Norbertine Profiles

Community is the hallmark of Norbertine life, and from our community life flow various ministries, including:

  • pastoral and sacramental ministry
  • education and administration at Norbertine institutions
  • parochial ministry at parishes entrusted to the Norbertine community
  • hospitality and retreats
  • advocacy for and ministry to the poor and marginalized
  • prison and jail ministry
  • sports ministry
  • numerous unique ministries as needed in the local Church

The following Norbertines of the St. Norbert Abbey community share their stories about past and present work—at home and abroad.


Remembering Fr. Guy Guyon, O. Praem.

Cemetery Wreaths 2016“Come let us worship …”

For Christmas 2016, in a touching tribute to their confreres who have passed into God’s Eternal Kingdom, members of the Norbertine community placed a Christmas wreath on each headstone in the St. Norbert Abbey cemetery.

Watch the video »

By Fr. Stephen Rossey, O. Praem.

Fr. Guy Guyon, O. Praem.

Fr. Guy Guyon, O. Praem.

I chose to remember Fr. Guy Guyon, O. Praem. († December 4, 2003), because of my delightful times with him designing sets for his musicals. Several shows hold special memories:

  1. “South Pacific”: Guy wanted the proscenium arch flanked with palm trees. I designed trees that were stage height and each leaf took a full roll of crepe paper. I climbed to the top of the ladder to install the leafy structures and the ladder broke in the center and I came sliding down the wall. Lying on the floor, Guy ministered to my needs.
  1. “My Fair Lady”: Eric Butikus designed the sets: 22- and 14-foot revolving platforms with multiple sets on each occupied the stage floor. The large turntable had a circular staircase that was mounted from off-stage. Unfortunately, when the large table turned, it bumped the small table! Unnerved, Guy told Eric to redesign it. Eric refused and left the stage. Guy and I went to the gym with a large roll of butcher paper and laid out the drawing for each step to assure maximum clearing. It worked like a charm. The audience cheered when they witnessed the table turn and Eliza dismount the staircase! Guy could not have been more pleased.
  1. “Brigadoon”: Guy was delighted with my Arcadian dream scene of trees blooming with tissue-colored leaves.

We spent 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, from dawn to dusk, on-stage creating the sets, after which we adjourned to the priory kitchen to cook dinner together.

At rehearsals Guy sat in the top row of the balcony and would yell at the cast, “I can’t hear you!” He refused to use mikes or employ stand-in actors, in case someone became sick! Being a thespian myself I asked him not to be so hard on the kids. He complied as best he could.

Remembering:

Remembering Fr. Aaron Walschinski, O. Praem., and Fr. Alan Scheible, O. Praem.

Cemetery Wreaths 2016“Come let us worship …”

For Christmas 2016, in a touching tribute to their confreres who have passed into God’s Eternal Kingdom, members of the Norbertine community placed a Christmas wreath on each headstone in the St. Norbert Abbey cemetery.

Watch the video »

By Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.

Five days before Christmas, I joined several dozen Norbertine priests, brothers, and fraters in adorning the gravestones of our deceased Norbertine confreres. What drew me to help memorialize Fr. Aaron Walschinski, O. Praem. (“Fr. Wally,” † December 7, 1989), and Fr. Alan Scheible, O. Praem. († January 30, 2000)?

Fr. Wally and I were 26 years apart and Fr. Alan and I were 19 years apart—minor age differences in a community in which the pre-baby boom generation dominated. Age differences have never prevented me from becoming a close friend to another Norbertine. Though I was a dear friend to each man, the two were very different people.


Fr. Aaron "Wally" Walschinski, O. Praem.

Fr. Aaron “Wally” Walschinski, O. Praem.

Fr. Wally made me laugh. And, as a very serious person, I needed all of the amusement that I could get! We shared interests in library and archival work, and Dairy Queen Blizzard® Treats. Fr. Wally and I worked in the abbey library and archives together in 1988 and 1989. Abbot Benjamin Mackin, O. Praem., knowing my of interest in libraries and archives AND knowing of Fr. Wally’s declining health, asked me to assist Fr. Wally. Fr. Wally and I also spent time together with other Norbertines on our community property in Northern Wisconsin.

I enjoyed his memories of life in Philadelphia and as a St. Norbert College photographer. One of my fondest memories of this amiable Norbertine was at an annual “Steve Herro-Sponsored Brewers Outing.” About 20 Norbertines and Herros celebrated together. The tailgate party ended and we began to walk to our seats. My brother-in-law Andy, who is as sociable as Fr. Wally was, struck up a conversation with him, asking him his name, where he was from, etc. The two quickly realized that they shared a lot in common—including me! The party was more than 90 minutes long before the two realized that they were invited by the same person.


Fr. Alan Scheible, O. Praem. (right)

Fr. Alan Scheible, O. Praem. (right)

Fr. Alan and I had very similar personalities: serious, learned, introverted, and perfectionistic. We were both very disciplined in what we ate and how we exercised. Perhaps I shared my feelings with him more intimately than I did with any other Norbertine. He was a very provocative man, and he seemed to especially love to challenge the younger Norbertines to live our vows more authentically.

His years serving in low-income communities in Chicago (when he met a South Side community organizer named Barack Obama) have been a constant inspiration to me in my own ministry and discernment. He became seriously ill in 1998. I was seeking a new ministry in 1999 when I returned to De Pere to live and serve among my confreres. As my mother said when I shared Fr. Alan’s condition with her, “Maybe that is why God is calling you back to De Pere.”

Remembering:

Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem.

“Turn ‘Right’ ”

Fr. Cuccia celebrated the 50th anniversary of his priesthood ordination on June 6, 2016. In the presence of Norbertine confreres, friends, and family, he shared the following reflection at that night’s celebratory dinner.

Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem.

Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem.

Throughout the past 50 years I have always had the love and support of my family and friends, the support and encouragement of members of the community. As I was reflecting on this anniversary on the recent Norbertine Heritage Tour, the image of two roads came to mind: the road I was on, and God’s intersecting road of events and circumstances, which called me to turn “right.” It’s God’s road so it has to be a “right” turn.

Being the only son of a Sicilian family, I think my destiny was to carry on the family name. At one point I thought of becoming a mortician … I even knew the pose. I was from a Norbertine parish but had little knowledge about the order until my junior year when I met some novices and those studying at UW–Madison. That was the first “right” turn to De Pere.

The second came in 1963. Daylesford was going to become independent. Most of the members were Italian. Not many in Green Bay. During my discernment about joining the new abbey, I met a woman after Mass one Sunday who said, “You’re Italian so you must be from Philadelphia.” I told her I was from Madison. She said, “That’s strange, your kind usually are.” Okay, Lord. So I joined the new foundation.

After ordination I went to Marquette to finish studies for my Master’s degree. While there I lived at Misericordia Hospital and was chaplain at their home for unwed mothers. My teaching assignment came not to South Philadelphia, but the “right” turn took me to Claymont, Deleware, and Archmere Academy.

After 20 years the “right” turn took me to Rome and our Generalate, which led to a semester sabbatical at Louvain, Belgium, and the opportunity to visit a number of our European abbeys.

Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem., on June 6, 2016, the Solemnity of St. Norbert.

Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem., on June 6, 2016, the Solemnity of St. Norbert.

After many long-distance discussions with my abbot, I returned to Daylesford Abbey as director of liturgy. This was followed by two years in Washington, D.C., as master of professed.

The next “right” turn took me north to Baltimore and nine years as the associate pastor. When I would return to Wisconsin to visit my family, I would come here [to St. Norbert Abbey] for a visit. One Norbertine would always ask if I was here for a transitus—a transfer to St. Norbert Abbey. In 2000 I was here for a visit, saw him, and told him I was here for a transitus.

The “right” turn came in May of 2000 when I returned to De Pere, spent six weeks covering the parish in Albuquerque, then returned as the associate pastor of St. Norbert College (SNC) Parish and a member of the campus ministry team. For 10 years I was involved in an SNC men’s service trip to a homeless shelter in Philadelphia, which was like a roundabout with many of the roads coming together.

After 15 years I retired from the parish. Twenty-four years as associate pastor; there should be an award for probably the longest-serving associate in the history of the Church!

At the present time I serve as house superior and sub-prior. I am involved in planning the Norbertine Heritage Tours contacting the Norbertine houses. I work with Alumni and Parent Relations at the college. Only God knows when the next “right” turn will come.

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