The campus of the College of St. Benedict glowed with flickering lights Nov. 27 when students gathered outdoors to celebrate “Christmas at Saint Ben’s.”
Hundreds of students cheered as CSB President Mary Ann Baenninger plugged in the 20-foot-tall Christmas tree, covered with more than 3,000 white lights. Many of the students held small candles or torches to honor the CSB motto of “Sic Luciat Lux Vestra,” which is Latin for “So Let Your Light Shine.”
Five walkways to the middle of the campus were lined with paper-bag luminaries.
The blessing of the tree was presented by Sister Sharon of CSB Campus Ministry.
As the students waited for the speakers and the tree lighting, the CSB Choir performed Christmas songs.
Mary Geller, vice president for student development, spoke to the students, explaining the meaning of “Sic Luciat Lux Vestra.” It was inspired, she said, by the Gospel of Matthew 5:16, in which Matthew praises the symbolic value of light – the light of the world and the city on the hill that cannot be hidden. “We do not light a lamp and put it under a bushel basket,” Matthew wrote. “We set it on a stand where it gives light to all . . . In the same way, your light must shine before all so they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to God.”
The weather, fortunately for those gathered, was windless and almost spring-like. After the ceremony, students enjoyed refreshments and social interactions in the lobby of one of the campus buildings.
In an interview earlier with the Newsleader, Geller said the celebration of light is a way to renew the meaning of CSB as it approaches its centennial celebration in 2013.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.