St. Leo, Florida: A Catholic Anomaly in Protestant "Cracker" Country


  • Harry J Schaleman, Jr.
  • Dewey M Stowers, Jr.


Located in west central Florida, St. Leo, the town, and St. Leo, the College lie approximately 25 miles north of the Tampa Bay metropolitan area and 65 miles west of Orlando. Both are located in the San Antonio area and are historically part of the original district settlement plan. Remote from the urban environment, St. Leo captures the calm and serenity of rural Florida. In an area of rolling hills, wooded countryside, and spring-fed lakes, an interesting religious community took root a century ago. St. Leo: the Abbey, College, Priory and Town, was recently designated a National Catholic Historic Site (Figures 1 and 2.