Life & Ministry

Our Benedictine Life


The Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, Alabama embody the spiritual wisdom and monastic tradition of St. Benedict through lives of prayer and ministry. In a 21st century environment, we strive to deepen our relationships with God, with one another, and with all of creation through ageless monastic disciplines such as humility, silence, community living, and obedience.


The 1,500-year old Benedictine tradition continues to direct the daily rhythm of prayer and work at Sacred Heart Monastery. The richness of our prayer and our fidelity to the common life are a prophetic witness to Christian love and service.



As Benedictine Sisters, we deepen our relationship with God and with one another by actively participating in the common life of the community. We are deeply committed to seeking God together, sharing common meals, living spaces, household chores, times of recreation, and holy leisure. After a period of formation, we make a lifelong commitment to this Benedictine way of life by professing obedience, stability, and fidelity to the monastic way of life.


Our elected Prioress, understood in faith to take the place of Christ in the monastery, leads in unifying the Community in a shared vision. The monastic structure is liberating, freeing our minds to contemplate and to unite as committed disciples of the Lord.



Sister Mary Adrian McLean, OSB, at pottery wheel

St. Benedict counsels a balance of prayer and work.  The Liturgy of the Hours helps sustain this balance throughout each day as we move between times of prayer and times of labor.  Prayer infuses our labor with depth and meaning, while work engages us deeply in the created order, giving focus and perspective to our prayer. 



This balance of prayer and work is mirrored by a balance of time alone and time in community.  Each Sister has a space apart in which to retire for times of solitude and personal prayer.  This separate space also affords each Sister a quiet spot in which to be alone to read, journal, write letters, or engage in similar types of holy leisure. 


St. Benedict's call to community means that we do not remain in solitude. Our time apart enlivens and invigorates our life together as we respond joyfully to Benedict's call to seek God within the common life of the monastic community.







Our life of prayer and community living overflows into a life of ministry. Inspired by the Gospel and by St. Benedict, and alert to the needs of the People of God, we are called forth to service within the Diocese of Birmingham, the State of Alabama, and beyond.  Each Sister utilizes her God-given talents in roles such as ministers in local parishes, as retreat and spiritual directors, as teachers and administrators in Catholic schools, in legal and medical professions, and in Community administration. 


A ministry sponsored by the Benedictine Sisters is located on the grounds of Sacred Heart Monastery.  The Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center offers hospitality to various church groups, diocesan programs, and individuals seeking quiet and solitude in a prayerful setting. The Center also sponsors programs of its own as well as opportunities for spiritual direction and individual faith development.

Our primary ministry to the Church and to the world - one shared by all the Sisters, and which undergirds all other ministries - is our fidelity to the monastic way of life.  Our monastic prayer - rooted in Sacred Scripture, in silence, and in the timeless flow of liturgy - is an offering to God in union with the prayer of the Church. Our life in community, in which we seek God together following the age-old yet ever-new way of St. Benedict, offers the world a witness to Christian love in an age of warfare and violence, and stability in an age of transiencevand instability. 



St. Benedict counsels perseverance and faithfulness to the monastic path and teaches us that "as we progress in the monastic life and in faith, our hearts will swell with the unspeakable sweetness of love."  Indeed, our hearts are full.