Saint Meinrad Archabbey was founded in 1854 by monks from Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland. They came to southern Indiana at the request of a local priest who was seeking help to serve the pastoral needs of the growing German-speaking Catholic population and to prepare local men to be priests.
Both of these missions remain part of Saint Meinrad's ministry to the Roman Catholic Church, as Saint Meinrad operates a graduate seminary and school of theology and has more than a score of its monks in parish work, chaplaincies and diocesan assignments.
The Benedictine community at Saint Meinrad consists of about 85 men who dedicate their lives to prayer and work. They gather in community five times each day to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and celebrate Mass. 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.
A few years after settling 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, which continues today: preparing men for service in the Catholic Church as priests. The Seminary and School of Theology now also has education and formation programs for permanent deacons and lay ministers, as well as a summer liturgical leadership program for high school youth and their adult leaders.