News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Religion

November 15, 2013

Campus minister making a difference

TERRE HAUTE — When new campus minister Andrea Beyke drove through the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College gates for the first time, she knew she was home. Andrea Beyke immediately recognized the feeling of calm surrounding the campus.

“This campus is a very spiritual and serene place to be,” Beyke says. “Just like when choosing a college, there’s a feeling one gets when she knows deep down that this is the place for her; that is the way I felt when I drove through the gates. The gates called me home.”

The new campus minister at the college, Beyke, chose The Woods because she believes in its mission and values. Many times during her visits before accepting the position, there was a word that kept surfacing, and it attracted her: empower.

“Here at The Woods, the faculty and staff empower the women to be leaders, both in academics and service. In campus ministry, I hope to do the same. I want to empower students to be leaders in the church and in service, because the best kind of leader is a servant leader,” Beyke said. “The church needs women to lead. We wouldn’t have a church if it weren’t for the first women who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection and proclaimed it to the rest of the apostles. Women were meant to hold a prominent place in the church and in society. I believe Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College does an incredible job of forming women to be those leaders.”

After only a few short months at The Woods, she is making strides to build a strong campus ministry program that focuses on faith, community and social justice. Beyke strives to continue building the Catholic identity of SMWC. One specific goal of hers for this year is to begin a Sunday night liturgy for students on campus in the students’ Sacred Heart Chapel.

“We were founded in the Catholic tradition, so I hope to sustain roots while also reaching out to the diverse population of students,” she said. “I’ve found that the common ground is commitment to pursuing common good. The millennial generation doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty and working to create a society rid of poverty and injustice.”

As the campus minister at SMWC, Beyke is in charge of all spiritual and prayer opportunities for students, faculty and staff. Doctrinally, she is the “pastor” of the school. She also coordinates volunteer experiences for campus. Despite having only been here for a short time, Beyke has already begun to improve and expand the program.

Recently, the Office of Campus Ministries formed partnerships with Catholic Charities; Ryves Youth Hall; and Big Brother, Big Sister, which provides opportunities for SMWC students to mentor young girls.

Beyke also implemented a new alternative fall break trip this year by arranging a trip to Nashville, Tenn., for students to serve at the Ronald McDonald House, Nashville Catholic Charities and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. In addition, she offers a weekly Bible study and is in charge of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, a yearlong program that meets weekly for those who want to become Catholic. Beyke was recently awarded a 2013-2014 Campus Ministry Grant from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to cover the alternative fall break trip, National Catholic Collegiate Conference student registration and campus chapel renovations.

Beyke describes her goals for the campus ministry program as a balance between tradition and progress, much like the goals of the college as a whole.

“The tradition and stories within the walls of the campus buildings give Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College character,” says Beyke. “I love how we draw from the rich history of The Woods but we don’t dwell on it. We use it to propel us forward and continue looking for new and exciting opportunities for our students.”

 

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