Saint Leo Abbey, Saint Leo College, and Holy Name Convent are Catholic institutions founded in 1889 on some of the most beautiful land in Florida. They are located in one of the few places in Florida with low rolling hills. This year on Saturday, June 13, 2009, the abbey will celebrate its 120th anniversary. If you live in Florida, a good historical event to attend.
Saint Leo Abbey is part of American-Cassinese Congregation — a group of Benedictine abbeys founded from Metten, Bavaria (Germany). The Benedictines are monks who follow the Rule of St. Benedict written about 530 AD by St. Benedict as the Roman Empire was disintegrating.
Saint Leo Abbey’s Church is the Church of the Holy Cross which took 12 years to complete (1936 to 1948).
The church is in the massive, rounded-arch style known as Lombardic-Romanesque — a style that developed in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy about 850 AD.
Lombardic-Romanesque style is sometimes called First Romanesque because of its place in the development of the later Romanesque style appearing in the 1100s AD which in turn evolved into the well-known Gothic style — pointed arches, ribbed vault, and the flying buttress. Gothic style gives a feel of height and light.
The Church’s interior has been painted for the first time, but the color scheme used existing colors from the Church. The effect is to enhance all architectural features and tie all elements together.
The Church of Holy Cross's Lombardic-Romanesque style conveys stability, peace, stillness, and quiet — just what I want when going on a spiritual retreat for the weekend or just a few hours to pray the divine office with the Benedictine monks.