Our Holy Father Norbert
Norbertines of St Philip’s Priory, Chelmsford
"Live together in harmony, and be of one mind and one heart on the way to God" (Rule 1.2)
The Canons Regular of Prémontré were founded by St. Norbert at Prémontré, France on Christmas Day, 1120.
By God's grace, we live the canonical life based upon the ancient Rule of St Augustine (written around 400). At the heart of our way of life is a devotion to prayer and contemplation, which nourishes our various apostolic works in the world. There are five pillars to our Norbertine way of life that our holy father Norbert bequeathed to us:
- The praise of Almighty God in the sacred liturgy
- A zeal for souls
- A life of penance
- Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament
- Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, especially her Immaculate Conception
The Order arrived in England in 1138, until the suppression of the monasteries in the Reformation. By then, there were 38 houses (both male and female) in the British Isles. Expelled from these islands for over three centuries, we returned in 1872 and founded several missions.
Our own canonry became independent in 2004, and we established our home in Chelmsford in 2006.
Please contact the
Vocation Director for more information, and visit our website:
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Prayer for vocations to our Order
Almighty Father, raise up abundant and holy vocations to the Order of Prémontré.
Send us good and holy souls who will keep the Faith alive and guard the blessed memory of Our Holy Fathers Augustine and Norbert.
Send us ardent yet gentle men who through the preaching of Christ’s word and the administration of the Sacraments may continually renew your faithful.
Grant us holy ministers of your altar who will be careful and fervent guardians of the Eucharist; lifting high the Blessed Sacrament above all the errors and miseries of the world. Amen.
On 20th September 2018 Very Rev Stephen Morrison o.praem., our Sub-Prior, was invited to preach at a centenary Mass for visible stigmata of St Pius of Pietrelcina at Corpus Christi Church, London.
More photos can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/…/catholici…/albums/72157695723445940
The Holy Father has exhorted Catholics across the globe to join in prayer, fasting and penance for the victims of clerical sexual abuse. Therefore, at the end of our Canonry Retreat there will be 24 hours of Eucharistic Adoration from 1100 on Friday 24th August to 1100 Saturday 25th August in our Priory Chapel. This will have the specific aim of making reparation before the Lord for the sins of His ministers.
Whilst, “no effort to beg pardon and to seek to repair the harm done will ever be sufficient” it is still our duty as Catholics to offer prayer and penance that, “will help us as God’s People to come before the Lord and our wounded brothers and sisters as sinners imploring forgiveness and the grace of shame and conversion.”
Timetable for the 24 hours of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the Priory Chapel
11am Opening Mass with prayers of reparation
3 p.m. Divine Mercy Chaplet
5 p.m. Rosary
6 p.m. Evening Prayer (Vespers)
8 p.m. Compline (Night Prayer)
12 midnight Rosary
6 a.m. Rosary
8 a.m. Matins and Lauds (Morning Prayer)
10.45 a.m. Solemn Benediction
The chapel is open for the whole 24 hours. Please come at any time
We have posted before about the great St Bernard of Clairvaux and his friendship with Our Holy Father Norbert.
As Vita B says about them: “Faith was the outstanding virtue of Norbert’s life, as Charity had been the hallmark of Bernard of Clairvaux.”
The two Saints were friends, and admired each other greatly. As reformers, they faced the problems in the wider church together, and were both men of holy eloquence, strict asceticism, and deep sanctity. Although both men were capable of moments of passionate fervour, they were not ill-tempered, but known rather for their gentleness.
After 1124, when Bernard signed the charter handing over the church of St Martin of Laon to the Premonstratensians, both Norbert and Bernard join forces in preaching against Abelard. In his own account, Abelard impiously remarked: “Two new apostles were raised against me, in whom people placed much trust. The one thought himself to have resurrected the life of the canons regular, the other the monastic life.” Far from vainly thinking of themselves as such, that is precisely what Norbert and Bernard did.
St Bernard was also instrumental in the founding of many of our houses. To inspire the Norbertine confreres of today, we remind you of the letter St Bernard wrote to Melisende, Queen of Jerusalem, recommending the Premonstratensians to her, in order that they (rather than his own Cistercian monks) might help her by establishing houses of canons there. May we, through St Bernard’s prayers, be worthy of his compliments and live up to his high expectations!
To Melisende, the august Queen of Jerusalem, Bernard of Clairvaux sends greeting. See how much trust I have in your majesty, since I dare to recommend others to you. And it would be as unnecessary as presumptuous, perhaps, for me to say much in recommendation of these brethren of Prémontré, for they so commend themselves by their own merit that they have no need of recommendation by another.
They will be found, if I mistake not, to be men of wisdom, strong in spirit, patient in tribulation, powerful in word and work. They have put on the whole armour of God and have girded themselves with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, to fight not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Welcome them, I beseech you, as peaceful warriors, sweet to men, and fearful only to demons. Or rather, welcome in them Jesus Christ Himself, Who is the only reason for the mission which they undertake. (Ep.355, PL 182,557)
St Bernard of Clairvaux, Pray for us.
Today is the feast of Our Blessed Lady’s Assumption, and the ordo for the Norbertine Liturgy makes it clear that she is “Patrona Ordinis Nostri” – the Patroness of our Order.
Several of our Abbeys have Our Lady in her Assumption as their principal patroness, or feast of “title”: Averbode, Csorna, Daylesford, Kinshasa, Leffe, Schlägl, Strahov, Tongerlo, Villoria and Windberg.
Among the sayings of Our Holy Father Norbert is the line: “Sanctissimae Deiparae Virginis non est filius qui ei tota anima non servit.” – “He is no child of Mary who does not serve the most holy Virgin-Mother of God with all his soul.”
And so, with the greatest of devotion, we celebrate the strong patronage of the Mother of God over her white-robed sons and daughters in the Norbertine Order. May she bless us and keep us faithful!
Today we also celebrate with our confreres in the Royal Canonry of Strahov (Prague) the event of the Abbatial Blessing, conferred today upon their new Abbot, Father Daniel Janáček, by HE Dominik Cardinal Duka, Archbishop of Prague. May God bless Abbot Daniel and all the confreres of Strahov on this happy day.
“O how glorious and beautiful art thou, O Mary, Temple of the Only-Begotten Son of God! Open unto us the gates of thy mercy and clemency, and grant that we might enter into thee, and therein deign to hear the prayers we make before thee. Our voice cries out to the Lord in thee, that from his holy temple he might hear our voice, and his ears attend to our cries.
Brethren, do not ever leave this Temple, but pour out your prayers in it and speak there all your troubles; for this Temple is none other than the Mother of Christ, and whatever prayers you make through her, God will hear; for he will receive your prayers made through her, since he deigned to take flesh from her and be born for our sake.”
-Adam of Dryburgh, Sermon 40
Please join us in praying to Our Holy Father Norbert as we prepare to celebrate his feast day. We thank God for the gift of so zealous and devoted son, and pray that He will continue to bless us with vocations who, like Our Holy Father, lift high the Blessed Sacrament above all the errors and miseries of the world.
To follow us in the novena use this booklet: Novena to St Norbert