The College of Saint Benedict Receives $1.4 Million from Lilly Endowment Inc.

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November 27, 2002

ST. JOSEPH, Minn. -The College of Saint Benedict has received a grant of $1,476,178 from Lilly Endowment Inc., to support a program to help prepare a new generation of women for leadership in church and society. The grant is the largest single foundation gift ever received by the college. Since March 2002, the College of Saint Benedict has received $5.1 million for vocational development and to establish an endowed chair in Catholic Thought and Culture.

Companions on the Journey: Listening for the Voice of Vocation, a program for the theological exploration of vocation, is based on the specific character of the College of Saint Benedict and draws upon the monastic heritage and its emphasis on listening and community. The program will provide opportunities to strengthen vocational awareness among students, faculty, staff and alumnae by adapting the monastic practice of companioning for the laity. In addition, through retreats, discussion groups, opportunities for reflection and other activities, the program will enhance the school's capacity to draw on the resources of its faculty and staff to help women connect their values with their life choices.

"This is wonderful news," said CSB President Mary Lyons. "The College of Saint Benedict has a long-standing commitment to educate women for leadership. Our Catholic tradition and Benedictine heritage provide our students with an enriched environment that informs their values and nourishes their spirituality."

"This allows us to build on the tradition and heritage to generate new initiatives that recognize the dynamics of women's vocational formation and development."

An earlier $50,000 planning grant, awarded to CSB last spring by the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, enabled a campus planning team to tailor its proposal for this program to embrace a campus-wide integration of offerings for students, faculty, staff and alumnae.

Diane Millis, director of the planning grant, said the primary goal is that these initiatives will help guide members of the community to appreciate the way God works within each individual's life. In addition, she said, vocation should be understood as dynamic, spanning a lifetime. One's relationship to God takes many forms at different times within a woman's lifetime. Consequently, the proposal also will include a research study designed to assess the vocational dynamic in women's lives.

"Through the study we will seek to understand better how women of all ages learn to recognize and use their gifts and to see themselves in relationship to God through their life's work."

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation and follows its founders' wishes in supporting the causes of community development, education and religion.

The College of Saint Benedict is a private, nationally recognized women's, residential, Baccalaureate Liberal Arts, Catholic Benedictine college of 2,000 students, located in St. Joseph, Minn., joined in a coordinate mission with Saint John's University for men. Among liberal arts colleges nationally, Saint Benedict's is unique in its commitment to gender-specific education within a coeducational environment.