Skip to content

“Students are taught to Embrace Empathy as a pathway to Peace & Understanding.”

An Alumni Reflection on Benedict’s Rule in Practice, “Let all guest who arrive be received as Christ.”

Growing up in rural central Minnesota in the latter part of the 20th century, local opportunities to experience cultural diversity were sparse. I had heard a comment that in this region, “diversity” consisted of whether one was Catholic or Lutheran. It was such a refreshing juxtaposition when I first walked through the doors of Saint John’s Prep School in 1991. As I exited the bus on my first day of high school, faculty and staff welcomed us with cheers and clapping as we approached the school, treating us as if we were celebrities. As we entered the large wooden doors among the towering pines, we were greeted with flags from across the globe adorning the central staircase. It was apparent from this very first moment that in this school, Saint Benedict’s Rule, “Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ,” was steeped deep within the culture and tradition of Saint John’s Prep (SJP).

Welcoming students from all over the world, Saint John’s Prep is truly a microcosm of world peace. Students are taught to “listen with the ear of the heart,” embracing empathy as a pathway to peace and understanding. It is with this foundation that we have centered our family’s values – to be welcoming to all; to embrace differences; to love one another – above all else. As a family, we envision this rule to encompass social justice issues, self compassion, and a quest to learn about various cultures and religions, for “all are to be received as Christ.”

While at Saint John’s Prep, I developed lasting international friendships that I have continued to nurture. While recently visiting a Prep School friend, Chana Soopipat, in his majestic home country of Thailand, he recalled his love for the Prep School and the 2,900 acres of woods and lakes that make up the campus. “There is no place more beautiful than Saint John’s Prep, even in winter! If I have children, I will absolutely send them there!” To hear this while surrounded by the beauty of Thailand, I was humbled. Indeed, in our backyard, smack in the middle of Central Minnesota, is nestled a gem that is Saint John’s Prep School. How fortunate we are!

We have had the opportunity to continue the Prep tradition in our family with our children now beginning to learn and grow at Saint John’s Prep. Louise began as a 6th grader, and will be in 9th grade next year and Claudia will be a 6th grader; both have found the Prep School to be graciously hospitable and open to all; welcoming students and families from diverse backgrounds and beliefs and teaching a global perspective. It is with these teachings and values that I believe we prioritize empathy and understanding and continue to strive for peace and harmony on this beautiful, diverse Earth.

Rachel Wenner Ruzanic, MD
Saint John’s Prep Class of 1995
Current Proud Prep Parent


If you’re a prospective Saint John’s Prep student or parent interested in learning more about how we prepare students for lives of purpose, service, and achievement, please contact our Admission Team.

Want to learn more about Saint John’s Prep?

Schedule a Campus Tour