Saints and Saintly Dominicans – 6 June

stained glass window of Saint Norbert of Xanten, by Capronnier, Skipton, England; swiped with permission off the flickr account of Father Lawrence Lew, OPSaint Norbert, Bishop, Confessor

As a subdeacon Saint Norbert had refused to receive the other holy orders so as to be able to give himself more freely to worldly vanities. But at the age of thirty-three he was one day overtaken by a terrible storm, accompanied by terrific lightning and thunder, when he felt himself cast down to the earth like Saint Paul on the road to Damascus. Being perfectly and instantly converted, he despised the vanities he had formerly so loved, clothed himself in a poor tunic of skins in place of his fine clothes and girded himself with a cord. To repair the scandal he had before, given, he obtained leave of the Pope to go about preaching the Gospel. He walked barefoot even in the severest winter, took always Lenten diet and seemed like another Saint John Baptist. Saint Norbert founded the Order of Premonstratensians, from whose rule our holy Father Saint Dominic borrowed certain ceremonies and observances, for he thought highly of their wisdom. Saint Norbert recommended three things especially to his religious. (1) Purity of heart and exterior cleanliness in everything regarding the service of the altar; (2) eagerness to expiate faults against the rule in chapter; (3) the practice of hospitality and the care of the poor. Zealous for the purity of the faith and the good of the .faithful he sought out and by his arguments confounded the heresiarch Taukelin, who desired to overthrow the hierarchy and to encourage the general corruption of manners. The demon, who was furious against him, spoke of him as “that white dog” in allusion to the white woollen tunic worn in his Order. He died in 1234.


O my God, make me eloquent in preaching by my example!


Be careful to repair harm done by bad example, especially that which you have given to inferiors.