Saint Norbert


While we were on retreat, you may have missed the fact that on the 28th May Premonstratensian communities all over the world began celebrating a Jubilee Year for the 900th anniversary of the Conversion of Saint Norbert.  Now most people today wouldn’t think twice about forgetting an event that took place 900 years ago.  After all, what purpose does it serve us in 2015?

And yet Saint Norbert’s conversion speaks to the heart of all of our lives, no matter who we are or what we do; whether we are lay, religious or cleric.  Like many founders of religious orders as a young man Norbert lived a very secular and selfish lifestyle, and this much to his mother Hedwig’s dismay, because when she was pregnant she received a prophecy that her son would be “great before God and men” (Vita B,  chapter 1).Like all of us, Saint Norbert was confronted with his own mortality, and with the great and terrible power of God.  Norbert’s conversion speaks to us as Christians and Religious because we too must ask God, each and every day, for the grace to be converted; every day we must pray to be delivered from evil and to do good.

The conversion of Saint Norbert’s heart was startling to be sure, but the effect on him was gradual.  The young Norbert knew that this conversion experience would have no effect on him unless he opened up his heart, his will, and his whole being to God.  When we make our religious vows we confess with our lips what we hope will penetrate into our whole being over many years of religious life.

As we struggle to live as Religious we are converted “gradually and slowly” just like Saint Norbert, Saint Dominic, Saint Francis and so many others who show us that following God’s will as Religious is possible, and that we can live long, happy and productive religious lives.

Saint Norbert, pray for us.


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