Monday 28th July 2014

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Norbert

June 3, 2014 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

Studying the history of the Church or simply reading about the saints, we find that the development of spirituality through the centuries is strikingly consistent. Just as the understanding of doctrine has become more clearly defined through the centuries, spiritual practices have become more and more understood with such saints as St. Teresa of Avila, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Therese of Lisieux, and St. Francis of Assisi.
A noble from western Germany, St. Norbert, came before all of them — around the turn of the 12th century. Yet his life reveals that he started a third order and did a retreat with a general Confession similar to the third order of Franciscans and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.
Also like St. Ignatius, St. Norbert was a courtier, having been born (in 1080) of very noble lineage. His father, Heribert, count of Gennup, was related to the emperor, while his mother, Hedwig of Guise, was of the House of Lorraine. As such, he seemed to have little no motivation to do anything but enjoy the life at court.
Nevertheless, most likely because of his family connections, he received minor orders, the subdiaconate, and became a canon of St. Victor at Xanten, the place of his birth. Eventually, he became the almoner of the emperor, Henry V. He enjoyed the life of the nobility.
The next stage of his life is reminiscent of the conversion of St. Paul. Norbert and his companions were riding their horses through a forest during a storm, when there was bright flash of lightning. The horse reared with fright, dumping its rider on the ground. St. Norbert lay on the ground completely unconscious for more than an hour.
Finally, he came to and — like St. Paul — he exclaimed, “Lord, what wilt thou have me do?” Then he heard a voice say to him, “Turn from evil and do good: Seek after peace and pursue it.” Also like St. Paul, he experienced an immediate conversion, returning to Xanten for a life of prayer, fasting, meditation, and a lifetime examination of conscience.
In 1115, Archbishop Frederick of Cologne ordained Norbert. Since he had appeared in lambskin tied by a rope for his Ordination and practiced other austerities, he became known as an eccentric and was denounced to Pope Gelasius II. However, when Norbert presented himself to the Holy Father — having walked barefoot to kneel at his feet, given his general Confession, and offered to do whatever penance the Pope asked of him, the Pope told him to go and preach the Gospel.
He, barefoot in the middle of winter, set out with his companions to Valenciennes. Sadly, his companions all fell ill and died. Soon, the archbishop of Cambrai met him and, astounded at the change in the young man, released his chaplain, Hugh, to follow Norbert. Hugh later became the head of the order that Norbert would establish.
When the Pope died, Norbert sought to renew his papal commission. Instead he met with the bishop of Laon, who convinced him to come and reform the canons regular of St. Martin’s at Laon. Not surprisingly, the order resisted, whereupon the bishop offered a piece of unproductive land to Norbert and his 13 followers. This became known as Prémontré. By Christmas Day 1121, there in the valley, Norbert had 40 companions, all of whom made their vows.
Despite its austerity, the order spread quickly to other countries, becoming widely popular among both men and women. With two nunneries and eight abbeys, Norbert went to Rome in 1125 to seek approval from Pope Honorius II. Upon his return, the canons of St. Martin’s who had previously rejected him then sought to join him.
The concept of a third order for the laity most likely began with St. Norbert when Theobald, count of Champagne, asked to be admitted to the order. St. Norbert refused him, sensing that he should remain a layperson. Theobald accepted this decision when St. Norbert gave him the white scapular and a set of spiritual practices to observe.
When Theobald had arranged a marriage, he took Norbert with him to Germany to conclude the details. During this journey, they stopped at Speyer where the emperor was having a meeting. The representatives from Magdeburg begged the emperor to name Norbert their bishop. Thus Norbert became a bishop.
As Norbert was dressed in his usual simple garb, barefoot, and appearing to be destitute, the porter at the bishop’s residence refused to let him in, sending him to join the other beggars outside. When those who had followed him heard of this, they protested. Yet Norbert remained calm and told the man, “You have judged me more truly than those who brought me here!”
As Norbert worked to reform the many transgressions in his see, he met with great resistance. In fact, two or three times he barely escaped those who sought to kill him. Finally, Norbert decided to leave the city and abandon the people to their own devices. It was not long before they realized just how much they needed Norbert and begged him to return. From then on they were submissive to his authority.
He spent the rest of his time implementing the needed reforms, while at the same time overseeing the Premonstratensian houses through Blessed Hugh.
In 1130, when Pope Honorius II died, a schism developed in the Church as two different men claimed the papacy. Pietro Cardinal Pierleone took the name of Anacletus II — he was favored by the Romans. Gregorio Cardinal Papareschi took the name Innocent II, being favored by the French. With the support of St. Bernard, St. Hugh of Grenoble, and St. Norbert, the emperor, Lohair, declared his support for Pope Innocent II.
Despite the support of most of Europe, with the Romans supporting the antipope Anacletus II, Pope Innocent was unable to enter Rome. It was through the persuasion of Norbert that Lohair entered the city with the Pope in 1133. This marked the culmination of Norbert’s activities for the past 20 years. In that short span of time, he accomplished more than many do their entire lives. He died on June 6, 1134.
Pope Gregory XIII declared Norbert a saint in 1582. In 1627, his remains were moved to the Premonstratensian abbey in Bohemia. His feast day is celebrated on June 6.
Dear St. Norbert, lover of poverty, model of chastity and obedience, help us. Obtain for us, we pray, the grace to resist temptation, to sacrifice our wants and desires, and to lead pure and holy lives. May we follow your example of spiritual poverty so that we, too, may win more souls for the great Kingdom of Heaven. Amen.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

The Church Needs To Stop Taking Government Money

by ELISE HILTON on FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2014 Phil Lawler at CatholicCulture.org voices what should be obvious: that by taking federal money and grants, the Catholic Church has put herself in a very awkward place. Money from the government always comes with strings attached,…Continue Reading

U.S. Considering Refugee Status for Hondurans

By FRANCES ROBLES and MICHAEL D. SHEARJULY 24, 2014 Hoping to stem the recent surge of migrants at the Southwest border, the Obama administration is considering whether to allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras into the United States without making…Continue Reading

Marco Rubio To Take On Abortion and Gay Marriage in Catholic U Speech

Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) plans to take on social and cultural issues in the latest installment of his policy speeches outlining a new conservative agenda. “Senator Rubio will discuss the values needed for economic success in the 21st century: values like…Continue Reading

USCCB Chairmen Respond To ‘Unprecedented and Extreme’ Executive Order

The executive order prohibits “gender identity” discrimination, a prohibition that is previously unknown at the federal level, and that is predicated on the false idea that “gender” is nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality that can be…Continue Reading

Dallas-Fort Worth Catholic leaders appeal for legal help in border crisis

Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell (center) and Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson on Monday asked for volunteers to assist with a “humanitarian crisis.” By DIANNE SOLÍS Staff Writer dsolís@dallasnews.com Published: 21 July 2014 10:32 PM Updated: 22 July 2014 12:21 AM Dallas Catholic…Continue Reading

Iraq Catholic leader says Islamic State worse than Genghis Khan

By Dominic Evans and Raheem Salman BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The head of Iraq’s largest church said on Sunday that Islamic State militants who drove Christians out of Mosul were worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who…Continue Reading

CHRISTIAN HOLOCAUST UNDERWAY IN IRAQ, USA AND WORLD LOOK ON

When U.S. troops invaded Iraq in 2003, there were at least 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Over the last ten years, significantly in the last few months with the emergence of ISIS, that figure has dropped to about 400,000. In a…Continue Reading

Vancouver Catholic Schools Adopt Transgender Policy

James Keller, The Canadian Press Published Wednesday, July 16, 2014 7:20PM EDT Last Updated Thursday, July 17, 2014 7:24AM EDT VANCOUVER — Catholic schools in Vancouver have adopted a policy that could allow transgender students to use the pronouns, uniforms…Continue Reading

New Catholic Bishops Say Civil Disobedience OK If For Common Good

Newly appointed auxiliary bishops, two Catholic clergymen suggest Occupy Central could be just, while third weighs in on reform report St Two auxiliary bishops newly appointed by the Vatican have spoken out about the Occupy Central campaign, saying the church supports…Continue Reading

Skeptics And The Claims Of The Catholic Church Seventeen Reasons Scoffers Ought To Rethink Catholicism, If They Really Thought About It

July 11, 2014 05:09 EST By Thomas M. Doran In today’s world, isn’t it crazy to appeal to scoffers to consider Catholicism? Why would a rational modern man or woman in the 21st century be attracted to what the world and…Continue Reading

The Obama Administration’s Border-Crisis Plan B: Use the Catholic Church

The federal government reaches out to a California diocese to help shelter illegal immigrants in California. By Ryan Lovelace In order to avoid future clashes with the citizens of Murrieta, Calif., over attempts to transfer illegal immigrants there, the Obama administration has turned to…Continue Reading

A New Low For Liberals: Attacking Catholic Nuns Over Hobby Lobby

I’m a big fan of absurdity in politics. But even absurdity has its limits, and the National Organization for Women has surpassed it in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision inBurwell v. Hobby Lobby. As part of its full-throated…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

'From our friends at The Foundry'


Today . . .

Pope’s Angelus Address, Sunday July 27th

pope361

“Everything makes sense when you find this treasure, which Jesus called “the Kingdom of God,” that is, God reigning in your life, in our lives.” Vatican City, July 27, 2014 (Zenit.org) At 12pm today, Pope Francis appeared at the window of the study in the Apostolic Palace to pray the Angelus with faithful and pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square. Here below…Continue Reading

The Day Of The Hawk

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN The bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie was premeditated mass murder. Qadhafi was taking revenge for Reagan’s raid on Tripoli in 1986. The downing of KAL 007, flying from Anchorage to Seoul, was mass murder in the second degree. Seeing an aircraft intrude into Russian air space, Soviet officers brutally…Continue Reading

Will John Roberts Decide A “State” Is Not A “State”?

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY The Supreme Court may soon need to decide whether the federal government can be considered a “state” in our federal republic in the same sense that Iowa, Wyoming, and Wisconsin are states. On the face of it, this question may seem absurd. In fact, given any level of reflection, it is…Continue Reading

Assisted Suicide In England… Life And Death Under Debate

By FR. JOHN FLYNN, LC (Editor’s Note: Fr. Flynn is a columnist for ZENIT News Agency, which provided this commentary. All rights reserved.) +    +    + A bill to legalize assisted suicide has been introduced into Britain’s House of Lords by Lord Falconer, previously lord chancellor under Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair, and it is…Continue Reading

Anglican Women Bishops — An Obstacle To Unity?

By FR. DWIGHT LONGENECKER (Editor’s Note: Fr. Dwight Longenecker is an American who has spent most of his life living and working in England. He studied theology at Oxford University. He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest and served as a curate, a school chaplain in Cambridge, and a country parson on the Isle…Continue Reading

Homosexuality And The Future Of Marriage

By JOHN F. KIPPLEY (Editor’s Note: John F. Kippley is the author of Sex and the Marriage Covenant: A Basis for Morality and other books and articles. With his wife Sheila, he is a coauthor of Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach. The commentary below is reprinted with permission from his blog at johnkippley.com. All…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

A Leaven In The World . . . Iraqi Christian Witness In Face Of Genocide Inspires

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK “O Lord, my God, in thee have I put my trust; save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me. Lest at any time he seize upon my soul like a lion, while there is no one to redeem me, nor to save” (Psalm 7). The words of the psalm express the perennial…Continue Reading

Is The Rosary A Prayer Of “Vain Repetitions”?

By RAYMOND de SOUZA, KM Part 4 The Pharisee and the publican — improvised prayer and repetitive prayer: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and began to pray thus within himself: ‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of men,…Continue Reading

The Characteristics Of Faith

By DON FIER Faith, or the obedience of faith, was characterized in last week’s installment on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) as man’s most fitting and proper response to God’s self-revelation. Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, concisely defines this assent to all God has revealed as “the free submission to God’s Word because its truth is guaranteed by…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. Jesus says that we are to learn from Him, He who is meek and humble of heart. But Jesus was not always meek and humble of heart. He talked back to the Scribes and Pharisees, He drove the moneychangers out of the Temple, He talked back to the Sanhedrin, He wasn’t bashful about claiming to be the Son of…Continue Reading

Jesus Walks Through Trials With Us

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Eighteenth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Isaiah 55:1-3 Romans 8:35, 37-39 Matt. 14:13-21 In the second reading today St. Paul asks the question of what can separate us from the love of Christ. He then gives a few examples of what people might think will separate us from God; anguish, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness,…Continue Reading

Cast A Gauntlet – Sola Scriptura: Part 1

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Alphonsus Liguori

By CAROLE BRESLIN Part 1 Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, having read the works of St. Alphonsus Liguori, took him as a mentor. It is not surprising, then, that Fr. Hardon taught his students, “If you are not encountering the cross, you are not doing God’s work.” Such were the lives of saints such as St. Teresa of Avila, St.…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Benedict

By CAROLE BRESLIN Every month the Apostleship of Prayer publishes the intentions of the Holy Father: one for a universal intention and one for an evangelical intention. In June 2014, the evangelical intention was that Europe may rediscover its Christian roots through the witness of believers. The advent of Christian civilization coincided with the advent of Western civilization. The Benedictine…Continue Reading

What to Do If Your Boyfriend Wants You to Get an Abortion?

by Krisi Burton Brown | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/20/14 4:00 PM Washington, DC (LiveActionNews) — Note: This article is for any girl or woman who is feeling pressured into having an abortion. If you are a guy who is trying to find out how to stop an abortion, please see this article written for dads. 1.  Stand your…Continue Reading

It’s Time to Build Schools, from the Ground Up

February 13, 2014 by Anthony Esolen   It might have been worth repairing, if it had once been noble and beautiful, or at least conceived in an orderly way, for ordinary human purposes. But it wasn’t. It was constructed upon false principles. Its walls looked like those of a bad factory. It smelled like a warehouse. It could be terribly…Continue Reading

Why I am Pro-Life

February 4, 2014   Pro-Lifers   By Therese Recinella   Editor’s note. This tribute was posted on Therese Recinella’s Facebook account. She is graciously allowing us to reprint it in NRL News Today.   There are many things that I could say about my Dad, but what I want people to know is this: My parents faithfully raised 8 children…Continue Reading

Fathers . . . The Essential Role of the Father

Posted on February 10, 2014 by The Catholic Gentleman 13 Comments   Divorce rates skyrocketing; adultery rampant; non-married cohabitating couples; children abandoned by their fathers or mothers; “same-sex unions” adopting children and calling this the “modern family”; pornography invading homes, leading to powerful addictions and total alienation from other members of the family: all of this is a bird’s eye view…Continue Reading

How Much is One Billion Dollars?

This article appeared in the March 20, 1941 issue of The Wanderer. (Well, 70 years later we can add 15 trillion into the example.) Here’s a simple and homely illustration of what one billion dollars amounts to: Suppose we take an imaginary boy, aged 15 years, and assign to him the task of counting one billion dollars in one-dollar bills.…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood

This article appeared in The Wanderer, April 3, 1941.  (WOW, Look what we have 70 years later.) A group which calls itself the National Committee for Planned Parenthood has begun a nationwide campaign to have the promotion of birth control included in State and national health programs. The committee—which, according to propaganda sheets reaching our desk has a branch in…Continue Reading

Questions of Non-Catholics . . . Answered by Father Richard Felix, O.S.B.

Reprinted from The Wanderer April 10, 1941 Why Does God allow us to be tempted? God allows us to be tempted so that we may prove our attachment to him and merit a higher place in heaven. Temptations are the lot of all men; they are the battle ground upon which heaven is won or lost. “The kingdom of heaven…Continue Reading