The Free Press, Mankato, MN


October 5, 2012

(PHOTO GALLERY) Swedish king, queen receive large warm welcome at Gustavus



About 2,000 people, including 1,000 St. Peter school children, lined the walkway all the way to Christ Chapel. Many held small Swedish and American flags and waved them as the couple passed.

In the packed chapel, the king greeted the audience near the end of the Festival Worship service. He said the queen and he were happy to be in St. Peter on such a beautiful day, albeit a windy and cold one that resulted in a shivering crowd wearing winter gear.

The king also spoke of the “danger, hardship and loss” suffered by early Swedish immigrants to the United States who wanted to take a big life risk and invest in their futures by helping to settle new land.

“We may not be the largest country, but we left a certain impact on America and definitely, especially Minnesota,” the king said.

The king said Gustavus’ core values of excellence, community, justice, service and faith ring just as true for the students, staff and faculty of today as they did for the men and women who founded the college in 1862.

“We are proud of what you have done in the first 150 years and look forward to the coming years,” he said.

Also part of the Festival Worship program was a blessing of an altar cloth made by King Carl’s great-grandfather, King Gustaf V of Sweden. King Gustaf V was an avid needle-pointer, and the altar cloth originally was at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., for about 60 years before the church dissolved.

Bishop Ake Bonnier of Skara Diocese in Sweden blessed the cloth at the service, and King Carl said he hopes Gustavus will treasure it.

“I know it’s in good hands,” the king said.

Gustavus President Jack Ohle told the king and queen Gustavus will be “forever grateful” for the visit, which also included an afternoon dedication of the new Sesquicentennial Plaza and a tour of the Hillstrom Museum of Art’s “150 Years of Swedish Art” exhibit.

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