Ask a Frat

Ask a Frat

Sometimes it is helpful to ask questions of those currently in the discernment or formation process. We invite you to ask our Norbertine men in formation (fraters) any question you might have regarding the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey, religious life, or discernment. this is revised

What’s a typical day in the life of a Norbertine?

It’s hard to say that anything is “typical” given the great needs of the local Church. However, Norbertines of St. Norbert Abbey are very committed to our common life and daily prayer, along with our ministerial responsibilities.

So, each morning Norbertines gather in the choir stalls within the St. Norbert Abbey church to sing Morning Prayer (Lauds). After that, the guys head off to their respective ministry assignments with varied responsibilities.

Men who are home at Noon gather in the chapter room for a few quiet moments of prayer. As the abbey bells mark the noon hour, the community prays the Angelus, followed by Midday Prayer. Then we return to our daily tasks.

During the week, at the end of the afternoon, we gather for Mass—celebrating the “source and summit” of our faith. Following Mass, we move into Evening Prayer (Vespers). In this way, we can reflect upon the day’s events and bring the petitions and needs to the Lord in prayer, thankful for the many experiences of the day.

Following the evening rites, we gather in the community room for some sharing and fraternity before we move to the dining room for dinner.

Of course, there are always events and responsibilities that can take us away from this routine. For many of us, however, when we’re absent from these important moments with our community members, it feels as though something is missing. Our common prayer schedule is truly the heartbeat of our community and is what gives us the dedication to continue to serve the local Church in Jesus’ name.

Why are daily common prayer, Eucharist, and table central to Norbertine life?

Fr. Bradley Vanden Branden, O. Praem.

Fr. Bradley Vanden Branden, O. Praem.

Response from Fr. Bradley Vanden Branden, O. Praem.

On June 4, 2016, Bradley Vanden Branden, O. Praem., was ordained to the priesthood.

Having grown up around the Norbertines of St. Norbert Abbey, I have always been inspired by the commitment to community life these men have made. And now, being a Norbertine myself, I can understand why community is such an important part of our lives.

From what I have learned in my years here, community life is about more than just living together. Through our common prayer, we are able to pray with and for one another, especially through difficult times, such as sickness or struggle.

Our common prayer also continues when we gather at Mass together. Here we are transformed and energized to carry the mission of Jesus Christ into the world through our various ministries.

Finally, our common life includes our dining together at meal times. It is at meals that many stories are shared of the day or of years past, and thus we are able to more fully connect with each other and unwind after a day full of ministry, only to be re-energized for another day of service to the good and holy people of God.

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