Inside 1016


Inside 1016: The “Scriptorium” of St. Norbert Abbey

As seen in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Abbey Magazine (pages 8, 12)

By Katrina Marshall, Gina Sanders Larsen, and Judy Turba

Ever Ancient, Ever New

From the outside looking in, St. Norbert Abbey seems timeless: the stone exterior, slate roof, 160 acres of natural and landscaped beauty, and the shining cross atop the iconic bell towerever ancient.

Yet within the walls of the abbey considerable activity is taking place: a massive renovation to meet the growing number entering the doors of the abbey and Norbertine Center for Spirituality; an unused space transformed into a state-of-the-art communication center; and a recently launched podcastever new.

Take a look inside 1016.


A quill pen in the hands of a scribe calls to mind the long Norbertine tradition of writing, preaching, and teaching in service to God.

A quill pen in the hands of a scribe calls to mind the long Norbertine tradition of writing, preaching, and teaching in service to God.

The new communications center of St. Norbert Abbey officially has been named the Scriptorium, a Latin term meaning “a place for writing.” Most European monasteries devoted a particular room to writing, copying, and illuminating manuscripts. But instead of monks hunched over desks with flickering candles and ink-spattering quill pens, within the Scriptorium of St. Norbert Abbey there is a flurry of primarily digital activity—podcast development, website updates, social media management, video editing, and magazine production.

The space in the lower level of the abbey originally housed a Norbertine print shop (St. Norbert Abbey Press) and most recently served as the headquarters of the (since-discontinued) Norbertine mail campaign. Newly renovated from floor to ceiling, the Scriptorium now contains various offices, a conference room, meeting spaces, a soundproof recording studio, and editing stations. All abbey publications are coordinated here, including innovative forms of vocation communication. In response to expanding vocation inquiries, there is an Office for Norbertine Vocations not only on the St. Norbert College campus, but also now within the Scriptorium at the abbey.

Katrina Marshall (left) and Judy Turba work together in the newly established Scriptorium at St. Norbert Abbey—the communications hub for all abbey publications and social media.

Katrina Marshall (left) and Judy Turba work together in the newly established Scriptorium at St. Norbert Abbey—the communications hub for all abbey publications and social media.

The offices of Judy Turba and Katrina Marshall are located within the Scriptorium. Turba, executive editor of Abbey Magazine, is involved with public relations and communications, including social media, website development, and video production oversight, and assists with strategic abbey initiatives and evangelization. Given her professional counseling background, Turba also is involved with vocation ministry, conducting behavioral assessments for incoming seminarians and coordinating orientation sessions for parents and families of Norbertines. Turba has been involved with Norbertine institutions for more than 34 years, most recently serving as director and co-director of the Norbertine Center for Spirituality, as well as counselor, educator, and administrator at Abbot Pennings High School, Notre Dame de la Baie Academy, and St. Norbert College.

The role of Marshall, assistant editor of Abbey Magazine, has been expanded to include overseeing all aspects of the website, designing all promotional materials, coordinating advertising and marketing initiatives, press releases, and writing for various publications. Marshall, a graduate of St. Norbert College, has been with St. Norbert Abbey for seven years.

St. Norbert Abbey Social Media Scene

  • Almost every day something new is updated on www.norbertines.org—from relevant blog posts written by Norbertines to vibrant images and compelling upcoming events at the Norbertine Center for Spirituality. Be sure to add “check abbey website” to your weekly to-do list as you seek to be inspired or simply informed.
  • Young Norbertines like Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem., theologian in priestly formation at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, a primary administrator of St. Norbert Abbey’s Facebook page, say their generation often chooses to read information electronically. Follow us!
  • On any given day, Fr. Bradley Vanden Branden, O. Praem., chaplain at Green Bay’s Notre Dame de la Baie Academy, connects with more and more people through Instagram (StNorbertAbbey), sharing the abbey’s unique culture and environment through intriguing images and words.
  • Having frequently used Twitter in his professional life before entering the Norbertine Order, Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem., second-year novice and ministerial intern at St. Norbert College and St. Willebrord Parish, is a natural fit as manager of the @StNorbertAbbey account. Follow us for responsive quips and Tweets.
  • Search for and subscribe to St. Norbert Abbey on YouTube and visit us on Vimeo (Norbertines), where you will find exclusive clips of abbey celebrations, sounds of the organ, Norbertine interviews, spiritual reflection videos, and more.

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Inside 1016: From Broadcast to Podcast

As seen in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Abbey Magazine (pages 8, 10-11)

By Katrina Marshall, Gina Sanders Larsen, and Judy Turba

Ever Ancient, Ever New

From the outside looking in, St. Norbert Abbey seems timeless: the stone exterior, slate roof, 160 acres of natural and landscaped beauty, and the shining cross atop the iconic bell towerever ancient.

Yet within the walls of the abbey considerable activity is taking place: a massive renovation to meet the growing number entering the doors of the abbey and Norbertine Center for Spirituality; an unused space transformed into a state-of-the-art communication center; and a recently launched podcast—ever new.

Take a look inside 1016.


Throughout the years, WBAY-TV held the number-one audience position among the three area television stations. St. Norbert Abbey employed more than 125 people to manage the thriving Green Bay stations alone.

However, by 1974, changes within the broadcast industry were looming. According to Abbot Emeritus Jerome Tremel, O. Praem., “Competition was heating up and Norbertine values were being compromised by the ever-increasing permissiveness in programming.” Given these concerns, Abbot Tremel, chairman of the board of the Norbertine broadcasting conglomerate, with the consent of his council, made the difficult decision to sell the Norbertine Order’s commercial broadcast properties.

Consistent with the mission of St. Norbert Abbey, the monies from that sale were used to endow St. Norbert College, Prémontré High School and Abbot Pennings High School (currently Notre Dame de la Baie Academy), and future retirement and seminarian needs within the order.

Fast-forward to 2017: three creative and energetic seminarians began discussing the possibility of developing St. Norbert Abbey podcasts: digital audio recordings available on the internet that can be downloaded and listened to on a computer or mobile device. Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem., Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem., and Frater Anh Tran, O. Praem., spent months researching and strategizing along with Katrina Marshall, abbey communications coordinator, and Judy Turba, abbey external relations and media advancement director.

“I listen to podcasts often, especially when exercising, traveling, or just doing simple chores, like laundry,” explained Frater Turba. “I started to wonder if this was something we could do—develop our own podcast as Norbertines. Sometime later, Jordan told me about a podcast assignment he was finishing at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. The timing was beautiful. It felt like God clearly said, ‘Yes! This is something you can and should do!’ ”

In October 2017, the St. Norbert Abbey podcast Canons on the Run was launched. Its mission: to proclaim the Gospel, to give witness to fraternal life as Norbertines, and to educate others in the Catholic faith through modern communication.

Inspiration for the podcast title, Canons on the Run, was conceived from the idea that not only are Frater Neeck and Frater Turba Canons Regular* but also runners (marathon runners for that matter), journeying together, as are we all, running the race that God has set before us.

Frater Neeck and Frater Turba serve as the primary hosts of the podcast, delightfully and unabashedly sharing their Catholic faith, relevant topics, a bit of abbey humor, and of course, some of their conversations that occur while running together.

“Jordan and I happen to do a lot of learning, reflecting, and growing while on our runs. We hope to capture parts of that journey and share our fraternal life with others as we all strive ‘to be of one mind and one heart on the way to God.’ ”

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*Canons Regular are members of a religious order who take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience; live in community under a rule (usually The Rule of St. Augustine); and share their property in common. The purpose of the life of a canon is to engage in the public ministry of the liturgy and the sacraments.

Heart & Soul: Norbertines and St. Norbert College Share Charisms, Values

As seen in the Fall/Winter 2017 issue of Abbey Magazine (pages 4-5)

By Gina Sanders Larsen and Judy Turba

(L-R) Frater Anh Tran, O. Praem. (front), Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem., President Brian Bruess, Abbot Gary Neville, O. Praem., Fr. James Herring, O. Praem. (standing), Fr. Tim Shillcox, O. Praem.

(L-R) Frater Anh Tran, O. Praem. (front), Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem., President Brian Bruess, Abbot Gary Neville, O. Praem., Fr. James Herring, O. Praem. (standing), Fr. Tim Shillcox, O. Praem.

They exist on opposite sides of the Fox River in De Pere, Wisconsin, but the unwavering bond between the Norbertines of St. Norbert Abbey and St. Norbert College is strong and unambiguous. A new college president, a re-energized campus parish, and an innovative first-year student experience illustrate the institutions’ steadfast connection, “to be of one mind and one heart on the way to God” (The Rule of St. Augustine).

With a warm and gracious greeting, Fr. James Baraniak, O. Praem., and Judy Turba met with Brian Bruess, recently named president of St. Norbert College (SNC), after his first month in office. During their time together, this most impressive 1990 SNC graduate shared thoughts about his journey, his vision for the college, and its connection to the Norbertine community, as well as what it means to come home.

Being an alum, I believe the stakes are higher for me as I serve in this role as president because St. Norbert College is not only a place I love but also a place that formed me.

—Brian Bruess

Brian Bruess, Ph.D., 50, eighth president of St. Norbert College, is only the second alumnus ever to serve in this role; Fr. Dennis Burke, O. Praem., was the first, and the similarities are striking. “Fr. Burke also followed an exceptional leader, Abbot (Bernard) Pennings, the founder of St. Norbert College,” said Bruess. “I, too, am following an outstanding and tremendously successful leader, Tom (Thomas) Kunkel. Needless to say, their extraordinary leadership is both intimidating and inspiring.” In fact, the year Bruess was born, Fr. Burke was retiring. Bruess remembers vividly from his years at the college a painting of Fr. Burke walking across the campus with then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy. “The image has stayed with me all of these years.”

Bruess’ excitement is palpable and contagious. He realizes he is inheriting the helm of one of the top-ranked Catholic liberal arts colleges in the country. “Being an alum, I believe the stakes are higher for me because St. Norbert College is not only a place I love but also a place that formed me. Here I began to contemplate a career in higher education through the encouragement of faculty and administrators. I have had opportunities to serve elsewhere, but I honestly feel called here. It’s my vocation.”

Bruess shared his deep commitment to the college’s mission: “St. Norbert College, a Catholic liberal arts college embracing the Norbertine ideal of communio, provides an educational environment that fosters intellectual, spiritual, and personal development.” The mission statement emphatically stresses the tripartite—Catholic, Norbertine, liberal arts—all of which are inseparable and equally important. “This is the only Norbertine college in the world, and society has never needed St. Norbert College graduates more than now. The charism here is rich and powerful, distinctive and transformational.” Through regular meetings with the abbot and members of the abbot’s council, he will envision with the Norbertine community how best to sustain this mission. “I feel significantly responsible to represent Norbertine values and ensure that these values are woven within all aspects of our education.”

Given Bruess’ experience in higher education, his highly regarded expertise, commitment to Norbertine values, and passion for his alma mater—the sky is the limit. He is ready to serve.

Meet Brian Bruess, SNC College President and Alumnus

President Brian Bruess

President Brian Bruess

President Brian Bruess received bachelor of arts degrees in sociology and psychology from St. Norbert College with master’s and doctoral degrees from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. He most recently served at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota, as executive vice president and chief operating officer. During his 21-year tenure there, he also was involved with enrollment management, finance, student affairs, and information technology. Bruess and his wife, Carol, also a 1990 graduate of St. Norbert College and most recently professor of communication and journalism at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, have two children: Gracie, a high school senior, and Tony, a Stanford University senior.

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