NCS News

Sixty Years

As seen in the Summer/Fall 2019 Norbertine Center for Spirituality program guide.

Dear Friends,

Birthdays are times of great celebration. They can also be times when we take stock of where we have been in our past, show gratitude for where we are in the present, and reflect on where life may be taking us in the future.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. St. Norbert Abbey turns 60 years old on June 16 (Shhh…don’t tell anyone!) It was on that fateful day in 1959 that Abbot Killeen and the St. Norbert Abbey Community, along with their families, friends, and supporters, joined together to dedicate this new church and to give thanks to God for the many blessings of this new abbey. Having found the facilities located on the St. Norbert College campus to be too small for a growing community, the men “picked up tent” and moved to the east side of De Pere. A new journey had begun!

Sixty years later we will celebrate and give thanks for this community and its facilities on Tuesday, October 8 in a program entitled This is an Awesome Place!  Fr. Andrew Ciferni, O. Praem., will reflect upon the Abbey Church and its dedication ritual. Music from the original dedication Mass will be performed in the beautiful Abbey Church. Food and refreshments will be plentiful. It will be a time to once again take stock of where we have been, show gratitude for where we are in the present, and reflect on where life may be taking us in the future.

The Norbertine Center for Spirituality is also experiencing a milestone birthday as it turns 40 years old. To celebrate we are instituting a new spirituality series, SpiritUs, to reflect on how the charisms and prayer forms emanating from various religious traditions can be brought into our own prayer life.

There will be plenty of opportunity for gratitude this summer and fall. Dick Bennett, noted basketball coach at UW-Green Bay and the University of Wisconsin, will facilitate the A Strong Foundation Retreat in June.

Paula D’Arcy will make a return visit in late September for Light Hidden in the Darkness, a silent retreat.

Abbey Grounds, a new Saturday morning series, will provide an opportunity for ongoing faith formation. Finally, The Faith in Real Time Series will challenge us to look at some difficult issues in our world today.

Speaking of the future, the NCS is launching a Forward to the Future Series which will challenge us to look ahead and attempt to figure out how to navigate our personal and communal future. Topnotch speakers including Carol Bruess, Ph.D., Deacon Steve Meyer, and Tom Bayer will be on hand to facilitate the discussion.

There is much to celebrate at St. Norbert Abbey and the Norbertine Center for Spirituality. Come join the celebration and have a little birthday cake while you do that! St. Norbert Abbey you don’t look a day over 29!


Tony Pichler


All Are Welcome

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2019 Norbertine Center for Spirituality program guide

Dear Friends,

When I was a child we used to sing a song, using hand gestures, that I’m sure many of you sang as well:

Here’s the church, here’s the steeple,
open the doors and see all the people!

Well, St. Norbert Abbey does not have a new steeple. And the church is more than 60 years old. But the abbey does have a new entrance and new doors. And with these new doors all are welcome to enter into a spiritual experience of community and peace.

All are welcome! Our friend Tom who is cognitively challenged and comes to “Jesus’ House” on most Mondays and Thursdays is welcome. Our brothers and sisters who struggle with addictions and come through the doors to attend support groups are welcome. Young people who come to the Norbertine Center for Spirituality (NCS) for their Confirmation retreat are welcome. Our seniors whose knee and hip joints are failing or have been replaced, needing the aid of a wheelchair, walker, or cane, are welcome. (Especially now that we have a shiny new elevator—one that even talks to you!)

All are welcome, and you are, too. This winter and spring we have everything from soup—literally, with our Soup and Soul offering by Fr. Jack MacCarthy, O. Praem.—to nuts—and you might think some of us are nuts when dancing a conga line to the sounds of Bent Grass as they play “When the Saints Go Marching In” at our Mardi Gras celebration! We also have a newly formatted Triduum Retreat in which we invite you to come and experience the silence of the NCS as well as the liturgical celebrations of the Norbertine community.

Ultimately, we have something for everyone to deepen one’s spirituality and connectedness to the holy. And most of all, we welcome YOU! All are welcome through these new doors. YOU are welcome. We will see you in Jesus’ House!

Tony Pichler

“To Everything There Is a Season”

As seen in the Summer/Fall 2018 Norbertine Center for Spirituality program guide

Dear Friends,

To everything there is a season.

So begins the Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3. Spring brings new growth and new life.

Here at the Norbertine Center for Spirituality, new life is abounding everywhere you look. The construction of a new entrance, elevator, and meeting rooms continues on the northeast corner of the abbey and is scheduled to be completed in August (let’s keep our fingers crossed!). Abbot Dane Radecki, O. Praem., has been elected as the spiritual leader of the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey.

New programs like All Things Local!, A Day in the Life of Jesus: A Retreat for Grandparents and their Grandchildren, The 3M Golf Retreat, and What Do You Mean, “There Is Not Enough Room for Joy?” as a few examples are exploding on the Center scene. New life abounds in this Easter Season!

But you might be saying to yourself, “Tony, it’s the Summer/Fall issue of the program guide! Correct?!” Yes! The seed-planting and new growth of spring mature and produce abundant fruit in summer and fall. Isn’t that what our spiritual lives are like? We plant seeds in the spring of our spiritual life that produce much fruit as our prayer life matures and grows through the other seasons of our life. May the offerings here at the Norbertine Center for Spirituality be a sure source of growth and development for you this summer and fall.

I leave you with a portion of a prayer, often attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, but, in fact, written by the late Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, Michigan, entitled, “Prophets of a Future Not Our Own”:

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between
the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

Tony Pichler

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