St. Bernard Preparatory School

Our Mission Statement 

Heir to the time-honored Benedictine tradition, Saint Bernard Preparatory School’s mission as a Catholic, college preparatory, residential school is the cultivation of a love of learning and a life of virtue in young men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.

Corpus – Mens – Spiritus

Benedictine Monks came to Alabama from St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania in the 1870’s. St. Vincent had been founded in the 1840’s from Metten abbey in Bavaria, a monastery founded in the 8th Century. Most of the early Alabama monks were Bavarian natives and came primarily to serve German-speaking Catholic communities in the State. Arriving in Cullman in the 1880’s the monks established St. Bernard Abbey on September 29, 1891, named in honor of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 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 mail railroad.

In the same year as the Abbey’s founding, the Monks established St. Bernard Preparatory School on the outskirts of the city – on the grounds of the monastery. The school was chartered by the State of Alabama in February 1893, and though primarily a college preparatory school, including middle school grades, St. Bernard regularly conferred a few bachelor’s degrees.


 It is our aim that students acquire a love of what is true, good and beautiful, and to do so through a life of rigorously seeking to discover and appreciate those wonderful realities. We provide our students with a challenging and structured curriculum that equips them for independent thinking and prepares them for university studies, for a life-long love of learning, and for virtuous action.

On our campus students meet many opportunities to develop their talents, including sports and the arts; but they also find here the high expectations and guidance that mold the good character that leads to true happiness.