All Are Welcome

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2019 Norbertine Center for Spirituality program guide

Dear Friends,

When I was a child we used to sing a song, using hand gestures, that I’m sure many of you sang as well:

Here’s the church, here’s the steeple,
open the doors and see all the people!

Well, St. Norbert Abbey does not have a new steeple. And the church is more than 60 years old. But the abbey does have a new entrance and new doors. And with these new doors all are welcome to enter into a spiritual experience of community and peace.

All are welcome! Our friend Tom who is cognitively challenged and comes to “Jesus’ House” on most Mondays and Thursdays is welcome. Our brothers and sisters who struggle with addictions and come through the doors to attend support groups are welcome. Young people who come to the Norbertine Center for Spirituality (NCS) for their Confirmation retreat are welcome. Our seniors whose knee and hip joints are failing or have been replaced, needing the aid of a wheelchair, walker, or cane, are welcome. (Especially now that we have a shiny new elevator—one that even talks to you!)

All are welcome, and you are, too. This winter and spring we have everything from soup—literally, with our Soup and Soul offering by Fr. Jack MacCarthy, O. Praem.—to nuts—and you might think some of us are nuts when dancing a conga line to the sounds of Bent Grass as they play “When the Saints Go Marching In” at our Mardi Gras celebration! We also have a newly formatted Triduum Retreat in which we invite you to come and experience the silence of the NCS as well as the liturgical celebrations of the Norbertine community.

Ultimately, we have something for everyone to deepen one’s spirituality and connectedness to the holy. And most of all, we welcome YOU! All are welcome through these new doors. YOU are welcome. We will see you in Jesus’ House!

Tony Pichler

“To Everything There Is a Season”

As seen in the Summer/Fall 2018 Norbertine Center for Spirituality program guide

Dear Friends,

To everything there is a season.

So begins the Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3. Spring brings new growth and new life.

Here at the Norbertine Center for Spirituality, new life is abounding everywhere you look. The construction of a new entrance, elevator, and meeting rooms continues on the northeast corner of the abbey and is scheduled to be completed in August (let’s keep our fingers crossed!). Abbot Dane Radecki, O. Praem., has been elected as the spiritual leader of the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey.

New programs like All Things Local!, A Day in the Life of Jesus: A Retreat for Grandparents and their Grandchildren, The 3M Golf Retreat, and What Do You Mean, “There Is Not Enough Room for Joy?” as a few examples are exploding on the Center scene. New life abounds in this Easter Season!

But you might be saying to yourself, “Tony, it’s the Summer/Fall issue of the program guide! Correct?!” Yes! The seed-planting and new growth of spring mature and produce abundant fruit in summer and fall. Isn’t that what our spiritual lives are like? We plant seeds in the spring of our spiritual life that produce much fruit as our prayer life matures and grows through the other seasons of our life. May the offerings here at the Norbertine Center for Spirituality be a sure source of growth and development for you this summer and fall.

I leave you with a portion of a prayer, often attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, but, in fact, written by the late Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw, Michigan, entitled, “Prophets of a Future Not Our Own”:

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.
We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between
the master builder and the worker.
We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

Tony Pichler

“Making All Things New!”

As seen in the Winter/Spring 2018 Norbertine Center for Spirituality program guide

Dear Friends,

Winter/Spring 2018The Norbertines have a motto by which they have lived for almost 900 years: “Making all things new!” There is a motto by which Wisconsin residents have lived since the invention of the automobile: “There are two seasons—winter and road construction!” And there is a sign found in many buildings that are under construction: “Pardon our dust!”

What do these things have to do with the Norbertine Center for Spirituality (NCS)? If you have been in this sacred place recently, you might have noticed a few changes: the former entrance to the NCS no longer exists; the abbey pool and sundeck have been gutted; a chain-link fence cordons of f the area; a new sidewalk has been poured in order to maneuver around the construction area; and, the heavy machinery and construction workers are busy creating a beautiful new space for the NCS.

What will this new space look like?

  • There will be a new entrance with a receptionist desk and gathering area.
  • Two large rooms capable of hosting gatherings of 150 to 200 people will occupy the majority of the space.
  • A kitchenette, coatroom, and handicap-accessible restrooms will round out the space.
  • The installation of an elevator is the highlight of the project. Knowing that it has been a challenge for some people to climb the six steps to the Killeen Room or the numerous steps to a second-floor bedroom. The entire complex will be accessible to all. The ability to host groups who can move between these spaces now will be possible.

The construction will take more than a year, so much patience is necessary! The longer walk from the abbey church parking lot in order to attend programs and retreats at the center will be one sacrifice that we are all asked to make. However, the payoff will be a beautiful new space with the amenities necessary to grow the center, as well as the programs and retreats offered here.

So, until the construction process is completed, please “pardon our dust!” Know that the season of construction will take a while. Most of all, the project will help the Norbertine community in “making all things new”—including a new space for the NCS!

Tony Pichler

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