Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University dedicated a peace pole on November 14 in a ceremony celebrating the newest addition to the Campus Quad.
There are more than 200,000 peace poles around the world. There is one at ground zero in lower Manhattan and another at the headquarters of the United Nations.
Benedictine’s peace pole, which was handmade by Peace Pole Makers USA and is environmentally friendly, has six sides that read, “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” in 12 languages – English, Vietnamese, Chinese, Spanish, Hebrew, Swahili, Hindi, French, Czech, Tagalog, Arabic and Lakota Sioux. These languages were chosen because they are major languages represented on campus.
The dedication ceremony included prayer, reflections on peace and the Benedictine Hallmarks, and an explanation how the peace pole fits into the Benedictine community. Located between the Coal Ben and Krasa Student Center, the peace pole can be easily viewed throughout the Campus Quad and used for quiet reflection.
Carrie Roberts, director of Campus Ministry, and Megan Benham, Global and Intercultural program coordinator, agreed that the new campus symbol of unity reflects Benedictine values and its diverse campus composed of students and faculty from many different faiths and ethnic backgrounds.
“Peace is the theme this year in Campus Ministry,” Roberts said. “We wondered how we could make a statement of what we stand for – and this is what came to mind first.”
Before the peace pole was installed, statements of peace written by the Benedictine community were buried.
“We believe that a peaceful world requires more than just hoping for peace,” Benham said. “We wanted the peace pole to be an opportunity for action on our campus, and not simply a symbol.”
During the ceremony, Alicia Cordoba Tait, D.M.A., assistant to the president for Mission Integration and director of Benedictine’s Center for Mission and Identity, gave a reflection on peace and the Benedictine Hallmarks – a set of principles the University embraces. Tait said that the peace pole embodies the values shared by all Benedictines.
“The peace pole is a reminder of our diverse humanity and that we are better together,” Tait said.
The Right Rev. Austin G. Murphy, O.S.B., Ph.D., abbot of St. Procopius Abbey, blessed the peace pole during the ceremony.
“In ‘The Rule of St. Benedict,’ one of the mottos for Benedictines is pax, which is Latin for peace,” Abbot Austin said. “We search for peace in ourselves, our families, our communities, the nation and the world. We ask the Lord to give us the grace to establish peace in all those levels.”
After the blessing, those in attendance were given a card with a statement of peace. Everyone read it aloud together to show that Benedictine stands for peace not only on campus, but everywhere in the world.
Alaina Thompson, a freshman majoring in Physics, heard about the event during Spanish class and daily Mass in the St. Benedict Chapel.
“I think the peace pole represents an outreach of community and what we need in ourselves today,” Thompson said.
Sakina Musani, a sophomore majoring in Elementary Education, reflected on what the peace pole meant to her.
“Unity is the first word that comes to mind,” she said. “I feel that our community is so diverse here that it goes hand in hand. We’re all united and that’s what brings peace.”
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in 59 undergraduate and 23 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the seventh consecutive year in 2017. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.