Lusa Boucher

Lusa Boucher

Published: 21 Sep 2023


St. Bernard Abbey, located in Cullman, Alabama, is a hidden gem with a rich history and plenty of surprises in store. Originally founded in 1891, this Benedictine monastery is not just a place of worship, but also serves as a center for education and community service.

While many may associate abbeys with their traditional roles, St. Bernard Abbey offers a unique mix of spirituality, culture, and natural beauty that sets it apart. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, this abbey has something for everyone.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at 12 surprising facts about St. Bernard Abbey that will leave you intrigued and inspired. From its stunning architecture to its renowned brewing tradition, you’ll discover why this abbey is a must-visit destination in Alabama.

Table of Contents

St. Bernard Abbey is located in rural Cullman County.

Tucked away in the scenic countryside of Cullman County, Alabama, lies the historic St. Bernard Abbey. Surrounded by lush greenery and rolling hills, this abbey offers a serene and peaceful retreat for visitors seeking solace in nature’s embrace.

The abbey was founded in 1891.

With a rich history dating back to 1891, St. Bernard Abbey has stood as a beacon of spiritual devotion in the heart of Alabama. Its establishment marked the beginning of a long-standing tradition of hospitality and community service.

The architecture of St. Bernard Abbey is stunning.

The abbey’s architecture is a sight to behold, with its grand stone facade and intricate detailing. The blend of Gothic and Romanesque styles creates a majestic presence that leaves visitors awe-inspired.

St. Bernard Abbey is home to a community of Benedictine monks.

At the heart of St. Bernard Abbey is a vibrant community of Benedictine monks who have dedicated their lives to serving God and others. Their commitment to prayer, work, and hospitality forms the foundation of the abbey’s spiritual legacy.

The abbey is known for its renowned theological seminary.

St. Bernard Abbey is home to a distinguished theological seminary, where future priests are trained in the sacred teachings of the Catholic Church. The seminary’s rigorous academic program and pastoral formation prepare students for a life of service and leadership in the Church.

St. Bernard Abbey is surrounded by picturesque hiking trails.

Nature enthusiasts will find solace in the captivating hiking trails that surround St. Bernard Abbey. Embrace the beauty of Alabama’s natural landscape as you explore the winding paths, revealing breathtaking vistas and hidden gems along the way.

The abbey is a cultural hub, hosting various events throughout the year.

St. Bernard Abbey embraces its role as a cultural center by hosting a wide range of events throughout the year, including concerts, art exhibits, and lectures. These events provide an opportunity for the local community and visitors alike to engage in enriching cultural experiences.

St. Bernard Abbey produces award-winning craft beer.

One surprising fact about St. Bernard Abbey is its foray into the world of craft beer production. The abbey’s brewing tradition dates back to the 19th century, and today, their delicious Trappist-style beers have gained national recognition and awards.

St. Bernard Abbey is home to a beautiful botanical garden.

Within the abbey grounds lies a stunning botanical garden, brimming with a diverse array of plant life. Visitors can wander along the garden’s winding paths, taking in the vibrant colors and fragrant scents that grace the air.

The abbey’s library houses a collection of rare manuscripts.

St. Bernard Abbey boasts an impressive library that holds a treasure trove of rare manuscripts and literary works. Scholars and researchers from around the world flock to explore its vast collection, which serves as a testament to the abbey’s intellectual heritage.

St. Bernard Abbey is a place of pilgrimage and spiritual retreat.

For those seeking a deeper connection with their faith, St. Bernard Abbey offers a tranquil haven for pilgrimage and spiritual retreat. The serene surroundings and the presence of the monks create an atmosphere conducive to reflection, prayer, and renewal.

St. Bernard Abbey hosts an annual arts and crafts festival.

Every year, St. Bernard Abbey hosts a vibrant arts and crafts festival, attracting artisans and vendors from near and far. Visitors can peruse a wide array of handmade crafts, sample delicious local cuisine, and immerse themselves in the vibrant atmosphere of creativity and community.


St. Bernard Abbey in Alabama is truly a hidden gem with its rich history and fascinating facts. From being Alabama’s first Benedictine monastery to housing a world-renowned dog breeding program, the abbey has a unique charm that sets it apart. The stunning architecture, picturesque grounds, and warm hospitality make it a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a peaceful retreat or a deeper connection with spirituality.

Whether you’re interested in the abbey’s religious significance, its natural beauty, or its contribution to dog breeding, St. Bernard Abbey offers something for everyone. So, if you find yourself in Alabama, don’t miss the opportunity to explore this remarkable landmark and discover the intriguing stories that lie within its walls.


Q: What is the history of St. Bernard Abbey?

A: St. Bernard Abbey was founded in 1891 by Benedictine monks from Switzerland. It was the first abbey of its kind in Alabama and has since played a significant role in the state’s religious and cultural history.

Q: Can visitors tour the abbey grounds?

A: Yes, visitors are welcome to explore the abbey grounds, including the magnificent abbey church, beautiful gardens, and scenic walking paths. However, some areas may be restricted for privacy and the monks’ daily routines.

Q: Is the abbey home to any notable relics?

A: Yes, St. Bernard Abbey houses a collection of relics, including bone fragments believed to be from St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the namesake of the abbey. These relics hold significant religious meaning and are revered by visitors and pilgrims.

Q: Does the abbey have a dog breeding program?

A: Yes, St. Bernard Abbey is famous for its renowned St. Bernard dog breeding program. The monks have been breeding these gentle giants for over a century, known for their loyalty, intelligence, and rescue capabilities.

Q: Are there accommodations available for visitors at St. Bernard Abbey?

A: Yes, the abbey offers guest accommodations for individuals or groups seeking a retreat experience. Reservations are required in advance, and guests have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the abbey’s peaceful and contemplative atmosphere.

Q: Are there any special events or activities held at the abbey?

A: Yes, St. Bernard Abbey hosts various events throughout the year, including retreats, spiritual workshops, and concerts. Visitors can check the abbey’s website or contact them directly for upcoming events and activities.