“Benedict came to the monastery just to be alone with God. Not to achieve anything else. History now shows us that single purpose of his changed the world.” – Fr. Joel Martin, O.S.B.
St. Bernard Abbey is a monastery of Catholic monks in Cullman, Alabama. In the 1840s, monks from Metten Abbey in Germany, which was founded n 700 A.D., brought the Benedictine monastic life to America. The first foundation of the community was in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and then monks were sent to Alabama in the 1870s to serve a growing German-Catholic population there. St. Bernard Abbey was founded in 1891 and a school was opened one year later.
The monks now run the St. Bernard Abbey Retreat and Conference Center and the St. Bernard Preparatory School. The monastery’s Ave Maria Grotto also welcomes many visitors who come to see Brother Joseph Zoetle, O.S.B.’s miniature replicas of famous Old Testament and Christian buildings, including his famous miniatures of ancient Jerusalem.
About 35 monks currently live, pray, and work at St. Bernard’s Abbey and this beautifully-filmed video captures a little bit about their lives and how it happens that ordinary men in the world continue to hear the call to religious life and enter the monastery.
“Happiness comes when you’re willing to give yourself away for someone or something worthy of that gift. That’s what makes us free. We are all called do that. And we see it happen at the monastery.” – Fr. Joel Martin, O.S.B
More to read: What is the use of monasticism?