Our HistorySaint Meinrad Archabbey
The Benedictine tradition came to the Midwest in the 1850s, when the Swiss Abbey of Einsiedeln sent two monks to Indiana to start a new foundation. They came here at the request of a local priest for assistance in addressing the pastoral needs of the growing German-speaking Catholic population and to prepare local men to be priests.
Originally, a wooden church was built in 1858, and a log cabin served as a school. Gradually over the next twenty-five years, the monks expanded and built new buildings at Saint Meinrad, including a new monastery. After a fire in 1867, plans were made for the construction of a new church, which began in 1899. With the combined skills of the monks and local craftsman, the new church construction was completed within eight years.
Today, the Benedictine community at Saint Meinrad consists of about 100 men who dedicate their lives to prayer and work. They gather in community five times a day—for morning prayer, noon prayer, evening prayer, compline (the final service of the day) and Mass—to pray for the Catholic Church and the world. Guests are welcome to join the monks in prayer in the Archabbey Church.
The monks live by the wisdom and guidance of the Rule of St. Benedict, the sixth-century instructions for community living written by St. Benedict. The community members of Saint Meinrad live by five basic practices derived from the Rule: prayer together, lectio divina (holy reading), work, community living and hospitality.
Shortly after arriving in Indiana, the Benedictines began offering high school courses to local youths. In 1861, the monks expanded their general courses to include undergraduate courses in philosophy and theology. Through these programs, the monks of Saint Meinrad began their mission of preparing men for service in the Catholic Church as priests. This mission continues today and has grown to include programs in deacon formation, lay ministry and youth and young adult formation, including the popular “One Bread, One Cup” summer conferences for high school students.
Click here to learn more about the monks, their good works and their beautiful southern Indiana campus.
Abbey Press Printing
Saint Meinrad Archabbey is home to an on-site printing facility, Abbey Press, where most Abbey Press Fundraising products are produced. Started in 1867 when the monks purchased a small, secondhand printing press for their in-house needs, Abbey Press was soon fulfilling printing orders from the outside community. Since that time, the printing business has grown in size and expertise—most recently becoming certified by the Forest Stewardship Council—and its proceeds continue to support the monastic community in its prayer and work.
Click here for the Abbey Press Printing website.
Click here for more about the Forest Stewardship Council.