900 years is a long time. In 900 years, the Norbertine Order has experienced quite a history, but has also experienced signs of growth as they continue to endure through time. Daylesford Abbey’s own Father Andrew D. Ciferni, O. Praem. recently discussed growth within the Norbertine order and the 14-month Jubilee celebrating their 900th anniversary in a post on CatholicPhilly.com.

The Norbertine 900th anniversary Jubilee kicked off the first Sunday of Advent in 2020, and will be celebrated through Christmas Day 2021. Father Andrew discusses that in the Hebrew Bible’s Book of Leviticus, a jubilee was proclaimed every 50 years as a time to reflect, reconcile and renew. Much of the foundation of the Norbertine order is founded on these ideas. 

“Jubilees in the biblical sense are causes for rejoicing but they are also privileged times for thanksgiving for what has been and is still, and in the present in looking to a future that builds on the past but that also breaks new ground,” Father Andrew states. 

In 900 years, roughly 700 Norbertine communities of men and women opened worldwide. Of course, not all communities have stood the test of time. 900 years is a long time after all, and many communities have simply been the victims of various historic events (war, revolutions and plagues). And yet, many have not survived and new communities have formed.

Daylesford Abbey, and the Norbertine community at large is celebrating 900 years in a precarious time. Outside of the COVID-19 pandemic, religious vocations are declining in our increasingly secular world. However, the Norbertines have always held on to hope, and the ability to adapt to continue to live within the Norbertine charism. 

There is a need for reflection and reconciliation in local and broader communities. The men and women within the Norbertine community have persevered through the last 900 years, living in community, and bringing peace and reconciliation to others. We are called to help others resolve internal and external conflicts to bring them back on the path to God. This is the groundwork St. Norbert layed 900 years ago, that endures today. 

Our teachings are why the Norbertine order grew to what it is today in the last 900 years.