Monday, October 25, 2021

Saint Norbert of Xanten – Feast Day – June 6

Saint Norbert of Xanten was also known as Norbert of Kingdown, Norbert Gennep or Norbert of Magdeburg. He was a Catholic bishop and founder of the Premonstratensian order of canons regular. He was born in 1075 AD in Xanten, Germany and died on June 6 1134 in Magdeburg, Germany. His feast day is celebrated on June 6 every year.

Saint Norbert of Xanten Biography
Saint Norbert of Xanten
Saint Norbert of Xanten
Date of Birth 1080 AD
Place of Birth Xanten, Germany
Profession Bishop of Magdeburg
Place of Work Germany
Date of Death June 6 1134
Place of Death Magdeburg, (now Saxony-Anhalt, Germany)
Feast Day June 6
Canonization By Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 in Rome, Italy
Patron Saint of
  1. Kingdom of Bohemia (now the Czech Republic),
  2. Invoked during childbirth for safe delivery;
  3. Archdiocese of Magdeburg, Germany

Saint Norbert Life History

St Norbert grew up and got educated in Xanten, near Wesel. His father was called Heribert was a member of the high nobility of the Holy Roman Empire. His mother was called Hedwig of Guise.

St Norbert was ordained as a sub-deacon and was tasked with chanting the Divine Office at the Church. Later, he was appointed as a religious counselor to Emperor Henry V in Cologne. Here he lived a life of dissipation and luxury.

Norbert sunk into luxury and avoided as much as possible ordination to the priesthood. In 1113, he had even been offered appointed as a bishop of Cambrai, an appointment he gladly declined.

In 1115 AD, as he was riding his horse, a lightning bolt struck his horse and he was thrown down. For over an hour he lay unconscious. After he recovered from this ordeal, he resigned from his position as a religious counselor to Emperor Henry V and returned to Xanten to start a new life of penance.

He was under instruction from the Abbot of St Sigeberg, near Cologne called Cono. In 1115, Nobert felt he should reward Cono for his help and therefore, with his own wealth founded the Abbey of Fürstenberg, and handed it over to Cono.

At the age of thirty-five years, Norbert was ordained to as a priest and devoted himself to the Eucharist and Our Lady.

He tried to reform the canons of Xanten by exposing their abuses but was silenced by the local council. Therefore he resigned his position from the local Church, sold all his property and offered the money to charity.

After this, Pope Gelasius II permitted him to become a mobile preacher. He started moving from place to place, like Belgium, western Germany, northern France and the Netherlands where he preached and performed a number of miracles.

St Norbert was able to rejuvenate the spirit of the priesthood, drive out heresy and quicken the faith of the people. There were several apostate priests who had a contempt for the Blessed Sacrament and buried them in filthy places. St Norbert started a search for the Sacred Hosts and found all of them untainted. He triumphantly brought them back to the tabernacle. This is why he is attributed through paintings, drawings, and statues with the monstrance in his hand.

In October 1119, at the Council of Reims, Norbert was requested by Pope Calixtus II to establish a religious order in the Diocese of Laon in France. St Norbert established the Canons Regular of Prémontré on the day of Christmas, 1120.

Pope Honorius III appointed Norbert, in 1126, to the Archbishopric of Magdeburg. While doing his reform work he experienced several assassination attempts due to his reform agenda in his see and protecting the right of the Church against the civil authority.

St Norbert Birth

He was born in 1075 AD in Xanten, near the Rhineland in Germany

St Norbert Death

Norbert died on June 6 1134 in Magdeburg, Germany at the age of 59 years.

Canonisation

St Nobert was canonized by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582 in Rome, Italy

Relics

After the death of St Norbert in Magdeburg, two parties laid claim to his body. The two parties were the canons at St. Mary’s Abbey and the canons at the cathedral.

It was Lothair III, the Holy Roman Emperor who declared that the Norbertine Abbey in Magdeburg will become the burial place for St Norbert. After numerous attempts were made to retrieve Norbert’s body from Magdeburg by the Abbey of Strahov in Prague, it was on May 2 1627 that the body was finally brought to Prague. The body is displayed as an auto-icon in a glass-fronted tomb and remains here up to today.

St Nobert is the Patron Saint of

  1. Kingdom of Bohemia (now the Czech Republic),
  2. Invoked during childbirth for safe delivery;
  3. Archdiocese of Magdeburg, Germany

Feast Day

St Norbert’s feast day is celebrated on June 6 every year

Today’s Catholic Quote:

Reparation for the injuries offered to the Blessed Sacrament was the aim of St. Norbert’s great work of reform—in himself, in the clergy, and in the faithful. How much does our present worship repair for our own past irreverences, and for the outrages offered by others to the Blessed Eucharist.

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