St. John’s website officially advises that the character of the university is shaped by the Benedictine communities that founded the college: “By living according to Saint Benedict’s Rule, members of the monastic communities cultivate love of God, neighbor and self through the art of listening, worship and balanced, humane living. They challenge students to embrace these values as well.”
St. John’s has also challenged the father of a student who, two years ago, mysteriously disappeared after attending a party on campus. The loving, balanced, humane folks at the university demanded Brian Guimond stay off their property or face arrest from Stearns County authorities.
Not that the Order of St. Benedict had anything to hide, mind you — it’s just that Mr. Guimond was upsetting all that listening, worshipping and embracing when he’d repeatedly visit the school looking for answers about his missing child, Josh.
Michael Hemmesch, a spokesperson for St. John’s, insisted the flesh was willing. “We have continued to discuss, through Mr. Guimond’s attorney, an out-of-court settlement,” he said, “or a resolution to this matter out of court.” Unfortunately, the spirit at SJU was weak and quickly worn-out by Brian Guimond’s dogged determination. For a year, the school has held a restraining order against him.
Just as St. John’s was about to have their loving values reviewed in a court of law, announcement came that a settlement had been reached.
Of course, the devil’s in the details.
Josh Guimond’s dad says the on-going dispute with the Order of St. Benedict about his visits to St. John’s has ended. He says he now feels there is no legal order preventing him from going to the campus to continue the private investigation of his son’s disappearance.
Stearns County Sheriff, John Sanner, feels differently. Sanner told reporters, as far as he’s concerned, if Brian Guimond goes to the college campus without an escort to look for answers about his missing boy — he will promptly be put in jail.
Having carefully cultivated the art of listening, I’m sure St. John’s University can hear concerned parents in Stearns County, in the state of Minnesota, and all over the country saying, “IF THAT WERE MY CHILD — NOTHING AND NOBODY COULD STOP ME FROM LOOKING FOR HIM.”
“You don’t just vanish into thin air,” said Brian Guimond. “Somebody knows something.”
Whether somebody on that campus is hiding information about the missing student has yet to be determined, but based on the treatment Mr. Guimond has endured — God knows — something is terribly wrong at St. John’s University.
December 9, 2004