Trip Planner:   USA  /  Alabama  /  Cullman  /  St. Bernard Abbey

St. Bernard Abbey, Cullman

#10 of 13 in Things to do in Cullman
Church · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
In the 1840s monks from Metten Abbey in Germany, a monastery founded c. 700 A.D., came to America to plant the Benedictine monastic life in the United States and to minister to the growing German-speaking immigrant population. St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, became the first foundation, and in the 1870s monks from St. Vincent were sent to Alabama to serve the needs of German Catholics here. In 1891 those monks gathered to establish St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama. One year later, 1892, a school was opened at the new Abbey.

At overlapping intervals from 1892 to 1979 the monks operated a high school, junior college, four-year college, and seminary. The present St. Bernard Preparatory School, opened in 1984, is the recipient of this Catholic educational heritage.

In 1934 the Ave Maria Grotto, a religious devotional creation of Brother Joseph Zoetle, O.S.B., was dedicated in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the Abbey grounds. This garden walk through Brother Joseph’s miniature replicas of famous Old Testament and Christian buildings has welcomed visitors every day since. Most famous among the miniatures are the buildings of ancient Jerusalem, thus the creation’s popular name “Little Jerusalem”.

In 1981 the monks opened the St. Bernard Abbey Retreat and Conference Center. This center welcomes religious retreat and pilgrim groups as well as Abbey guests, school groups, and others.
Make St. Bernard Abbey a part of your Cullman vacation plans using our Cullman trip maker tool.
Create an itinerary including St. Bernard Abbey
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors

St. Bernard Abbey reviews

Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
15 reviews
  • This Historic and Spiritual place seems like a well kept secret. I've been learning about this Abbey and it's been here helping a long, long time. Hope everyone who ends up in Cullman or surrounding.....  more »
  • This church and grounds is one of the most beautiful places ever!It is so reverent, peaceful, & inspiring!  more »
  • What an outstanding blend of tradition and southern culture and charm. That's St. Bernard's campus. Inviting and yet respectful, we love visiting. Wish our children would have been able to be educated there.
  • Meh. Little run down. General maintenance left undone. Awkward. No Bible in room= bad sign...even Motel 6 gets that right. Good concrete example of what exactly it looks like as the Catholic Church continues to decline and recede lead by a Pope who is ready to baptize Aliens, the E.T. kind. Anyways, find out for yourself, they could have been having a bad weekend. Maybe the Pope could sale off that huge piece of art showcasing Lucifer at the Vatican, and then send these guys some money to fix repairs.

Plan your trip to Cullman

  • Get a personalized trip
    A complete day by day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it
    Refine your trip. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Manage it
    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.