Just West of Dade City on the shores of Lake Jovita sits a tiny town with a big history. St. Leo was founded in the late 1800s by Benedictine Monks and nuns, who built a monastery, a school and a church, all of which still stand - in various forms - today. Visitors to this beautiful area of east Pasco can tour the Holy Name Monastery, the St. Leo Abbey and St. Leo University to see many of the original buildings from the town's founding.
Not to be missed is the stunning Church of the Holy Cross, also known as the Abbey Church, with its gleaming white tower, red-tiled roof and stained glass windows. Just across the street sits another landmark from the town's Catholic heritage - the historic stone grotto, completed in 1916 and still used today for meditation and prayer.
When you're finished with the historical sites, nearby Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club is a great place to relax and unwind with a round of golf and dinner. Even the golf course has a history. The original Lake Jovita Golf Course opened in 1926.
Saint Leo University, near Pasco County’s San Antonio, is celebrating the 125th anniversary of its founding this year. Actually, there are three entities at Saint Leo that turned 125 — Saint Leo College, Saint Leo Abbey and Holy Name Priory. All three trace their beginnings to one man: Edmund Francis Dunne.