"All guests are to be received as Christ.”
(Rule of Benedict 53:1)
Our Benedictine charism overflows into the ministry of hospitality, supported by a deep desire to share with others the peace of Christ. In 1976, this desire found expression in the establishment of a retreat ministry on the grounds of Sacred Heart Monastery. For over thirty years, the ministry of the Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center in Cullman, Alabama has grown steadily as men and women, old and young, Protestant and Catholic, find their way to Sacred Heart. Some guests arrive seeking solitude for personal spiritual renewal. Others gather for community faith sharing. Some choose to attend one-day programs and luncheon meetings. Still others participate in overnight events of varying length. Annually, the Retreat Center welcomes and serves over 2,000 retreatants and guests.
As a ministry sponsored by the monastic community, the Sisters remain actively involved in the day-to-day activities that give the Retreat Center its own unique character. Currently, Sister Elisabeth Meadows, OSB, serves as the Director of the Retreat Center. She is supported by Sister Janet Marie Flemming, OSB, Prioress, and an Advisory Board made up of Sisters, clergy, and laity. The Retreat Center Team assists the Director as a collaborative group to discuss, propose, and evaluate the various programs offered by the Retreat Center. Other Sisters are involved as spiritual directors, retreat leaders, and assisting with Retreat Center functions such as program registration and meal service. Community members also eagerly assist guests who join the Sisters for the Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharist in the monastery chapel. Most importantly, the Sisters hold all of our guests and their intentions in prayer during their time with us.
Sister Elisabeth Meadows, OSB
Head of Housekeeping
and Food Service
Located one hour north of Birmingham in the Northern Lakes area of Alabama, approximately three miles east of Interstate 65 - click for printable driving directions (pdf)