By Abbot Dane Radecki, O. Praem.
As a middle school student I began thinking of the priesthood. My parents hosted our parish priests (Franciscans) regularly and I joined my dad in the church basement to count Sunday collections. I also was an altar server.
Our community can bless us by helping us grow as Norbertines in ways we cannot see alone.
—Abbot Dane Radecki, O. Praem.
My first sighting of a Norbertine was at a parish Forty Hours devotion when a priest in white habit joined the Franciscans in procession. I did not know who this priest was nor did I yet understand the differences between religious and diocesan priests. At the same time, I had an interest in becoming a teacher and eventually learned that the Norbertine Order included priests who were teachers. I asked my parents to attend Prémontré High School where a number of Norbertines served. I sensed they were happy, and during my junior year I approached my Norbertine religion teacher to speak about the priesthood. His guidance and confidentiality helped me gradually focus on a vocation with the Norbertines. This also was a time when my appreciation for community life began to grow. I was accepted to join St. Norbert Abbey following high school.
As a young Norbertine I was encouraged to plan my future. I prepared to be a secondary school math teacher and was very happy with this choice. After a few years, Norbertines asked me to pursue school administration even though I never saw myself in this role. What I experienced was a great blessing—the fact that the community called out of me something I never saw in myself.
My recent election as abbot is another such call. Our community can bless us by helping us grow as Norbertines in ways we cannot see alone.