About Saint John's

It happened in January 1856 that six American bishops sent petitions to Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, OSB, for the introduction of the Benedictine Order and erection of monasteries in their diocese. This movement caused some perplexity. Widely divergent opinions and proposals were brought to the front in a chapter in which those applications were considered — one favored acceptance of this, another of that post. The Abbot listened, no conclusions were reached.

Early_Church_1.jpgFinally he arose and said: "We will commit the whole affair to the hands of God, that may He decide where we should make the beginning, I shall," said he, "write to each of the bishops and tell him our needs; i.e., the conditions upon which we will be able to correspond with his request. All of these letters I will mail at the same time and the first bishop who will reply satisfactorily shall have our priests."

And behold, the voice of God came from the West, from St. Paul, the most distant point which the mails only reached via Dubuque and thence per stage; from St. Paul came the first unconditional call for Benedictine monks.

 (Fr. Bruno Riss OSB (1829-1900) “The Earliest Years of Saint John's Abbey, 1856-1862”)

We, the monks of Saint John's Abbey, a community of Catholic Benedictine men, seek God through a common life of prayer, study, and work, giving witness to Christ and the Gospel, in service to the church and the world. Called together by Christ, we support each other under The Rule of Saint Benedict and our abbot. Our life together encourages learning, creativity in the arts and trades, and care for God's creation.

IMG_1249.jpgSaint John’s is a special and multifaceted place. From its early beginnings, it has been home to Saint John’s Abbey and University, the School of Theology·Seminary and the Preparatory School. Over the years, Saint John’s has become home to a number of other renowned institutions including: the Liturgical Press, the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish Christian Learning, the Arboretum, an indigenous pottery program, the first radio station in the Minnesota Public Radio network, an extraordinary rare book and art collection known as Arca Artium, and The Saint John’s Bible.


Located on a 2,500-acre tract of land, the Saint John’s campus is remarkable in both its natural and architectural beauty. It includes an extensive pine and hardwood forest, and oak savanna, a restored prairie and wetlands and several lakes.

Arranged in a series of quadrangles and courtyards to the north of Lake Sagatagan, the buildings at Saint John’s date from the 1860s. At the center of the Saint John’s campus is the Abbey Church, one of 10 campus buildings designed by Marcel Breuer. With its towering bell banner and three-story wall of stained glass, the Abbey Church is among the most striking pieces of 20th-century architecture.