News & Notes

Frater Gregory, Frater Bernard Profess Simple Vows

AUGUST 28, 2023 – During the celebration of the Solemnity of Saint Augustine, the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey joined with gathered family members and friends to witness the Profession of Simple Vows by Frater Gregory Johnson, O. Praem., and Frater Bernard Brodeur, O. Praem.

Having completed their two-year novitiates, Frater Gregory and Frater Bernard (pictured from left to right with Rt. Rev. Dane Radecki, Abbot of St. Norbert Abbey) professed Simple Vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for a period of three years. They have moved to Chicago and are now engaged in theological studies.

Last academic year, Frater Gregory served at Notre Dame de la Baie Academy and Frater Bernard served at St. Norbert College.

Norbertines welcome 3 new members at vestition

AUGUST 27, 2023 – St. Norbert Abbey celebrated the vestition of three new members of the Norbertine Community during Vespers at the Abbey Church.

Frater Adrian Beranek, Frater Thomas Madden and Frater Gabriel McNally (pictured from left to right with Rt. Rev. Dane Radecki, O. Praem., Abbot of St. Norbert Abbey) were vested in the white habit of St. Norbert and are beginning and deepening their commitment to religious life through a two-year novitiate.

Frater Adrian Beranek

Age: 26 | Hometown: Peshtigo, Wisconsin

Home parish: St. Mary Parish

Education: Drake University and Augustine Institute

Why he joined: “I chose St. Norbert Abbey because I wanted to join a community that was contemplative yet active in ministry. I wanted to join a community that was part of an old religious order.”

Frater Thomas Madden

Age: 27 | Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Home parish: St. Francis Xavier College Church

Education: Truman State University

Why he joined: “I came to St. Norbert Abbey because I was encouraged to explore religious life by friends, priests and other loved ones. I’ve tried to follow some signs and desires in my heart, including the desire to love and serve others here and in the wider community. I am thankful to get to live so close to God and learn from so many ministers.”

Frater Gabriel McNally

Age: 35 | Hometown: Monona, Wisconsin

Home parish: Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church

Education: St. Norbert College

Why he joined: “To return to De Pere and join a group of men living communio while wholeheartedly offering my service to God.”

Norbertine Center reopens after renovations

JULY 1, 2023 – After more than a year of extensive renovations, the Norbertine Center for Spirituality at St. Norbert Abbey has fully reopened as of July 2023. Reservations are now being accepted.

Interior renovations, which began in May 2022, are the first significant upgrades to the facility since the NCS opened in the 1970s.

As part of the upgrades, 30 retreat guest rooms – available for both overnight or day stays – were reconfigured and now feature private bathrooms, air conditioning and new furniture. Several large and small meeting rooms and gathering spaces also were refreshed.

The NCS, one of only a few retreat facilities in all of northeast Wisconsin, welcomes thousands of guests each year. Situated upon 160 acres of natural and landscaped beauty, this sacred place offers guests the opportunity to retreat, attend year-round programming and receive spiritual direction … or simply be in a place to pray and reflect.

Obituary: Fr. Steven J. Vanden Boogard, O. Praem.

JUNE 23, 2023 – Father Steven John Vanden Boogard, O. Praem., age 69, a retired U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander (Chaplain) and Norbertine priest of St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, WI, passed into God’s eternal kingdom on June 23, 2023.

Born on October 2, 1953 to the late Alois and Mary Jean (Helein) Vanden Boogard, he grew up in Kimberly, WI and was the second oldest of nine children. His home parish was Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Kimberly.

Fr. Vanden Boogard entered the Navy when he turned eighteen and spent the next four years as a hospital corpsman in a boot camp in Pensacola, FL. In 1976, he returned to Wisconsin and studied at St. Norbert College in De Pere earning degrees in Sociology and Theology. During college, he held the positions of Grand Knight and Trustee for the Knights of Columbus for a total of four years.

Aware of a priestly vocation since his First Holy Communion, he entered St. Norbert Abbey in his junior year at the college, and was vested as a novice on August 27, 1979.

He professed Simple Vows on August 28, 1981 and he made his Solemn Profession on August 28, 1984. He received his Master’s Degree in Divinity in June 1986 from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, IL. On June 9, 1988, Fr. Vanden Boogard celebrated his Ordination to the Priesthood. He went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Education from Boston College in 1991.

He taught Religion and Sociology at Premontre High School in Green Bay, WI and then went to St. John Neumann High School in Philadelphia, PA, where he taught the children of Navy captains. Conversations with his students and their parents sparked an interest in him to return to the Navy as a chaplain, since there also was a great need for military chaplains.

Beginning in July of 1993, Fr. Vanden Boogard served as a Naval Chaplain with the rank of Lieutenant Commander for about seventeen years, completing three deployments to Iraq and a tour in Guantanamo Bay. During this time, he offered Mass, celebrated the Sacraments and was an approachable and deeply caring man for anyone in need of a listening ear. He found spirituality a necessity for his comrades. His strong faith in God and perseverance helped him through the trials of war and being at sea. He was proud of his military experience, and thankful for the grace of God bestowed upon him. He was honorably discharged from the Navy and returned to the Abbey in 2010.

In his years after retiring from the Navy, he continued pastoral ministry in parishes on the Door Peninsula and regularly heard confessions in several Green Bay area churches. For several years, he also ministered to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Bay Settlement.

Fr. Vanden Boogard is survived by the Norbertine Community; siblings: Robert (Doris) Vanden Boogard, Michael (Kathy) Vanden Boogard, Thomas Vanden Boogard, Jean Reynolds (and special friend, Larry), Ted (Michelle) Vanden Boogard, Lisa (Tom) Pepper and Cindy (John) Stoeger; many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Fr. Vanden Boogard was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Barbara. The Mass of Christian Burial with military honors was held July 8.

The Norbertine Community would like to thank the nurses at St. Norbert Abbey, and everyone at Aurora Hospital and their hospice team who cared for Fr. Vanden Boogard.

Norbertines give $100,000 to area food pantries

MAY 25, 2023 – Rt. Rev. Dane Radecki, O. Praem., Abbot of St. Norbert Abbey, presented checks totaling $100,000 to four area food pantries. Speaking on behalf of the entire Norbertine Community, he said, “The Norbertines continue their commitment to meeting the needs of all people in our community. We are aware of the growing demand at local food pantries, and we are happy to support their efforts.”

Representing the four food pantries that each received $25,000 were (pictured from left to right with Abbot Radecki): Angela Heck and Mark Heck (Community Pantry of Pulaski); Brenda Krainik and Amy Murphy (Christian Outreach Food Pantry); Chris and Janice Clemens (Hope Center Pantry); and Jim Hogenson (Manna for Life Ministries).

The Norbertine Community encourages you to support area food pantries and all organizations that strive to help others.

Abbey supports St. John’s Ministries with $250,000 gift

JUNE 27, 2022 – St. Norbert Abbey presented a $250,000 check to St. John’s Ministries in support of its “Hope. Home. Community” capital campaign. Alexia Wood, executive director of St. John’s Ministries, is pictured with Rt. Rev. Dane Radecki, O. Praem., Abbot of St. Norbert Abbey.

The campaign will renovate the St. John’s Homeless Shelter, purchase a new building for the Micah Center,  renovate the former Micah Center for the Wellspring and Women’s Programs, and acquire and renovate  a building for socially inclusive housing.

“We realize the pressure on families and individuals to find available affordable housing in our community and its impact on homelessness. Now more than ever St. John’s Ministries needs our help,” Abbot Radecki said.

Added Wood: “We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing support we have received from the Norbertines since the foundation of our ministry. This gift is instrumental in allowing us to move forward in our ministry to respond to those experiencing homelessness and facing housing instability in our community, each individual, and household a neighbor of ours.”