Saint Ben's not only because of the fantastic education that I received, the fabulous time I had while attending Saint Ben's and the wonderful friendships that I developed while on campus, but most importantly for the network of friendships that I have developed since graduating from Saint Ben's. I love to say that I am a Bennie.
Lori Helmer '85
I LOVE CSB/SJU because it still feels like home every time I walk onto the two campuses. Even nearly 10 years later, the experiences still seem present and the campus never changes--not in the things that really matter.
Anne McCarney '02
The Saint Ben's community was a very welcoming place from the very beginning. I always felt like the Benedictine Sisters and my professors cared about me as a person and helped me to receive a well-rounded education.
Patty Shannon McNamara '93
Saint Joseph-My Second Home
There's a little place that I know.
A place where I love to go.
A place where each house has a name,
And a pizza place of fame.
A place where I have made many friends,
That I will have 'til the very end.
A place where laughter fills the air.
A place filled with those who truly care.
A place where I have grown,
And learned of the unknown.
It's a place that makes me smile,
And encourages me to go the extra mile.
It's a place where I pray,
A place where I play.
It's the place that gave me a fresh start,
And I hold it very close to my heart.
Some may not agree,
But to me, it's the place to be!
There's a little place that I know,
And it's the town of Saint Joe.
I value everything that the Saint Ben's/Saint Joseph community had to offer. I loved being involved in many things on campus and in the community. Saint Ben's encouraged you to be active and everyone that I knew took pride in their studies and were always ready for a new adventure and a fun time. Saint Ben's/Saint John's creates such a loving and supportive network and that is very apparent as an alum.
Sarah Larson '09
Fast and sure, a tap root grew in the fertile loam of Saint Ben's. In spirit. In education. In relationship, I grew in untold ways because my roots thrived there. Now, I am richly blessed to encourage and cultivate fields to grow the next generations. I am blessed to love St Ben's.
Carol Hogan O'Keefe '82
Personal letters from Sisters in the Admission office convinced me to consider Saint Ben's. My parents visited from our Home in N.Y.( I could not go, I had to work) and my parents were very impressed with the community and caring shown the students, and them as parents.
I chose Saint Ben's and loved the Sisters, the friends I made there that I still have, my studies, (English and Biology) and the young men at Saint John's, many of whom I dated and especially the very special one I married!
Saint Ben's educated and formed me in my Catholic faith and I have always been grateful. While we could not send any of our six children to Saint Ben's, Saint Ben's is in our children because Saint Ben's is in me. Thank you, Sr. Mary, Remberta, Mary Anthony, Coleman, Enid, Emanuel, Mariella, Rogatia,Paula, Mary Mark, Berchmans, and Nick Zakuski, Biology.
Barbara Recame Heiderscheidt '63
I love that St Ben's provided a foundation for me as I grew, discovered, learned. Saint Ben's educates the whole person. Furthermore, the Bennie connection carries the spirit of Saint Ben's far and wide. Saint Ben's is with me wherever I go.
Maggie Kane Masica '04
I love everything about Saint Ben's; however, I have recently discovered how much I love the sense of community that extends off campus. The alumnae connection among Bennies is unbelievable! I recently graduated and moved to a new city where I didn't know anyone. A couple weeks after moving in I noticed my next door neighbor's car had a Saint Ben's sticker on the back window. I decided to go knock on her door and say hello because we had such a great thing in common. For all I knew she could have been 30 or 50 or 80, but I didn't care because I knew we would have our time at Saint Ben's to bond over. I knocked on her door and she answered. It turns out we had graduated together just 3 months earlier. Talk about a small world! Neither of us had met while we were on campus, but she was my first connection in my new city.
I had always heard about the excellent alumnae community, but now I have seen it firsthand. The community is truly bonded for life no matter how old everyone is. I am so thankful that I not only received a great education, but I also know that I have a life-long group of friends no matter where my journey takes me.
Lauren Gooley '10
I LOVE Saint Ben's because it was a place for me to grow surrounded by such a unique support system. I was able to meet the monastic community, know many of my classmates, and feel confident in the quality of my education. It was the best! The professors cared about their students, they knew my name and didn't know me as a number. Thank you CSB/SJU for keeping that personal experience at the forefront of all you do. CSB/SJU gave me the opportunity to study abroad and experience a culture so different yet so similar to my own. I grew educationally, spiritually, and socially. The value of my time abroad and at CSB/SJU cannot be measured. I will always feel at home at CSB/SJU. I'm very blessed to have had the experience of attending such a wonderful college, studying abroad, and meeting my husband!!
Jessica Lockner-Kotek McKeown '09
I love Saint Bens for the feeling that I had as a student, driving up 94 and exiting into St. Joe, seeing campus and having that overwhelming feeling of "I'm home!" A feeling that I continue to get whenever I drive by the St. Joseph exit still, and hope to have many years from now! It was a wonderful community to learn and grow in, surrounded by incredibly supportive faculty and fellow classmates and friends.
Leah Pleiss Zimmerman '08
This June will mark my 50th Class Reunion. I have contributed to CSB every year since 1961. My father, Jerome J. Kunkel, was so proud that I was a Bennie that to express my gratitude to him and to CSB, I established a Scholarship Endowment Fund in his memory. And for 30 years I have requested my employer, State Farm, to match my contributions. I see no place that would have enriched my life and hopefully that of many others whom I have met over the years than CSB.
Charlotte Kunkel Klose '61
It was September of 1954. I was 19, a transfer student from Ohio, on my way for the first time to Minnesota where I would begin my sophomore year at a school I'd never seen and was prepared not to like. Tired after a long train ride, I had been met at the St. Cloud rail station by the local St. Joe cabbie, Hermie Linneman. He deposited me at the back door of Theresa Hall (then the only college building). And there, standing by the old indoor/outdoor elevator was a short, smiling nun, S. Mary Patrick Murray. "Well, Mary McCullough!" she said. "We've been waiting for you!"
S. Mary Patrick's greeting warmed me then and it has stayed with me over the years. It was the beginning of my love affair with St. Ben's. I was welcome here. I was expected. They were waiting for me. My hope is this - that the spirit of hospitality is still alive and well at St. Ben's. I want to imagine that when a new Bennie arrives today that she, too will feel as if she has someone has been waiting for her. And, in that embrace, she can grow to be the best she can be.
Mary McCullough Novak '57
I love Saint Ben's for many reasons. During my time there I met many amazing women and men that became my family then - and are still my family today. The professors truly cared about me as a person and wanted to see me succeed in my career choice. The campus was warm, friendly and Christian filled. The best thing...once a Bennie, always a Bennie. Whenever I meet someone that went to Saint Ben's or Saint John's we can always share a great story or memory of our time spent there and still smile about it.
Jessica Schmoll Collins '00
I received a good education, learned Benedictine values, established lifelong friendships, and developed greater self confidence. And while at Saint Ben's, I met my husband-to-be while playing tennis. It was a Wednesday and I had to be in at 7:30pm. Even with those strict hours, we dated and were married three years later. Now, 48 ½ years have passes and WE still love and appreciate Saint Ben's!
Lou Reiter John '61