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Podcast Episode 020: Community: It’s More than a Place

Pictured: Frater Johnathan Turba, O. Praem., in Mexico

We all belong to various communities, yet even with today’s technology it is often a challenge to express our appreciation of one another. Our co-hosts share the importance of expressing care and concern for community members, even from afar.


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Why Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem., Chose Norbertine Life

By Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.

Having grown up in northeastern Wisconsin in the 1970s, I was aware of a religious order of priests and brothers that served our region as high school and college teachers (and as a member of Congress). Church ministry was a dream of mine since early childhood; being able to serve in this context with other like-minded men in these kinds of ministries in northeast Wisconsin seemed like a perfect fit.

Furthermore, I was attracted to religious life because I believed I could lead a more sustainable life style while sharing resources with other men, as opposed to the rampant individualism which I saw in our society.

Church ministry was a dream of mine since early childhood …

—Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem.
Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem. (left)

Br. Steve Herro, O. Praem. (left)

In 2015, I was living apart from the Norbertine community in Washington, D.C., while serving the national Church through Catholic Charities USA. I was 900 miles away when my father’s health began to severely deteriorate. My attempt to balance ministry, Norbertine life, and family concerns seemed nearly impossible.

During this time, Norbertine art professor, Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem., just happened to be leading a St. Norbert College tour of Washington, D.C., art museums. As a Norbertine confrere, his totally unexpected visit and thoughtful concern for me and my family that April evening was one of the most grace-filled experiences I have ever had as a Norbertine.

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Why Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem., Chose Norbertine Life

By Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.

The beauty of the abbey and its liturgical life made an immediate and lasting impression on my heart and mind. That this community should have been so mindful of beauty as an attribute of faith in Christ and a lifestyle dedicated to the Gospel inspired me to believe I could thrive in such an environment of grace and natural revelation.

… This is nothing less than a dream-job and there’s not a day I’m not grateful for this extraordinary opportunity …

—Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem.
Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem., with his art on display.

Fr. James Neilson, O. Praem., with his art on display.

The opportunity for life-long learning has been a rich and constant blessing for which I will always be grateful to the Norbertine community. The order has been both affirming and generous in allowing me to continue my personal, spiritual, and professional pursuit of the art, ministry, and vocation of beauty. I have been very fortunate in extending the dream of Abbot Bernard Pennings, O. Praem., by working among and within the St. Norbert College community as a professor of art (this is nothing less than a dream-job and there’s not a day I’m not grateful for this extraordinary opportunity to live and work as a priest-artist-educator).

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