Rossey


Lenten Reading Suggestions

Lenten Reading

Looking for inspiring books that will enhance your Lenten journey? We asked a few prolific readers within the Norbertine community for suggestions. Below are their recommended titles.

Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.

Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection

By Pope Benedict XVI

Recommended by: Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., and Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.

Pope Benedict takes his readers through the familiar stories surrounding our Lord’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection while adding unique reflections and insights earned from a lifetime of study, prayer, and reflection. This book not only makes you rethink what you know of Jesus of Nazareth but also fall in love with him again.

Mysterium Paschale: The Mystery of Easter

By Hans Urs von Balthasar

Recommended by: Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

Named a cardinal of the Church by Pope (Saint) John Paul II shortly before he died, Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) was one of the great theologians of the post-Vatican II Church. Mysterium Paschale is one of Balthasar’s most influential works, especially for its unique take on Christ’s decent into hell. At times, this work can be a bit jargon-filled and difficult to read, but for those comfortable with theological language, it is a profound and worthy book.

Fr. Michael Weber, O. Praem.

Fr. Michael Weber, O. Praem.

Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI

By Pope Benedict XVI

Recommended by: Fr. Michael Weber, O. Praem.

I’ve used Pope Benedict’s devotional throughout the last couple of years for reflection. Although these are daily meditations throughout the year, they are particularly powerful, well written short reflections on Scripture passages—including Lenten messages.

Abbot Emeritus Jerome Tremel, O. Praem.

Abbot Emeritus Jerome Tremel, O. Praem.

The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully

By Joan D. Chittister, O.S.B.

Recommended by: Abbot Emeritus Jerome Tremel, O. Praem.

Grace and wisdom flow from some 40 short essays. A rich source of reflection for anyone approaching or experiencing the elder years.

Fr. James Herring, O. Praem.

Fr. James Herring, O. Praem.

i am through you so i

By Brother David Steindl-Rast

Recommended by: Fr. James Herring, O. Praem.

Brother David, one of the most significant spiritual teachers and international speakers of our era, tells his incomparable rich story spanning the nine decades of his life.

Brother David and his TED Talk also can be found online.

Written for Our Instruction: Theological and Spiritual Riches in Romans

By Thomas D. Stegman, SJ

Recommended by: Fr. James Herring, O. Praem.

This book sets forth and makes accessible an under-appreciated aspect of St. Paul’s theology on the life of the Spirit. In his letters, Paul often reminds his readers/hearers about the gift of the Spirit they have already received.

Everything Ablaze: Meditating on the Mystical Vision of Teilhard de Chardin

By David Richo

Recommended by: Fr. James Herring, O. Praem.

Richo describes our calling to discover the sacred heart of the universe, grow into planetary consciousness, and participate in the great work ahead of us. A rich resource for meditating.

—Ursula King
Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

By Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, with Douglas Abrams

Recommended by: Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

The author invites these two spiritual leaders and close friends to share their experiences of deep and abiding joy, most particularly in the face of profound suffering. This book has both confirmed and challenged my understanding of hope, joy, and suffering amidst the blessedness and brokenness of our shared humanity.

The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your TransformationThe Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation

By Richard Rohr with Mike Morrell

Recommended by: Fr. Michael Brennan, O. Praem.

Fr. Richard Rohr invites us to enter into one of the central tenets and mysteries of Christianity: our God is relationship, our God is community. Made in this image and likeness, we are invited to be transformed by our God, who constantly calls us into relationship. I’ve had this book on my shelf since late last summer; perhaps Lent will be the perfect time to jump in.

Between the Pages Book Discussion

Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 10-11 a.m.

Tony Pichler, director of the Norbertine Center for Spirituality at St. Norbert Abbey, is facilitating a book discussion on The Divine Dance. Details and registration »


Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem.

Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem.

iBreviary—Office of Readings

Recommended by: Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem.

When I start my day reading the Office of Readings, my heart is much more open to God’s presence throughout the day. Simply download the iBreviary app, click on “Breviary” and then select “Office of Readings.”

Hope for the Flowers

By Trina Paulus

Recommended by: Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem.

This simple book tells a beautiful allegory of letting go of our comforts in life and finding the courage to move through death to a life greater than anything we could have imagined. I find this book so insightful in reflecting on my own struggles, identifying what comforts I am holding on to that I may need to let go of, and visiting anew the need to give my life completely to God.

Fr. Stephen Rossey, O. Praem.

Fr. Stephen Rossey, O. Praem.

The Way of Gratitude: Readings for a Joyful Life

Editors: Michael Leach, James Keane, Doris Goodnough

Recommended by: Fr. Stephen Rossey, O. Praem.

The Way of Gratitude is a treasure trove of writings that inspire and prod one to think seriously about things that most of us just take for granted. The editors have assembled the writings of well-known authors who open the meaning of “gratitude” to make its practice useful and joyful. Authors such as James Martin, SJ, Henri Nouwen, Joan Chittister, O.S.B., and even David Brooks help you rethink your own response to gratitude.

Deacon Patrick LaPacz, O. Praem.

Deacon Patrick LaPacz, O. Praem.

The Magnificat Lenten Companion 2018

Recommended by: Deacon Patrick LaPacz, O. Praem.

This booklet contains reflections and short prayers for every day in Lent and helps keep one focused through one’s Lenten journey.

Frater Anh Tran, O. Praem.

Frater Anh Tran, O. Praem.

The Long Loneliness: An Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist

By Dorothy Day

Recommended by: Frater Anh Tran, O. Praem.

Through Dorothy Day’s autobiography of her life as a devout Catholic, a lover of Christ, and a tremendous champion for the poor, we gain insights regarding the call of true discipleship within our lives and the beauty of the Paschal Mystery.


More opportunities to celebrate the season of Lent at St. Norbert Abbey »

A Lifetime Friendship

As seen in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of Abbey Magazine (pages 4-6)

By Fr. Stephen Rossey, O. Praem.

Left to right: Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem., Fr. Xavier Colavechio, O. Praem., and Fr. Stephen Rossey, O. Praem.

Left to right: Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem., Fr. Xavier Colavechio, O. Praem., and Fr. Stephen Rossey, O. Praem.

“How would you feel about my tagging along?” At the time I never realized that simple question would lead to a lifetime friendship.

Fr. Xavier Colavechio, O. Praem., was planning a trip to Innsbruck, Austria, for a General Chapter of the order in 1968, a gathering of the Norbertine Order’s abbots and house delegates from around the world. I remarked that if I could tag along we could leave early and travel to European cities, churches, and museums before he went on to participate in the chapter meetings. For me it would be an occasion to see many of the places and objects about which I taught in art history classes, but had never really seen. For Xave it meant he could brush up on the numerous foreign languages he had learned during his student days in Rome and spend time with me, who knew something about art. It seemed like a win-win situation.

The trip was a great success. I could not have done it without Xave, as I knew no French, Dutch, or Italian. My friend’s previous trips had familiarized him with European train schedules and travel, menu selections, and cheap lodging. He knew how to barter, flatter, and cajole. He was a storehouse of knowledge: history, theology, philosophy, and national customs. Best of all, he was a great companion; he never complained about my idiosyncrasies. Whatever I wanted to see or do he made possible, with nary a complaint.

With my 1971 transfer to Archmere Academy, a college-prep high school founded by Abbot Bernard Pennings, O. Praem., just outside Wilmington, Delaware, again I called upon Xave to lend a helping hand as I endeavored to found an art department for the school. Student trips to Europe began in 1974 during the two-week Easter break. They were repeated each year, and in 1978 we spent a month in France with students. Xave set up the travel arrangements, booked the hotels, contacted our abbeys, and even drove a van.

While in France, we stopped at our Romanesque pilgrimage abbey of Conques. Conques is on the pilgrimage route from Paris to Santiago in Spain and is famous for its treasury of precious relics as well as an untouched architectural style. During a delightful tour of the church, I was able to crawl above the galleries to see where medieval pilgrims slept. Xave was able to arrange such a feat by promising to send colostomy bags from the U.S. to an infirm French confrere who was unable to get what he needed in France.

Left to right: Fr. Colavechio, Most Rev. Norbert Calmels, O. Praem. (Abbot General), Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem., and Fr. Rossey at the Norbertine Generalate in Rome

Left to right: Fr. Colavechio, Most Rev. Norbert Calmels, O. Praem. (Abbot General), Fr. Cuccia, and Fr. Rossey at the Norbertine Generalate in Rome

In 1979 Xave was granted a sabbatical from the St. Norbert College faculty. He studied at Oxford, and I accompanied him to attend classes and research the art and architecture that underlies the neo-renaissance villa of the Archmere Estate. Xave and I roomed and boarded at the Jesuit Campion Hall at Oxford, and by the end of the first term we rented our own flat in London, where Xave could do research at the British Library and I could spend hours at London’s many museums.

Here we soon found out that Xave was a much better cook than I, so my domestic duties were limited to laundry and house cleaning. It was a system that worked out very well. We spent our evenings watching Maggie Thatcher on the BBC and reminiscing on what we had seen and done each day. They were mutually rewarding days, to which our daily diaries attest.

We were fortunate to be in Florence for Easter and were invited to participate in the services at the cathedral. What a thrill it was to process down the main aisle with banners flying and bells ringing, cross the Duomo Piazza and enter the Baptistery through Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, for the chanting of Morning Prayer. Another thrill came when Cardinal Benelli asked us both to help distribute Holy Communion during the Mass. What a privilege it was.

Left to right: Fr. Cuccia, Fr. Colavechio, and Fr. Rossey mimicking the Laocoön in the Vatican Museum.

Left to right: Fr. Cuccia, Fr. Colavechio, and Fr. Rossey mimicking the Laocoön in the Vatican Museum.

Another General Chapter, this time at our Mother Abbey of Berne in Holland, was held in 1984, the 800th anniversary of Berne’s founding. Our travels by rail took us through Bayeux in France, where we all headed to the depot restrooms. Mine had a tank of water mounted near the ceiling with a pipe running down to a hole near footprints embedded in the concrete floor. The floor around the hole was littered with bits of toilet paper and hundreds of flies. I remarked what scoundrels these French are! After finishing my duty I pulled the chain to flush with the water stored in the tank. Little did I realize that the French had not flushed because there was a hole in the pipe—and just at chest height. The pressure from the water pinned me against the wall until the tank was empty and I exited from the restroom totally drenched. My companions had a laughing fit as I pulled dry clothes from my bags and emptied my shoes.

In 1989, with the Velvet Revolution and the fall of the Berlin Wall, we visited our abbeys in Eastern Europe, which had been under communist control for a half-century. This time Fr. Brian Prunty, O. Praem., and Fr. Salvatore Cuccia, O. Praem., joined Xave and me. New languages to decipher, devastated landscapes, old women dressed entirely in black, and ruined abbeys confronted us; yet it was edifying to see the courage and stamina of the few remaining confreres who had endured hardship for so long.

Left to right: Fr. Colavechio, Fr. Cuccia, and Fr. Rossey before Bernini's sculpture of the Moor in the Fountain of the Moor in the Piazza Navona in Rome, where we enjoyed eating Italian tartufo.

Left to right: Fr. Colavechio, Fr. Cuccia, and Fr. Rossey before Bernini’s sculpture of the Moor in the Fountain of the Moor in the Piazza Navona in Rome, where we enjoyed eating Italian tartufo.

My simple request to tag along almost 40 years ago has yielded me a lifetime of memories, for which I am most grateful. Xave’s companionship, quick wit, unbelievable patience, and enduring friendship have changed my life. From him I have learned to have faith and trust in others as well as myself. I believe our mutual friendship has made me what I am today.

What is most difficult for me to accept today is to witness the diminution of my brilliant, faithful companion as Alzheimer’s disease erases all memories of our wonderful times together. Tears well in my eyes as I witness Xave shuffle aimlessly up and down Xanten cloister, fumble through the pages of our monastic prayer book, and ask repeatedly, “What’s next?” and “What time is it now?” Those are questions he never would have asked in the heyday of our excursions. My role now is to help him find the right book, the right page, and the ever-meandering chant line. Now it’s my time to lead him instead of his leading me—and this is indeed a privilege.

You’ve been a good and faithful friend, Xave. You have taught me more than you will ever realize. I couldn’t have made it this far without the constant gift of you to me and to our community. “What’s next?” you ask. God’s final call is all I can envision. My prayer is that when that call comes I might be granted the privilege of tagging along once more.

Remembering Fr. Basil Reuss, 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. Below, several Norbertines share their thoughts about the headstones they selected and the impact that these respective Norbertines had on their lives.

Watch the video »

By Fr. Sebastian Schalk, O. Praem.

Fr. Basil Reuss, O. Praem.

Fr. Basil Reuss, O. Praem.

Fr. Basil Reuss, O. Praem. († March 20, 1959), had a special influence on my life in giving me a reason to profess temporary vows at the end of my two-year novitiate.

The story begins with my wanting to know if I was making the right decision to abandon my career as an engineer at the Western Electric Company in order to enter the Norbertine Order.

All of the fraters made a retreat every year in August, and in 1956 Fr. Reuss preached this retreat for second-year novices, who were preparing to profess their first vows on August 28. Something he said at one of the conferences encouraged me to consult him personally. His counsel gave me what I needed in order to profess the three-year vows with my classmates.

Remembering:

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