Cole, 43, said that “trying to faithfully engage with history and the history of Christendom and talking about our Judeo-Christian heritage just led to me feeling like I needed to take Catholicism seriously.”
Earlier this year, the Diocese of Lansing posted a video highlighting the 2023 Easter Vigil at St. Anthony’s in which 24 people, 22 of them Hillsdale students, were received into the Catholic Church.
Today, Cole, her husband, Lee Cole — a professor at the college — and her seven children all reside in Hillsdale, where she serves on staff at the city’s St. Anthony Catholic Church, where she was received when she converted more than 20 years ago.
Defenders of the faith
Just as it did then, St. Anthony is the sole institution providing the sacraments to students on campus. But the church works hand in hand with the school’s “Catholic Society,” a student-led club that organizes social events and opportunities for students to receive the sacraments and brings speakers to campus.
Noah Hoonhout, a 2023 graduate who led the school’s Catholic student organization, said that the Catholic Society is “the most active” club on campus.
Among the recent speakers the society has sponsored are German Cardinal Gerhard Müller and American theologian George Weigel, both of whom drew large crowds, according to Hoonhout.
According to the Hillsdale Daily News, the school’s president called Weigel and Müller “ardent defenders of the immemorial teachings of the Christian faith and of the liberty of the human soul before God that Hillsdale College holds so dear” following their lectures in 2021.
Whalen told CNA that when Müller visited campus he was invited to say a few words at a dinner in his honor at the school’s president’s house.
Whalen said that Müller “gave an extemporaneous short talk that was both brilliant and beautiful. It was a great moment.”
The Catholic Society points students toward St. Anthony’s many ministries, one of which is specifically established for Hillsdale students called “The Grotto.”
The Grotto is a house located near campus where students can come and pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
Each week, the Grotto offers Mass, confession, eucharistic adoration, the recitation of the rosary, formation events, and social gatherings for the students, such as “convivium,” where dozens of students will gather for dinner at the house on Thursday nights and hear a talk on the Catholic faith from a professor at the school.
Hoonhout, 22, said that the Grotto is one of the “centers of Catholic culture” on campus.
In Sajak’s long tenure at “Wheel of Fortune,” he has earned several awards, including a Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In 2019, Guinness World Records deemed him to have “the longest career as a game show host for the same show,” which was 35 years and 198 days at the time, according to abc.com.
Although not much is known about what Sajak will do following retirement from “Wheel of Fortune,” Hillsdale has said that he will continue serving in his role as chairman of its board of trustees.
His role at the game show will be taken over by celebrity host Ryan Seacrest. Sajak’s longtime co-host, Vanna White, reportedly will remain with the show.
“Well, the time has come. I’ve decided that our 41st season, which begins in September, will be my last,” Sajak tweeted on June 12. “It’s been a wonderful ride, and I’ll have more to say in the coming months. Many thanks to you all.”