What exactly is a vocation? “The definition of the word vocation is “a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.”
The word vocation originated in Middle English from Old French, or from Latin vocatio, from vocare ‘to call’.
A call? From whom? By cell phone? From a friend, a parishioner a priest, a divine call from God?
God often calls people to a religious vocation but sometimes we do not hear God’s voice or call. If we do hear an inkling of a religious vocation, our response might be “Who Me?” or “I am certainly not worthy.” Or That life is too hard for me?” or even “No way, that kind of life is not relevant today.”
But often our reluctance originates from us not knowing enough about what a vocation actually is, especially a religious vocation.
Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, Pennsylvania is a place where men have head and answered the call to religious life. They have answered and live out the call to religious life within a religious order founded by Saint Norbert 900 years ago through his experience of conversion and reconciliation.
Norbert’s legacy lives on, in the dozens of abbeys and priories in the United States and throughout the world. The Norbertine communities are groups of men and women where life is lived in an intentional community in service to the common good, countercultural as that may seem. And the Norbertine way is as relevant and appealing today as it ever was, as the world struggles with war, violence, hatred, poverty and much more.
The Norbertines are Canons Regular of Premontre, also known as Premonstratians or Norbertines. They are a group of Roman Catholic priests, brothers and sisters founded by St. Norbert in the early 12th century through his experience of conversion and reconciliation. This religious order has been in existence for hundreds of years and has abbeys throughout the world.
Today there are more than 1,300 members worldwide of the Norbertine order. Their members include priests, sisters, brothers, deacons, and novices, and Norbertine abbeys, priories, and convents are established and active in 23 countries.
There are several Norbertine Abbeys here in the United States including Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, Pennsylvania.
The Norbertines follow the Rule of St. Augustine, and share lives of contemplation and action, community life and apostolic service. They serve the poor and marginalized, the young and the old, through a variety of ministries, while making time each day for prayer, the Liturgy of the Hours and the celebration of the Eucharist, the source and summit of our Christian life.
There is a rhythm of life with the Norbertines, with a daily ritual of prayer and service. Community members can seek God in community prayer services, but also in their own time and space, and at their own pace.
The Norbertines are involved in a variety of apostolates, including the educational apostolate serving in elementary and high school levels and at the collegiate levels too. Their service is multi-faceted, as they serve as teachers, professors, administrators, campus ministers, counselors, financial officers and in governance as board members and trustees. They also provide services within a diocese, celebrating the sacraments and providing pastoral care in hospitals, nursing homes and retirement villages, and services such as spiritual direction and retreats.
Individual gifts and talents are recognized, applauded, and well utilized in a variety of ministries. Norbertines priests and brothers are Canons Regulars, “meaning they live in community as they follow the Rule of St. Augustine.
The mission of the Norbertines is one of inclusion. St Norbert the Peacemaker was known for his work in reconciliation and mediation. “The religious and lay of Daylesford Abbey believe this ministry is incredibly relevant today, and that the need for this kind of encouragement and hope has never been greater.”
Working to bring about peace and reconciliation can be draining and discouraging, but there is a daily rhythm of life with the Norbertines.
At Daylesford Abbey, there is a daily ritual of prayer and service. Also, this ministry is not done alone, in isolation, but with other like-minded men having the same passion, hopes and dreams. “Communio means working together,”
Norbertines work for and with others, nourished by contemplation which is the very heart of life at Daylesford Abbey. “God’s gift of hope challenges us to take risks for the sake of our dreams.” These dreams of prayerful collaboration and mutual respect may seem impossible today, but “God’s gift of hope challenges us to conversion and service sharing in the to tables ; our daily bread and the Bread of Life.”
Living, working, and praying together, while engaged in a variety of ministries. See the blog next week to find out Where and How Norbertines serve