Saint Norbert of Xanten

stained glass window of Saint Norbert of Xanten, by Capronnier, Skipton, England; swiped with permission off the flickr account of Father Lawrence Lew, OPAlso known as

  • Norbert of Kingdown
  • Norbert of Magdeburg



Born to the nobility, Norbert was raised around the royal court and served as almoner for Emperor Henry V. In the court he developed a very worldly view, and took holy orders as a career move, joining the Benedictines at Siegburg. A narrow escape from death led to a conversion experience, and he began taking his vows seriously. He tried to reform his order’s local house, then became a wandering preacher. He founded a community of Augustinian canons at Premontre, France; they became known as the Norbertines or Premonstratensians, and started a reform movement that swept through European monastic houses.

Friend of Blessed Godfrey of Cappenberg. Archbishop of Magdeburg, Germany. Reformed the clergy in his see, using force when necessary. Worked with Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Saint Hugh of Grenoble to heal the schism caused by the death of Pope Honorius II. Fought heresy in Cambrai, France with the help of Saint Waltmann.







Norbert established a clergy dedicated to the ideals of the Gospel and the apostolic Church. They were chaste and poor. They wore the clothing and the symbols of the new man; that is to say, they wore “the religious habit and exhibited the dignity proper to the priesthood.” Norbert asked them “to live according to the norms of the Scriptures with Christ as their model. The priests lived in community, where they continued the work of the apostles. When Norbert was appointed as archbishop, he urged his brothers to carry the faith to the lands of the Wends. Faith was the outstanding virtue of Norbert’s life, as charity had been the hallmark of Bernard of Clairvaux. Affable and charming, amiable to one and all, he was at ease in the company of the humble and the great alike. Finally, he was a most eloquent preacher; after long meditation he would preach the word of God and with his fiery eloquence purged vices, refined virtues and filled souls of good will with the warmth of wisdom. – from the life of Saint Norbert

MLA Citation

  • “Saint Norbert of Xanten“. CatholicSaints.Info. 23 November 2021. Web. 17 January 2022. <>