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Sunday, 24 April 2011 17:05

Sister Beata’s memory honored by planting of tree

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Friends and former students of the late Sister Beata Knoedler, OSU, reach out their arms in blessing a scarlet maple tree planted in her honor in the yard outside of Beata Hall at Benedictine University at Springfield. The blessing took place on April 9 and was the first official act of the university’s new Alumni Association Board. A gathering of former students and friends of the late Sister Beata Knoedler, OSU, gathered on a warm sunny Saturday during Lent to dedicate a tree in her honor on the campus of Benedictine University in Springfield. Thanks to the new Alumni Association Board of Benedictine, the tree was planted in front of Beata Hall, a campus building at the college that was named in her honor.

Sister Beata spent half a century as a science and math instructor at Springfield Junior College/Springfield College in Illinois (now Benedictine), instructing and mentoring thousands of students, many who eventually became nurses, dentists, physicians and engineers. She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Alumna of the Year Award from Ursuline Academy, the Magnificat Award from the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, several awards from Springfield College in Illinois and an honorary doctorate from Benedictine University.

The April 9 ceremony was one of many activities planned during Family Weekend at Benedictine. Alumni Association Board President Kenny Golden (MBA 2010) said he felt planting a tree for Sister Beata, who passed away Feb. 7 at the age of 90, was “a fitting tribute to her legacy.”

As the tree was dedicated, Golden read this proclamation to all those who were gathered there:

“The Maker has provided us with this tree which from birth to death serves us with fresh air, shade, the beauty of seasons, and even in death it can provide heat and food for fellow plants.

“In the same way God calls us to serve him, bringing the fresh air of our Savior Christ, the covering of prayer, the beauty and peace from the indwelling of the Spirit in our seasons as we walk along with God, and even in death we provide encouragement and the feast of a Godly life for others.

“This tree is very much like the service of Sister Beata — just like her it will see much in the service of God. The laughter of students, tears of the broken-hearted, many prayers. And it will weather the seasons fulfilling its time for all of creation as a witness of God’s wonder.

“May this tree serve as faithfully as Sister Beata did her Maker.”

The scarlet maple tree was donated by Schaddel Tree Farm in Pleasant Plains. Father Steve Janoski, campus minister, officiated the dedication and led a blessing. Laci Baxley, coordinator of Alumni Relations at the college, also participated in the ceremony.