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Quality Education in the Benedictine Tradition

Alma Mater

The Southern hills are shining
With lives of work and prayer;
And we shall e’er remember
Our Alma Mater fair,
With body, mind, and spirit,
We lift our hearts on high.
To praise our God forever,
Saint Bernard be our guide.


Click here to hear the SBP Alma Mater

Benedictine monks came  to the Cullman area in the 1880's, primarily to serve the German families who established the local settlement in 1873 at the invitation of Colonel John Cullmann, a German refugee who came to America in 1866.  On September 29, 1891, ground was broken for St. Bernard Abbey, named in honor of the famous eleventh-century French abbot and doctor of the Church.  The new community chose its location because of the area's healthy climate, rapid growth and access to the main railroad.

In the same year as the abbey's founding the monks established St. Bernard Preparatory School on the outskirts of the city.  The State of Alabama chartered the school in February of 1893.  It was primarily a college preparatory school until the late 1920's, but from the beginning, the school regularly conferred a few bachelor's degrees.

In 1929 the Board of Trustees elected to establish a junior college program in addition to the high school.  Some twenty years later the Board decided to pursue the establishment of a senior college.  The transition was made between 1948 and 1953, facilitated by the construction of a new library, the increase of library holdings and the release of faculty members to pursue doctoral studies.  Bachelor of Arts degrees were awarded to the first graduating class of St. Bernard College in May of 1955.  The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited St. Bernard as a degree-granting senior college on December 6, 1956.

The Board of Trustees discontinued the sixty-year old preparatory school program in 1962.  The college continued until May 13, 1979.

In the autumn of 1984, St. Bernard began a new chapter in its continuing apostolate of education with the reopening of St. Bernard Preparatory School as a co-educational secondary school.  The Southern Association of Colleges and schools granted accreditation to the school in December of 1995.  The Abbey takes pride in its thousands of students who have shared in the Benedictine way at St. Bernard, the way of prayer and work of faith and love.


Upcoming Events:

12/17 Sun. Boar's Head Dinner 6 p.m.

12/20-12/22 Wed-Fri 1st Semester Exams
12/22 Fri Campus Christmas Party, 7 p.m.

12/ 23 Christmas Vacation through Sun., Jan 7th
Classes resume at 8 a.m. on Jan. 8th

2006 Calendar


Camp St. Bernard Ava Maria Grotto Bloomin' Fest St. Bernard Abbey

1600 Saint Bernard Drive, S.E Cullman, Al 35055
256-739-6682 or 1-800-722-0999 Fax: 256-734-2925  

© 2006-2007 SBP