by Steve Johnson
Special to The Leaven
DENVER — Representatives of Benedictine College in Atchison and Catholic Healthcare International (CHI) based in Wildwood, Missouri, signed a Collaborative Affiliation Agreement between the two entities Sept. 8 during the annual meeting of the Catholic Medical Association here. Signatories were Benedictine College president Stephen D. Minnis and CHI founder and president Jere D. Palazzolo. The agreement begins the process of establishing a new medical school on Benedictine College’s campus, the proposed St. Padre Pio Institute for the Relief of Suffering, School of Osteopathic Medicine.
“It is important for this proposed independent medical school to be located on an authentically Catholic college campus, and Benedictine College is pleased to be a part of this agreement,” Minnis said. “I believe this will be one of the most faithful Catholic medical schools in the world.”
The proposed medical school will be an independent institution that will be located on the campus of Benedictine. It is a separately licensed, governed, financed and accredited entity that is not part of Benedictine College. It is not yet accredited or approved by any entity to solicit students, make offers of admission or begin instruction, nor should anything in this article be construed as such.
“The genocide of 65 million children could not have been accomplished without the ready, willing and able cooperation of physicians,” said Dr. George Mychaskiw, a board-certified pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist and chief academic officer at CHI who has been instrumental in the development of four colleges of medicine.
“This medical school will stand for the life and dignity of every human being, regardless of age or disability, and will train generations of physicians who will take back the culture of death and revolutionize Catholic health care. We are charged by the Lord Jesus Christ to set the world afire, and how we wish it were already kindled!”
Benedictine College’s new strategic plan, Transforming Culture in America — developed by faculty, board members and invited experts — says “STEM education is a particular emphasis of Benedictine College” and instructs the college to advance the mission through science and health care by forming students comprehensively in bioethics and fostering external relationships.
“It is vital to train future doctors at a place like Benedictine College that understands the essential role of faith and morality in the sciences,” said Minnis. “The campus culture of community, faith and scholarship that we have worked so hard to create will be the perfect home for the proposed Padre Pio medical school at Benedictine College.”
Discussions have also included local city officials, as the medical school is expected to make a significant positive impact on Atchison. The college made the decision to sign the statement on Sept. 8 because it is the feast of the Nativity of Mary.
“It is only right that we put this project in the hands of Our Lady, who has always taken such good care of the college,” said Minnis. “The college dedicated Mary’s Grotto on Sept. 8, 2009; was consecrated to Mary on Sept. 8, 2013; and launched our Transforming Culture in America strategic vision on Sept. 8, 2021. She has always blessed our trust in her.”
Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison. The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report and has as its stated mission the goal of educating men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.