Norbertines of Saint Norbert Abbey in De Pere, Wisconsin
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Norbertines of Saint Norbert Abbey

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Community: The Hallmark of Norbertine Life

Community is the hallmark of the Norbertine experience. The lived community of the Norbertine Order is rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Rule of St. Augustine, which calls Norbertines to be of "one heart and mind in Christ." Neither monks nor diocesan priests, the Norbertines, as Canons Regular, include ordained clergy and religious brothers who collaborate in a common ministry to a local church while living in common. There are a number of principles that underlie the Norbertine experience of community.

The key principles, the practice of which constitutes or builds up community, are:

First, the principle of common prayer: a witness and invitation to the liturgical prayer of the church, particularly as expressed in the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours.

Second, the principle of self-emptying service: a willingness to cede one's personal advantage for the good of the community, particularly as expressed in the generosity and discipline required to participate in the structures that support community life.

Third, the principle of collegiality: a firm commitment to government by consultation and to interdependence in decision-making.

Fourth, the principle of subsidiarity: an encouraged independence of sub-groups allowing decisions to be made and responsibility to rest where the issue can be competently handled.

Fifth, the principle of complementarity: an active cooperation with lay men and women whose often differing life experiences and competencies provide completion and enrichment.

These principles are fundamental to the Norbertine experience and to the continuing development of community at all Norbertine houses and apostolates.

Norbertines of Saint Norbert Abbey