Tag Archives: St Norbert

Saint Norbert

St Norbert detailBrian Fitzgerald’s 2014 essay, “Teaching by Word and Example: St Norbert of Xanten”(Crisis Magazine online) gives an insightful glimpse into a man we in the USA don’t know too much about but who continues to impact the way we live our common Catholic faith in communio. In some ways, the 11th century Norbert was a new “St Paul.” His contemporary Saint Bernard of Clairvaulx called Norbert “heavenly water pipe” yet no word of his survives these centuries. Norbert founded a community of canons who followed the Rule of St Augustine which adhered to the idea: “docere verbo et exemplo” (to teach by word and example).

Several things that we ought to clue-in on from Norbert:

1. the centrality of preaching and Liturgy to the apostolic life;
2. the unity of the active and contemplative lives, the “mixed life”
3. Christians are to be “imitators of Christ’s disciples”
4. the Christian faith makes sense only in the communal aspect.

Saint Norbert, pray for us.

Saint Norbert

St Norbert with Eucharist and olive branch

This hymn text by J. Michael Thompson was published before, but it bears repeating again because as a prayer, it names the desires of the heart and puts us in right-relation to the Lord through the life of Saint Norbert.

“I myself shall lead my sheep,
Guarding them from danger;
They shall hear and follow me,
Not go with a stranger.
Into pastures rich and green—
God the Lord has spoken—
I shall bring my Israel,
With my love as token.”

Norbert, father of his flock,
Took to heart this warning,
And in all his works and words
Toiled from night to morning.
Guiding all within his cure,
He took time to nourish
With the love of Christ most fair,
Causing souls to flourish.

Father of the canon’s life,
Bishop of his city,
Prayed before the Eucharist,
Served the poor with pity.
Crowned a sacrificial life
With a death of glory;
Now we join with saints above
To retell his story!

Glory to the Father give,
Source of ev’ry blessing,
Glory to the Son we sing,
Who, our wrongs addressing,
Came to us as one of us!
To the Spirit, praises!
Hear the songs of thankfulness
Each believer raises!

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications
76 76 D

Norbertine sisters bless new monastery

Norbertine SistersThis past summer –so this is old news for some– the Sisters of the Mountain, the Norbertine Canonesses, established the first monastery for women in the USA. The Norbertine vocation is different from being a Dominican, Augustinian or Benedictine.

The new monastery, The Bethlehem Priory of St Joseph, is located in Tehachapi, California. A life of seclusion, separated from the outside world, opens the door to do the Lord’s work of prayer and sacrifice for the salvation of souls.

A seven minute video by a local news station did a very nice profile of the Canonesses giving a glimpse of the Norbertine vocation and the making of a monastery. How often do you hear of this type of news? I recommend it…

A print article on the monastery blessing is covered here.

Why is this important? It’s not. At least it is not important on the secular level. But, on the supernatural level, the new monastery’s creation and blessing is sign of God’s Providence and humanity’s response. On this level, a monastery is a place of healing, spiritual and intellectual growth, it is a place to do spiritual battle. The monastic presence is a sign for all Christians of the building of the Kingdom of God on earth so that we may enjoy God in heaven.

May God grant success to the work of their hands. May the Holy Theotokos, St Joseph and St Norbert protect.

A new Jesuit saint: Peter Faber

Peter FaberOn November 26, 2013, I noted here that Pope Francis was going to canonize a Jesuit beatus known mostly by Jesuits. His name was thrust into the lime light by Francis when he spoke about Faber in the summer interview with Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro. The interview revealed that the Pope loves Blessed Peter Faber:

“Faber’s “dialogue with all, even the most remote and even with his opponents; his simple piety, a certain naïveté perhaps; his being available straightaway; his careful interior discernment; the fact that he was a man capable of great and strong decisions but also capable of being so gentle and loving.”

John Allen quotes Stefania Falasca, who referred to Blessed Peter Faber as “an important reference point for understanding the Pope’s leadership style.”

Today, in a private audience, the Pope met with Angelo Cardinal Amato, SDB, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, in which he gave us a new saint. Peter Faber is keenly remembered by the Jesuits as being among the early companions of Saint Ignatius, and very proficient in giving Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises; he died in Rome on 1 August 1546.

Some are likely wondering how can this papal act come about without the proper process of further investigation of miracles and the like. From New Advent we read:

 Equivalent canonization occurs when the pope, omitting the judicial process and the ceremonies, orders some servant of God to be venerated in the Universal Church; this happens when such a saint has been from a remote period the object of veneration, when his heroic virtues (or martyrdom) and miracles are related by reliable historians, and the fame of his miraculous intercession is uninterrupted. Many examples of such canonization are to be found in Benedict XIV; e.g. Saints Romuald, Norbert, Bruno, Peter Nolasco, Raymond Nonnatus, John of Matha, Felix of Valois, Queen Margaret of Scotland, King Stephen of Hungary, Wenceslaus Duke of Bohemia, and Gregory VII. Such instances afford a good proof of the caution with which the Roman Church proceeds in these equivalent canonizations. St. Romuald was not canonized until 439 years after his death, and the honour came to him sooner than to any of the others mentioned. We may add that this equivalent canonization consists usually in the ordering of an Office and Mass by the pope in honour of the saint, and that mere enrollment in the Roman Martyrology does not by any means imply this honour (Benedict XIV, l, c., xliii, no 14).

It would be smart to remember that formula was used for the equivalent canonization of Saint Hildegard of Bingen by Pope Benedict XVI; he also declared her a Doctor of the Church.

Litany in honor of St Norbert

St Norbert founder and bishop.jpg

The Litany in honor of our holy father Saint Norbert

Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, have mercy on us,
Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, hear us,
Christ, graciously hear us,

God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us,
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God, the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,

Holy Mary, pray for us,
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of virgins,
Queen of the White-robed Order,

Thou who had a great love for St. Norbert,
Holy Father Norbert, pray for us,

St. Norbert, whose birth was foretold from Heaven,
St. Norbert, who was marvellously converted by God,
St. Norbert, mirror of true penance,
St. Norbert, who did trample earthly pomps under foot,
St. Norbert, despiser of the world,
St. Norbert, who did conquer thy passions and affections,
St. Norbert, who did gain the victory over temptations,
St. Norbert, who did quell and cast down devils,
St. Norbert, restorer of peace and concord,
St. Norbert, who did walk barefoot,
St. Norbert, who did practise mortification,
St. Norbert, lover of the Cross,
St. Norbert, pattern of abstinence,
St. Norbert, most strict observer of fasting,
St. Norbert, who did yourself practice and teach silence,
St. Norbert, who did receive the white habit from the Mother of God,
St. Norbert, most constant in faith,
St. Norbert, most firm in hope,
St. Norbert, most fervent in charity,
St. Norbert, zealous lover of chastity,
St. Norbert, model of poverty,
St. Norbert, mirror of obedience,
St. Norbert, vigilant teacher of discipline,

St. Norbert, defender of the true faith,
St. Norbert, choice vindicator of the Blessed Sacrament,
St. Norbert, pillar of the Catholic Church,
St. Norbert, flower of sanctity and brightness of all virtue,
St. Norbert, light of prayer and contemplation,
St. Norbert, pattern of perfection,
St. Norbert, leader of the white-robed army,
St. Norbert, patriarch of the Premonstratensians,
St. Norbert, father and protector of thy Order,
St. Norbert, primate of Germany,
St. Norbert, worker of miracles,
St. Norbert, wonderful Discerner of spirits,
St. Norbert, imitator of Jesus Christ,
St. Norbert, follower of the Apostles,
St. Norbert, who was like to the Martyrs,
St. Norbert, gem of Pontiffs,
St. Norbert, Glory of Confessors,
St. Norbert, companion of virgins,
St. Norbert, colleague of all Saints,
St. Norbert, admirable in his translation,

Be merciful, spare us, O Lord, 
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord, 

From the neglect of Thy commandments, deliver us, O Lord, 
From the transgression of our vows,
From uncleanness of mind and body,
From the spirit of fornication,
From a proud and sad spirit,
From the snares of the devil,
From overwhelming temptation,
From the disorder of our passions,
From the blindness of self-love,
From the obstinacy of self-will,
From an evil and unprovided death,

Through the wonderful conversion of St. Norbert,
Through his austere penance,
Through his ardent zeal in preaching,
Through his exemplary life,
Through all his virtues,
Through his holy death,
Through his wonderful translation,
Through his glorious crown in Heaven,
Through his merits and intercession,
We sinners, beseech Thee, hear us,  

That Thou would grant us true sorrow and contrition of heart, we beseech Thee, hear us, 
That Thou would grant us a true conversion of life,
That Thou would grant us obedience to our Rule and preserve us in the same,
That Thou would make faith, hope and charity to grow in us,
That Thou would make us zealous observers of our three vows,
That Thou would grant us the gift of prayer,
That Thou would bestow upon us the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit,
That Thou would vouchsafe to govern and preserve Thy holy Church,
That Thou would vouchsafe to extend and preserve the Premonstratensian Order,
That Thou would vouchsafe to strengthen the Abbot General and all the Abbots of the Order with a perfect spirit,
That Thou would vouchsafe to grant us the crown of perseverance,
That Thou would give grace to the living and to the departed eternal rest,

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord, 
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Christ hear us,

Christ graciously hear us,
Lord have mercy on us,
Christ, have mercy on us,
Lord, have mercy on us,

(quietly)  Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us …

V.  And lead us not into temptation,
R.  But deliver us from evil.

V. Pray for us, O Holy Father Norbert,
R.  That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

V.  O Lord, hear my prayer,
R.  And let my cry come unto Thee.

V.  The Lord be with you,
R.  And also with you.

Let us pray.

O God, Who did make of Blessed Norbert, Thy Confessor and Bishop, an excellent preacher of the Word, and by his means did enrich Thy Church with new offspring, grant, we beseech Thee, that through his intercession we may put in practice by Thy grace what he taught us, both in word and work.

Awake, O Lord, in Thy Church the Spirit by Whom St. Norbert, Thy Confessor and Bishop was guided, in order that, filled with the same spirit, we may love what he loved and live as he taught us.

O Lord, grant to us Thy servant’s constancy in Thy faith and service, that, rooted in Divine charity, we may not be conquered by any temptation. Through Christ Our Lord.  Amen.

Praised be the Blessed Sacrament of the Altar and the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Praised be Jesus Christ.  Amen

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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