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Bismark, North Dakota: The University of Mary

About the Universiy of Mary in Bismark, North Dakota:

A private, Benedictine University that had its beginnings in 1959, when the Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation opened Mary College, offering four-year undergraduate degrees in nursing and education. In 1986 Mary College became the University of Mary, and today serves close to 4,000 students in multiple locations, both in-person and online.  It is endorsed by The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College, and is recognized as a college of distinction, with notable programs in Education, Business, Engineering, and Nursing.

Their study abroad offerings, which range from one-week to semester-long programs, give students an immersive experience in a foreign culture. Students can choose to attend their Rome campus, take a faculty-led trip (past destinations include Israel, China, and Ireland), or participate in a medical mission to Peru, they will gain an international perspective of “leadership in the service of truth.”

Among the places of interest for visitors to the University of Mary are the following:

The Gift Hill Cross:

The land which The University of Mary occupies is a result of a gift by Charles “Chick” Swenson. The sisters aptly named it “Gift Hill.”

It lies … in the most scenic spot in the area,” wrote Sister Andriette Rohrenbach, in a memo to her sisters. “Four counties can be seen from the top of the hill, namely, Burleigh, Morton, Emmons, and Sioux. The Missouri encircles the area, the bottomlands”.

They began purchasing more adjacent property from farmers. It was at this time the sisters chose the name “Mary College” for its new junior college. On March 30, 1958, sisters, community members, Swenson and newly installed Bishop Hilary Hacker, took part in a groundbreaking and blessing ceremony. A cross was erected on the site (an old monastic tradition) at the highest peak on top of Gift Hill—1880 feet above sea level. Later, this cross was encased in stainless steel to protect it from the elements and given a place of honor.

The Marian Grotto

The Marian Grotto is a spiritual center, for she is patroness of the University of Mary. All are welcome to the sacred Grotto, dedicated to the Blessed Mother, the university’s namesake. Students, faculty, friends, and the community are drawn to this place for prayer, reflection, deepening their faith, and drawing closer to the Lord.

The Warford Grotto, named for the University’s principal benefactors, Dr. John and Jenny Warford, is patterned after the famous grotto at Our Lady of Lourdes in France. The Warford Grotto is made of the area’s iconic fieldstone, with a special stone from the Grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes, France, gifted to the university by Dr. Alessandro de Franciscis, President of the Medical Bureau of Lourdes. A lovely statue of Mary gazing serenely with her hands open warmly invites everyone to come before her.

Traveling to the University of Mary in Bismark, North Dakota:

Address: 7500 University Drive, Bismarck, ND 58504

Tel: +1-701-355-8030                   Toll-free    +1-800-288-6279 (MARY)

Click here for the official website of the University of Mary.

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