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Why Norbertine Life?


Why Fr. Norbert N’Zilamba, O. Praem., Chose Norbertine Life

Left to right: Fr. Jeremy Tobin, O. Praem., Fr. Norbert N'Zilamba, O. Praem., Abbot Emeritus E. Thomas De Wane, O. Praem., Fr. Sebastian Schalk, O. Praem.

Left to right: Fr. Jeremy Tobin, O. Praem., Fr. Norbert N’Zilamba, O. Praem., Abbot Emeritus E. Thomas De Wane, O. Praem., Fr. Sebastian Schalk, O. Praem.

By Fr. Norbert N’Zilamba, O. Praem.

Fr. Norbert N’Zilamba, O. Praem.

Fr. Norbert N’Zilamba, O. Praem.

St. Norbert Abbey is the very first abbey I visited in my life. I immediately felt at home. The fact that people from different backgrounds and walks of life live together because of their faith under the rule of St. Augustine is very appealing to me.

My Norbertine journey is one of the greatest blessings in my life because of the Eucharist, the brotherhood, and the apostolic mandate of our spirituality.

Our Norbertine canonries are mandated to pray together and also minister to God’s people in various ways under the leadership of an abbot. St. Norbert Abbey is a good example of that spirituality.

Why Fr. David Komatz, O. Praem., Chose Norbertine Life

Fr. David Komatz, O. Praem. (left)

Fr. David Komatz, O. Praem. (left)

By Fr. David Komatz, O. Praem.

Fr. David Komatz, O. Praem.

Fr. David Komatz, O. Praem.

Since I grew up in Florida, I am one of a few Norbertines who was first drawn to the community because of published vocation material. Most of our men have come to the community through the example of Norbertines they have met or who have taught them. While at Florida State University one of the religious sisters from my high school sent me a brochure from St. Norbert Abbey. I immediately was drawn to the sense of humor evident within the Norbertine vocation materials.

Today I look back with great joy as I think of all the laughter I have shared and continue to share with my Norbertine confreres. The greatest blessings I have received as a Norbertine are:

  • When I briefly visited the community before I even applied, I was most impressed with the fraters (seminarians) and knew I wanted to join them. Since then I have made many deep and lasting friendships, and also admire and enjoy the variety of men who comprise our community.
  • The wonderful opportunities for study at many fine institutions and the variety of ministries in which I have been engaged—far beyond what I might have imagined as a high school or college student.

Why Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem., Chose Norbertine Life

By Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem.

Fr. Agar celebrated the 60th anniversary of his priesthood ordination on June 6, 2018.

While I was living in Philadelphia, I received a postcard inviting me to audition for the band at Southeast Catholic High School (a Norbertine school). Prior to my audition I was introduced to a tall man in a white habit wearing a biretta and descending the stairs. It was Fr. Harry Koeppen, O. Praem., director of the high school music department with whom I felt an immediate bond. From that moment, I knew that I was going to be a priest forever; meeting this remarkable man was a sign. There were many Norbertines teaching in my high school at that time and I knew I wanted to be just like them—a teacher and a priest. And I am.

For most of my Norbertine life I was able to make music for our liturgies. When people told me that my music deepened their prayer life, it opened up a whole new apostolate for me. My musical prayer life began as a second-year novice in 1951 until I retired in 2000.

Incidentally, my teaching career began in St. Norbert High School in 1955 and concluded in 1995 at St. Norbert College. I am forever grateful for those years.


Sounds of the St. Norbert Abbey Organ: Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem.

from St. Norbert Abbey on Vimeo

An introduction to the St. Norbert Abbey Casavant organ with Fr. Bartholomew Agar, O. Praem., St. Norbert Abbey’s Organist Emeritus.

Read More

  • 3000 Pipes (page 8)
    The Story of St. Norbert Abbey’s Casavant Organ: An Interview with Fr. Batholomew Agar, O. Praem.
    By Gina Sanders Larsen
    Fall/Winter 2015
    Abbey Magazine

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