What is an abbey or monastery, and why would a person join one? First of all, a monastery of men is a group of monks who share life together with one binding purpose: union with God. An abbey is simply a monastery under the leadership of an abbot.
St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama, is such a place. The 30 men who make up the monastery community share life in common, and that includes prayer, work, housing, property, meals, recreation, and more. In coming together to seek God they, like all Christians, are merely responding to the love of God who, after all, loved them first (I John 4:19). The monks of St. Bernard Abbey are Benedictine monks, meaning they live according to the Rule of St. Benedict, written c. 530 A.D. To learn more about St. Benedict and his Rule, see our FAQs.
At St. Bernard Abbey the monks come together in the abbey church at least five times a day for worship in common. Their life of prayer and work also includes a great deal of private prayer, meditation, spiritual reading, and of course a variety of labors, such as care of its more than 800 acres of property, operating a college Preparatory school, running a retreat center, and supplying in parishes in the Diocese of Birmingham. The monastery also owns and operates the Ave Maria Grotto, located on the grounds.