Our History & Charism
Throughout our centuries-old history, Norbertines have had a consistent charter to be living examples of the “community of God,” spreading the good news of God’s love for humanity. We do this by living a simple, communal life, as close to Christian perfection as possible, while remaining very involved in the life of the Body of Christ outside our communities.
Norbertine lay associations have existed since the time of Norbert’s foundation of the order in 1121. Lay associates see their vocation as a calling to spiritual focus and commitment, just as priests, brothers, and sisters see their calling. They believe that their roles as associates are part of their journey toward eternal life.
One becomes a Norbertine Associate by attaching oneself to a Norbertine house of the order; in Wisconsin, this is St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere. It is necessary to attend regular monthly associate meetings and liturgies with the Norbertine community to remain spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and physically connected to the order.
The primary purpose of being a member of such a Norbertine community is to increase one’s holiness. This goal benefits all with whom the associate comes in contact. An important secondary goal is to permit the associate to participate fully and actively in the life of the community, thereby enriching it. Associates assist Norbertine communities in a variety of ways:
- By being themselves living examples of Christian life.
- By participating in the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours.
- By engaging in personal prayer on a daily or frequent basis.
- By staying actively involved in parish and diocesan activities.
- By assisting the Norbertine Volunteer Community.
The end result of this active involvement is an enhanced spiritual way of life. Individuals soon realize that they can make a difference: in themselves, in their families, in their local Norbertine communities, and in the world at large.
Loving Father, you have instilled in us a common love and desire to grow one in mind and heart with you. May we be sensitive to your presence throughout this day. We ask your continued blessings on all of your creation, particularly our families, friends, and Norbertine communities throughout the world. We seek this through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.