House Bernard

Patron: Blessed Pierre Giorgio Frassati


“To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing.”


The House of Bernard, established in 2015, is named in honor of St. Bernard Abbey located in Cullman, Alabama. Saint Bernard Abbey is a monastery of Catholic Benedictine monks, who strive to seek the love of God and neighbor through lives of prayer and work,


In the 1840s monks from Metten Abbey in Germany, a monastery founded c. 700 A.D., came to America to plant the Benedictine monastic life in the United States and to minister to the growing German-speaking immigrant population. St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, became the first foundation, and in the 1870s monks from St. Vincent were sent to Alabama to serve the needs of German Catholics here. In 1891 those monks gathered to establish St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman, Alabama. One year later, 1892, a school was opened at the new Abbey.


At overlapping intervals from 1892 to 1979 the monks operated a high school, junior college, four-year college, and seminary. The present St. Bernard Preparatory School, opened in 1984, is the recipient of this Catholic educational heritage.


The House of Bernard endeavors to continue a course of academic excellence in accordance with the Benedictine tradition of love of God and neighbor through the House of Bernard motto, Ductus Exemplo! Lead by Example!


House Crest [as approved by House Members (2/11/15)]


The Crest design represents:

  • The House of Bernard Colors, Blue & Gold
  • Our Patron Saint, Blessed Pierre Giorgio by the Mountains and Rampant Lions with Climbing Hammers
  • The Cross of Christ which Covers All Members
  • The Red Stripes symbolic of the Blood of Christ, Isaiah 53:5
  • The White Stripe symbolic of our cleansing by the Blood of Christ
  • The “B” for St. Bernard, Benedictine Order and House of Bernard
  • Our Motto in Latin: Lead By Example


House of Bernard Patron Saint


The Patron Saint of the House of Bernard, as chosen by House members, is the Blessed Pierre Giorgio. (1901 – 1925) He was dedicated to works of social action, charity, prayer and community. He was involved with Catholic youth and student groups, the Apostleship of Prayer, Catholic Action, and was a third order Dominican.


Young people today who are looking for a role model will find someone to identify with in this vibrant young outdoorsman who combined a deep love for Christ, a desire to serve the needy, and a mission to imbue society and politics with Christian ideals.


He made it a regular habit upon returning from skiing to visit the Blessed Sacrament, and attending Mass before going to the mountains. He wrote to a friend, “I left my heart on the mountain peaks and I hope to retrieve it this summer when I climb Mt. Blanc. If my studies permitted, I would spend whole days on the mountains admiring in that pure atmosphere the magnificence of God.”


In late June 1925, Pier Giorgio was afflicted by an acute attack of poliomyelitis which doctors later speculated he caught from the poor and sick whom he tended. Neglecting his own health because his grandmother was dying, his illness was too advanced for anyone to treat when doctors discovered how weak he was. Pier Giorgio died on July 4, 1925, at the age of 24.


The cause for canonization was opened in 1932 and he was beatified on May 20, 1990. Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati’s feast day is July 4.


All students, faculty, and staff here at St. Bernard are divided into one of eight houses, each being named after a Benedictine monastery (Anselmo, Bernard, Clairvaux, Cluny, Metten, Monte Cassino, Subiaco, and Vincent). The House System is intended to pull students together across class divisions, increase school spirit, and provide leadership opportunities for our students. Every year, the houses will plan and carry out a service project and social event. Throughout the year, they will compete for house points, earning privileges and ultimately trying to become the year’s House Champion. Students from each house have chosen a patron saint, motto, and crest. In keeping with the Year of Mercy, this year, each house will complete a project for each of the 7 Corporal Works of Mercy.