Vatican City, Jun 6, 2021 / 05:30 am
Pope Francis on Sunday urged the Norbertines to always keep their hearts open to others in a message marking the 900th anniversary of the foundation of the Abbey of Prémontré.
In the message dated June 6, the pope traced the life of St. Norbert of Xanten, who founded the Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré, also known as the Premonstratensians, in northern France in the 12th century.
He said: “From the beginning, the Premonstratensians have shown great commitment to people outside the community, welcoming them willingly. Thus, new communities which followed Norbert’s lifestyle were born rapidly. Several existing communities asked to be affiliated with Prémontré.”
“Dear sons and daughters of St. Norbert, always keep this open heart, which also opens the doors of your house, to welcome those looking for a spiritual counselor, those who ask for material help, those who wish to share your prayer.”
The pope’s message, released in Italian by the Vatican and in English on the order’s website, was addressed to Fr. Jozef Wouters, Abbot General of the Premonstratensian Canons Regular, which is marking the 900th anniversary with a jubilee.
The pope offered a detailed account of St. Norbert’s life, from his birth around 1075, in the German town of Xanten, to his death in 1134.
He described the saint as “one of the most zealous architects of the Gregorian reform,” referring to the reform movement inspired by Pope Gregory VII, who reigned in 1073-85.
The pope recalled that as a young man Norbert questioned the Church’s alignment with worldly powers and decided to reject courtly life.