A limestone cross stands majestically in front of St. Gregory Hall. In 1922, the Benedictines were completing the construction of this new seminary building. Thomas McGrath, president of Interstate Cut Stone Company of Bedford, IN, encouraged the rector, Fr. Albert Kleber, OSB, to have a stone ornament built. He promised to donate the labor and talent of his craftsmen.
Fr. Albert designed the detail of the cross to celebrate the relation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to the Cross of Christ. This is accomplished through appropriate symbols and Latin text. Fr. Albert showed the design to Frederic Erhart, an architect and friend, who created a blueprint of it, drawn to scale, as his contribution to the monument.
McGrath donated the production of the cross, and Saint Meinrad paid for the materials. A special appeal to alumni helped to fund the project. The cross was solemnly blessed on May 9, 1924.
Our Lady’s Shrine near the monastery
This shrine with a statue of the Blessed Virgin was erected after the Fatima Week celebrations at Saint Meinrad during the week of August 7-15, 1947. In recent years, it has been moved to a quiet area between the monastery and the Guest House.
The Fatima Week liturgies and events drew about 250,000 people for Mass in the morning, sermons throughout the day, and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the evening. At that time, the statue of the “Pilgrim Virgin”—a replica of the Fatima Statue—was traveling throughout the country and made a stop at Saint Meinrad during that August week.
St. Bede Statue
This statue resides in a niche on the southwest side of St. Bede Hall. St. Bede was a monk/scholar in 8th-century England, perhaps the most learned man of his time in Western Europe. Yet the statue depicts him with a carpenter’s square.
Sculptor Herbert Jogerst, a stone carver displaced from his native Germany during World War II, had already placed the pedestal in the niche with the mark of a carpenter. So now St. Bede overlooks the lakes and playing field atop a carpenter’s mark.
In the 1940s, Abbot Ignatius Esser, OSB, intended to dedicate his new science building to St. Joseph the builder. When it became a general classroom building instead, the choice of the patron went to St. Bede.
Our Lady of the Press
Located at Abbey Press Plant 1, just off Indiana 545, the artwork was sculpted in the mid-1950s by German artist Herbert Jogerst. Commissioned by Fr. Paschal Boland, OSB, the Abbey Press’ general manager at that time, the statue is meant to represent the Abbey Press’ ever-present commitment to the Christian family in all of its functions.
The center of the statue features Mary and Jesus, reflecting Fr. Paschal’s personal dedication to the work of Our Lady. This image is flanked by St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, both of whom are shown illustrating the importance of spreading Christian values through the written word. It is made of limestone.
St. Joseph Shrine
Located on the Anderson River banks, the St. Joseph Shrine remains a quiet reminder of the common man’s place among the holy. The oak statue of St. Joseph was carved by Br. Herman Zwerger, OSB, and weighs nearly 1,400 pounds.
On May 29, 1949, Abbot Ignatius Esser, OSB, led a procession of about 3,000 people from the Abbey, across the valley, to dedicate the shrine. Abbot Ignatius spoke of the foster-father of Christ representing the hidden and unknown people who stand in the background of world news and events. After the blessing, a Pontifical Mass was held.
Our Lady of Fatima
In the 1950s, when the Abbey Art Studio was active, a large, nearly life-size statue of Our Lady of Fatima was commissioned for a church in Tennessee. It was to be the work of Br. Timothy Kennedy, OSB, in glazed ceramic and fired in the Abbey kiln.
Because of the size of the statue, a walk-in kiln was built for the project. In the first firing, the statue emerged defective, so a second, successful, figure was made and installed in the Tennessee church. The image on the southeast corner of the Placidium today is the defective first firing.
Virgin Mary Statue
A gentle path through the woods, on the west side of the lakes, leads to the shrine of the Virgin Mary. At one time, the shrine was surrounded by the Stations of the Cross, a project of the seminarians in the 1940s. A new set of Stations of the Cross was installed near the east side of the Archabbey Guest House and Retreat Center.
College Courtyard Sculpture
Bronze figures of Christ, a monk-teacher and a student look down on the College Courtyard. On a sandstone wall overlooking a reflecting pond, the sculpture is the work of alumnus Frank Bougher of Fort Wayne, IN.
The Christ figure, at six and a half feet, looks down on a monk in Benedictine habit holding an open book and a student with a book and drawing board nearby. The piece is called, “It is Good for Us to be Here,” taken from the disciple Peter’s declaration at Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountain.
Mr. Bougher donated his time and talent for the project. The foundry work was done by Scott Art Castings Inc. of Indianapolis. The sculpture was installed in 2002.
Our Lady's Shrine at Lake Placid
This shrine on the south side of the lakes, up in the trees, was one of the many projects of Fr. Herman Romoser, OSB, when he was rector of the Minor Seminary (1947-1965; the minor seminary corresponded to high school and the first two years of college). Although students helped, Fr. Herman himself laid the sandstone for the grotto and completed most of the mortar work.
The statue of the Blessed Mother was imported from Italy. The shrine was completed in the early 1960s. The shrine was a special place of honor for the Virgin, and had an altar on which Mass was celebrated, especially on days such as May Day, when students had the entire day free to participate in sports and swimming and enjoy a campfire and singing for evening entertainment.
Abbot Martin Marty statue
As part of Saint Meinrad’s celebration of its 150th anniversary, a statue honoring the community’s first abbot, Martin Marty, was installed on the front lawn of the monastery.
Artist Francisco Fonseca created the piece, which was put in place in September 2004. Martin Marty became abbot in 1870 and served until 1879.
The monastic cemetery was established in another location at Saint Meinrad in 1854, at the death (malaria) of one of the early monks, Fr. Eugene Schwerzmann, OSB. In 1861, a new cemetery was laid out, and the remains of four monks were exhumed and reburied in the new location. A decade later, circumstances required that a new cemetery be designated. The current site was begun in 1872. Historian Fr. Albert Kleber, OSB, notes that the cemetery “was enlarged and surrounded by a stone wall in 1946. Iron crosses that had marked the graves were replaced by small, compact stone crosses.” At the same time, the crucifix at the center of the cemetery was installed. The cemetery’s gates, featuring the Alpha and the Omega, were designed by Fr. Eric Lies, OSB.