What Was Norbert Like?


Father Chrysostom Baer of St. Michael’s Abbey, in Orange County, California: 

“He was both encouraging and daunting. He was extremely charming and friendly, and yet his otherworldliness would have been a challenge. He was both a good conversationalist and quiet. And, yes, he had a sense of humor.”

Father Eugene Gries of Santa María de la Vid Abbey, in Albuquerque, New Mexico:

“A short man dedicated to the Church.”


Father Joel Garner of Santa María de la Vid Abbey, in Albuquerque, New Mexico:

“I imagine Norbert as a very charismatic man, physically vigorous and strong-willed. He was a strong leader, perhaps a little overpowering at times. However, he had a great sense of who he was after his conversion and what he was called to do.”


Fr. Brad Vanden Branden of St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, Wisconsin

“I get the sense that he was a very zealous person That was both good and bad. . . . That made people uncomfortable. He called them out in public for their faults. He had this mission to accomplish.”


Father Andrew Ciferni of Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, Pennsylvania and chair of the board of trustees at St. Norbert College in De Pere:, Wisconsin:

“I think he must have been just a fascinating person. . . . He was very pleasing in appearance and was very courteous. But I think he was demanding of himself and of his disciples. . . . He never did anything by half measures. He has this conversion experience in his early 30s, and it’s like boom, ‘All right, I want to be ordained a deacon and a priest on the same day.’ . . . And then he goes into this three-year retreat and he comes out of that as this really committed, wandering preacher of peace. . . . (The author) Richard Rohre talks about prophets as people who live on the inside of the edge. In other words, they stay in, but they’re a pain in the ass. And in some ways that was Norbert.”

At Daylesford Abbey, we are looking for men who model themselves after St. Norbert to join the Norbertine order here at the Abbey. If you have felt God call you to serve Him through religious life, we can help you answer that call at Daylesford, and realize your life’s vocation. Contact Abbot Domenic A. Rossi for further information at drossi@daylesford.org or call 610-647-2530.