In December 1889, a small group of monks from Saint Meinrad Abbey in Indiana repeated the ancient process of establishing a monastery, "a school for the Lord's service," in southern Louisiana.

Over the past century, Saint Joseph Abbey has become an enduring presence in the Gulf South, etching in small strokes an indelible mark on local and regional history. The abbey has educated many of the region's civic and religious leaders. It has founded and staffed numerous parishes in the New Orleans and Northshore areas. It has had a significant impact on area culture by sponsoring and promoting programs in both liturgical and secular arts. And finally, Saint Joseph Abbey has maintained and cultivated an abiding spiritual presence in the community, which is manifested in its daily rhythms of prayer.

Day visitors will enjoy tours of the Abbey Church and monks' refectory, which were designated in 2007 in the National Register of Historic Places properties. In 1946, Abbot Columban Thuis commissioned the Benedictine artist Dom Gregory de Wit to execute a series of original murals in these buildings. The Dutch monk lived and worked at the abbey for 10 years as he painted the murals with mixtures that could withstand the humid climate. The magnificent results on the walls and ceilings have remained well-preserved and drawn lavish praise from critics and visitors alike.

Guests will benefit from the serene environment the monastic community has established. They may join the monks at dawn to pray Vigils and Lauds or chant Vespers at sunset. They may join the community's celebration of the Eucharist. Or they may simply sit quietly in the church and drink in the de Wit murals.