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Norbertine Profiles


Remembering Abbot Sylvester Killeen, O. Praem.

January 15, 2018

Abbot Sylvester Killeen, O. Praem.

Abbot Sylvester Killeen, O. Praem.

The January 4, 2018, “Glimpses of the Past” in The Green Bay Press-Gazette highlighted memories of Abbot Sylvester Killeen, O. Praem., the second abbot of St. Norbert Abbey. In 1991 he was quoted to say, “The date of that First Mass [on Jan. 6, 1931] was my birthday and the feast day of Epiphany. My family was all present, my uncles and aunts … It was the climax of my studies and a moment of great satisfaction.”

In the News

Glimpses of the past
January 5, 1991
January 4, 2018
The Green Bay Press-Gazette

Canons on the Run: Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem., and Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem.

Canons on the RunFrater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem., and Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem., are co-hosts of Canons on the Run, a biweekly Norbertine podcast from St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere, Wisconsin.

Frater Jordan and Frater Johnathan are commonly mistaken for one another. Hosting a podcast together seemed like the perfect opportunity for the world to get to know them both as individuals—or perhaps just add to the list of their similarities.

Both avid runners, Frater Jordan and Frater Johnathan tend to discuss a variety subjects on their runs together, especially topics that revolve around their years in priestly formation as fraters (seminarians).

Frater Jordan is a deep-thinker and constant ruminator. He has a patient, listening ear, and deep love for the beauty of the Catholic faith.

"Canons on the Run" podcast hosts Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem. (left), and Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem.

Canons on the Run podcast hosts Frater Jordan Neeck, O. Praem. (left), and Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem.

Frater Johnathan is a self-acclaimed “out-loud thinker.” He has an eagerness to delve into the deep questions of life and doesn’t shy away from any conversation with anyone.

With Frater Jordan’s philosophical questioning and Frater Johnathan’s penchant for thinking out-loud, you’ve got the making of a fascinating podcast.

We invite you to listen to Canons on the Run as they share their call to conversion as Norbertines. Through insight, wisdom, and a bit of abbey humor, experience the Norbertine environment in which they live and the faith they love to share.

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  • Eyes fixed on Jesus
    By Jenny Snarski
    February 9, 2018
    Superior Catholic Herald
    Diocese of Superior

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.


As seen in the Spring 2017 issue of St. Norbert College Magazine

Unto the Next Generation

By Breanna Mekuly ’12

St. Norbert College

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., teaching at St. Norbert College | Photo courtesy of St. Norbert College (used with permission)

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., teaching at St. Norbert College | Photo courtesy of St. Norbert College (used with permission)

The Rev. Matt Dougherty, O.Praem., ’09 is ministering alongside some of his own former mentors in a year of teaching on campus before he moves on to doctoral studies.

Dougherty is serving at St. Norbert in the theology and religious studies discipline, and also as vocation director and chaplain at the parish. “This is my first time teaching, and so far it’s been a blast!” he says. “I’ve always loved theology, and to talk to people about something (and some body – Christ!) you love for a ministry is such a blessing!”

Of other Norbertines who have recently taken vows, Dougherty is the only one currently teaching at St. Norbert.

“It’s great to have a lot of other young Norbertines in the community,” he says. At the same time, he’s enjoying the company and wisdom of elder priests in the order. “I am privileged to be able to live with guys who really formed and shaped St. Norbert Abbey and the college for the past 50 plus years. After all, the average age of the Norbertines at St. Norbert Abbey is around 74 years old! These men have so much wisdom to pass on to us young guys, and it’s great to hear their stories, and how things have changed over the years.”

Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., on his vestition day in 2009, assisted by Fr. John Tourangeau, O. Praem. Read more about vestition and the Norbertine religious habit in the Fall/Winter 2009 issue of Abbey Magazine (page 3) article, “De·con·struct·ing the Habit.”

Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., on his vestition day in 2009, assisted by Fr. John Tourangeau, O. Praem. Read more about vestition and the Norbertine religious habit in the Fall/Winter 2009 issue of Abbey Magazine (page 3) article, “De·con·struct·ing the Habit.”

Many of these men are the mentors who guided Dougherty through his own vocational discernment. He remembers the Rev. Jim Baraniak, O.Praem., ’88, the Rev. Tim Shillcox, O.Praem., the Rev. John Bostwick, O.Praem., ’68, and the Rev. Alfred McBride, O.Praem., ’50 – all present on campus while Dougherty was a student. They not only taught him theology, but also provided spiritual direction, confession, and even lessons on the history of the Norbertine order.

Though Dougherty’s current positions focus on religion and theology, he is academically as interested in learning more about freshwater ecosystems, or aquatic ecology. His undergraduate degree was in organismal biology and he has hopes to continue studying aquatic ecology at the doctoral level in the fall of 2017. He anticipates that this doctoral degree will allow him to teach courses at St. Norbert College in the science department, or possibly on the intersection of religion and science.

I love helping students be challenged and affirmed in their faith.

—Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

As a young priest working at the college, Dougherty says, “I’ve been afforded the opportunity to try to bring the Catholic faith and Norbertine charism to the next generation.” And this is important to him; he believes the Norbertine presence on campus is necessary to continue the Norbertine and Catholic identity of the college.

“I look forward to introducing the students to these values,” Dougherty says. “It’s a big task, but a rewarding one!”

He is most interested in sharing the Norbertine value of communio. The word, as he understands it, means “trying to live in unity with God and others within a locality.” Communio, he believes, should then “combat individualism and divisiveness by claiming that before God we are one family, no matter our differences, and therefore we have responsibilities toward each other.”

With this, he hopes that St. Norbert College students, faculty and staff will continue to foster Norbertine values by maintaining peaceful community – regardless of division – and then proceeding to build more such communities wherever they may go next.

Fisher of Men

“I grew up in Waukesha, Wis., and I come from a proud Irish-Catholic family. Fishing and hunting are my passions. I’ve been fishing since I was a little kid, and have loved it ever since. It’s hard for me to look at a body of water without getting a strong urge to grab a rod and reel. My interest in hunting came a little later in college, but still remains a passion of mine. Aside from the outdoors, I really like good literature, good cigars, and good discussions!

“I love helping students be challenged and affirmed in their faith. I found my faith as a freshman at St. Norbert. In it I found a new way of looking at the world, and it changed my life. I’d love to help other students have a similar experience.”

– The Rev. Matt Dougherty, O.Praem., ’09


As seen in the Fall/Winter 2015 issue of Abbey Magazine (pages 14-15)

A Priest for the People

By Katrina Marshall

On June 6, 2015, Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem., was ordained to the priesthood.

Through ritual actions that contribute uniquely to the Rite of Ordination, he was given insight into his new identity. Of the major elements in this rite, first to occur was the Rite of Election, connecting the soon-to-be ordained with the faithful by asking their assent of his worthiness to fulfill priestly office. Bishop Robert Morneau (Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Green Bay) asked Abbot Gary Neville, O. Praem. (representing the Norbertine community of St. Norbert Abbey and the entire People of God),

Do you know him to be worthy?

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

Fr. Matthew Dougherty, O. Praem.

“You can’t help but feel humbled and a little bit nervous by that question, honestly,” shared Fr. Dougherty, reflecting on his ordination day. “Humbling is the best word. Because how can anyone be worthy—to perform the Sacraments, to follow Christ in that way? There’s a fear: am I really up for it? In a way, I’m not worthy. I don’t think anyone is worthy of such a gift.”

Following dialogue between Bishop Morneau and Abbot Neville affirming his worthiness, Fr. Dougherty received a lengthy round of approving applause—recognition of Christ working in him and an implicit invitation to enter into the lives of everyone.

“Amid feelings of unworthiness, to feel affirmation for my vocation through the applause was amazing,” said Fr. Dougherty. “Perhaps one of the most demanding pieces of priestly formation is coming to terms with one’s self: ‘Who am I to be a priest?’ Priesthood is an awesome gift and an awesome responsibility. These people are lifting you up to be their servant. By showing their assent, you are for them … to share in their most intimate moments, the ups and downs. Today, as a priest, I remain grateful. Never have I felt closer to God. Never have I experienced a stronger sense of identity or purpose. I am not a priest for myself, but a priest for Christ, his Church, and the world—I am a priest for the people.”

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