Norbertine News


Crossing the Finish Line

October 12, 2017

By Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem.

Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem. (left), and Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem. (left), and Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

On Sunday, October 8, 2017, I ran my third Chicago Marathon. What was unique to this Chicago Marathon for me is that my brother, Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem., ran it with me. 2017 marked the 40th Anniversary of the Chicago Marathon, and it just so happened that Fr. Mike was turning 40, too! A nice celebration to bring in four decades of life.

We not only raced in the marathon, but also ran with a group from a parish at which we both ministered during our 2016-2017 academic year. Old St. Pat’s has a running group, “The Crossroads Runners,” which we helped raise $3,000, collectively, for charities associated with the parish:

  • North Lawndale Kinship Initiative
  • Harmony Hope & Healing
  • Career Transitions Center
  • Horizons for Youth

While “Old Man” Fr. Mike was probably excited just to finish the race (just kidding—he did really well for a 40-year-old, finishing in 4:31.39!), I was excited to exceed my goal of completing the marathon in three hours flat: I was able to finish the marathon in 2:58.29, allowing me to qualify for the Boston Marathon … something to which I assume all runners hope to aspire.

In many ways, running is like the ascetic life we live in common as Brothers in Norbert …

—Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem.

I am thankful for all of the support I have received from friends, family, friends of St. Norbert Abbey, and those who helped me achieve my fundraising goal. As Fr. Mike can attest, the summer was filled with a lot of early mornings trying to sneak in our long-runs before Morning Prayer, but it was all worth it in crossing the finish line.

In many ways, running is like the ascetic life we live in common as Brothers in Norbert; my hope is that the life I lead in community with my brothers at the abbey will lead me and others “in one mind and one heart” to the finish line of eternity with God.

Canons on the Run

Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem., and Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem., are hosts of St. Norbert Abbey’s podcast, Canons on the Run. Inspiration for the podcast title was conceived from the idea that not only are hosts 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.

Listen now »

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Prayer at St. Norbert Abbey for the Victims of the Las Vegas Tragedy

October 3, 2017

Vigil

On Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 7-8 p.m., the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey is offering sacred space for prayer and remembrance of the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas, and for an end to violence in our nation and world. All are welcome to join us for this opportunity for silence, music, and reflection.

If you have any questions, please contact the Norbertine Center for Spirituality office at 920.337.4315.

View event details »

St. Norbert College Art Faculty Triennial Exhibition

October 2, 2017

Priest-artist-teacher Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

Priest-artist-teacher Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

From August 28 through September 22, 2017, Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem., professor of art at St. Norbert College, exhibited a collection of new sculptures in the Baer Gallery within the Bush Art Center on campus.

Artist Statement

Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

This collection of new work gives expression to my belief that we do well, always and everywhere, to deeply consider the value and beauty of that which seemingly might no longer be thought useful or attractive. In other words, I believe we too quickly remove and dispose of things that have much yet to say and reveal to the world. Therefore, I champion the use of materials that are wonderfully weathered and have been joyfully and seriously used, over and over again, so much so that they have achieved a patina only time can produce. It’s the incredible surface texture of “old things” that are beautiful to me; they declare they’ve been loved, needed, and used. This “memory” is worth preserving and I like to re-present such things as “three-dimensional collages.”

There is a definite and intentional element of “play” in the construction of many of these new works; far too often the “hard work of play” is downplayed (no pun intended!) when it comes to serious art—the very natural tendency we all exhibit as children to build things (forts with couch cushions, towers with boxes, etc.) is stifled too early in life. So in lieu of pulling out a can of Lincoln Logs, I collect objects and playfully build and unbuild new works until they seem to be “finished.”

I like the idea of unexpected juxtapositions; of ideas and materials that might seem contrary or contradictory, and seeing what happens when they’re bound together. For example, in Trypanophobia, I’ve combined syringes and hypodermic needles with 19th-century architectural spires (once part of a wooden altar in a Catholic church but discarded in a 1969 renovation project). To me, the shape of the spire, with its spear-point, anticipates the shape of the syringe and needle, inclining me to optimistically wonder how this particular shape suggests healing, restoration, and new life. This integration of objects of science and religion become a visual treatise in the goodness of a shared or mutual approach to living a happy, healthy life.

It’s the incredible surface texture of ‘old things’ that are beautiful to me; they declare they’ve been loved, needed, and used.

—Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

I have extended a decades-old inquiry into deaccessioned books as primary medium and am now exploring a new method of altering the appearance of the book to suggest new ways of being indebted to books as sources of inspiration, hope, and delight. Au is a “combine” wherein an old wooden drum (found in the trash outside a renovated foundry) holds a number of books revealing the gold-edges of the pages, with a nod to the art of Renaissance tondo paintings and the scientific process of discerning information via lateral cross-sections.

Ghost Town in an assemblage of materials gleaned from houses that once made up the neighborhood in and around the campus of St. Norbert College. Architectural elements from porches, staircases, and doorways are stacked and placed next to and upon wooden boxes and the remnants of an old circus-train to create a sculpture that evokes thoughts and ideas of small towns across the country and how “relics” of such old spaces-and-places can be preserved within a new work of art.

A Closer Look

Below are descriptions for each work of art.

Au

Au

Title: Au

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Books and Wood
Size of Work (H x W x D): 18 x 18 x 6
Insurance Value of Work: $200
Special Handling Requirements: None

Ghost Town

Ghost Town

Title: Ghost Town

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Mixed Medium
Size of Work (H x W x D): 102 x 66 x 24
Insurance Value of Work: $500
Special Handling Requirements: None

Text Visualization

Text Visualization

Title: Text Visualization

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Books and Wood
Size of Work (H x W x D): 24 x 20 x 5
Insurance Value of Work: $200
Special Handling Requirements: None

The Jules Ferry Laws

The Jules Ferry Laws

Title: The Jules Ferry Laws

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Mixed Medium
Size of Work (H x W x D): 27 x 23 x 5
Insurance Value of Work: $250
Special Handling Requirements: None

Easy Cake Decorating Ideas

Easy Cake Decorating Ideas

Title: Easy Cake Decorating Ideas

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Mixed Media
Size of Work (H x W x D): 80 x 28 x 28
Insurance Value of Work: $100
Special Handling Requirements: Suspended from ceiling

Synesthesia

Synesthesia

Title: Synesthesia

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Mixed Medium
Size of Work (H x W x D): 60 x 36 x 5
Insurance Value of Work: $500
Special Handling Requirements: Heavy

Trypanophobia

Trypanophobia

Title: Trypanophobia

Artist: James P. Neilson, O. Praem.
Date of Work: 2017
Medium: Syringes, Needles, and Wood
Size of Work (H x W x D): Dimensions Variable
Insurance Value of Work: $500
Special Handling Requirements: Work is attached to shelves (that are attached to the wall)


More about Fr. Neilson

  • Colleague + Friend
    Lessons on Virtuous Friendship by Dr. Paul Wadell
    By Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

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