“The Premonstratensians or White Canons or Norbertines, are a Roman Catholic religious order founded by St. Norbert of Xanten in 1120 AD. The Norbertines are the fifth oldest surviving order in the Catholic church and was founded to bring about renewal in the clergy by bridging the gap between monastic life and clerical life.”

“The Norbertine life is characterized by the ideal of communio. They live together in communion and draw strength from their common life dedicated to prayer, living a life of both contemplative prayer and action by serving the needs of the church.”

They are communities of priests, brothers and nuns who take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to an abbot and live in Abbeys on all five continents. Today the Norbertine order numbers more than 1,300 members worldwide, and Norbertine abbeys, priories, and convents are active in twenty-three countries.

In the United States, Norbertine foundations are in Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Mexico, and California. There is a Norbertine community here in Paoli, Pennsylvania, Daylesford Abbey.

Life within the Norbertine Abbeys may vary by location, but at the center of every Norbertine Community is a commitment to sung communal prayer, meals together and work outside of the Abbey supporting the local church community, in a life that is “ever ancient, ever new.”

Five key beliefs underlie the Norbertine experience.

Eucharistic Communion: The Eucharist is the source of peace and harmony within the Norbertine communities, and members and guests too, join in the daily celebration of the Mass.

Working For Peace: In all our daily actions, we strive to bear witness to Christ’s mercy. Reconciliation between community members is our greatest joy, and no sacrifice is too great to make for our peace.”

Unguarded Hearts: “We believe that the truth of our gifts and our weaknesses are revealed by community life. We stay in communion, and we mutually seek the opportunity to grow. We rejoice in the goodness in each other.”

Daily Conversion: “We are not afraid to call each other into responsibility. Peace! Conversion! Personal Growth! Ideals for people of all ages today!

Open Doors: “We welcome the seeking and the vulnerable to share in the riches of communio, especially through hospitality at the Abbey and by inviting others to participate in our life of prayer.

People today are often looking for a better world, a world where peace reigns, and people reach out, connect with, and help one another. These are ideals of young and old, and often people are unaware that these ideals are lived and practice by Norbertine priests, brothers, and nuns.

“Norbert’s vision of the world is still being tested today,” says Father Bradley R. Vanden Branden. “A more immediate challenge is how to live a life in common amid so much polarization…“We’ve become so fractured and divisive… I would hope in 50 years we would still be seen as an example of living a common life.”

The teachings that laid the foundation of the Norbertine order are needed in equal measure in our world today. The Norbertine order has endured the test of time, as they are celebrating nine hundred years as a religious order.

Is there a shortage of religious vocations today? The ideals of so many are still being lived out. Peace, harmony, community, service among the poor, the homeless, and immigrants are embodied by many men and women. Living and working in a supportive community of people with similar ideals is a real possibility, back in 1120 AD and yes, even today in 2022 AD.

Daylesford Abbey is seeking anyone interested in living a life like that of St. Norbert. If you are interested in pursuing a vocation and are ready to begin the journey, contact Abbot Domenic A. Rossi for further information at drossi@daylesford.org or call 610-647-2530.