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June 6

Saint Norbert

Saint  Norbert of Xanten


(c. 1080 – 1134)

“Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?

Saint Norbert of Xanten

Saint’s Life Story

Initially Avoided Priesthood and Bishop Post

Norbert was born around 1080 in Xanten, Germany to Count Heribert of Gennep and Hedwig of Guise.  The early part of his life was devoted to the world and its pleasures at the court of Emperor Henry V, where he was almoner. Norbert was ordained as a subdeacon. But, he avoided the priesthood and declined the post of bishop of Cambria in 1113 due to fear of greater restraints. 

A Life-Changing Accident

An accident caused a wonderful change of heart. Lightning frightened his horse. Norbert was thrown to the ground and knocked senseless. When Norbert regained his consciousness, he became a sincere penitent. He left the court. Norbert withdrew to Xanten, where he began to lead a retire and penitential life.


Norbert made a retreat under the spiritual direction of Abbot Cuno in the monastery at St. Sigebert, near Cologne, and completed his conversion. He spent 2 years preparing himself for the priesthood. He was ordained in Cologne. His attempts to reform his brother canons at Xanten coupled with his extreme asceticism caused them to denounce him. His unauthorized preaching at the Council of Fritzlar in 1118 was also denounced. In response, he resigned and sold his possessions that he gave to the poor. Norbert went on a visit of penance to Pope Gelasius II, who was at Languedoc at the time. The Pope gave him permission to preach where he wished.

Established New Order

Norbert went from place-to-place preaching penance in northern France. He was renowned for his preaching prowess. Norbert was credited with performing many miracles.  Norbert received a grant of land from Bishop Bartolomes of Laon at Premontre. Here, he established the order of Premonstratensians in 1120 with 13 followers. The number in order became very numerous such that eight abbeys and two convents were soon founded. He travelled throughout France, Belgium and Germany preaching, In 1124, he also successfully opposed the heresay of Tranchelm of Antwerp. In 1125, Norbert’s constitutions received papal approval from Pope Honorius II.

Archbishop of Magdeburg

Norbert was appointed archbishop of Magdeburg by Emperor Lothair II in 1126. Even in the exalted position, Norbert practiced the same austerity that was familiar to him in the cloister. His zeal effected a great and stringent reformation in his diocese. However, like other saints, he had enemies. Norbert was the center of several assassination plots. Together with Saint Bernard, he labored much to extinguish the disorders caused by the schism of the anti-pope, Anacletus. Upon his return from a journey to Rome with Emperor Lothaire, he fell ill with exhausation and died on June 6, 1134 in Magdeburg, Germany.

Beatified:          Pre-Congregation

Canonized:       1582 by Pope Gregory XIII

Feast Day:         June 6

Patron Saint:    Against Birth Complications; Bomenia (Czech Republic); Magdeburg, Germany



Saint Norbert of Xanten shows God’s immense powers of transformation. Saint Norbert initially avoided priesthood. However, with an accident, Saint Norbert became a pentient sinner and changed his whole life. In an instant, God can change your life. But, for most of us, conversion is slow and piecemeal. It is important to remember that the pace at which you follow God is less important than the dedication you have in following God.

Are you open to God’s conversion and change in your life? Pray for the grace, wisdom and strength to accept God’s plan for you.


O God, who made the Bishop Saint Norbert a servant of your Church outstanding in his prayer and pastoral zeal, grant, we ask, that by the help of his intercession, the flock of the faithful may always find shepherds after your own heart and be fed in the pastures of salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

Saint Norbert of Xanten, pray for us. Amen.

(from The Roman Missal)

Source: Optional Memorial of St. Norbert, bishop – June 06, 2012 – Liturgical Calendar | Catholic Culture

Saint Links 

Aleteia – What you need to know about the Norbertines

AnaStpaul – St Norbert (c 1080-1134) ”Defender of the Eucharist”

Catholic Culture – St. Norbert

Catholic Exchange – St. Norbert (Bishop)

Catholic Fire – St. Norbert: Apostle of the Blessed Sacrament and Peacemaker

Catholic Ireland – Jun 6 – St Norbert (1080-1134) founder of the Canons of Premontre

Catholic News Agency – St. Norbert Feast Day: Jun 06

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Norbert of Xanten

Franciscan Media – Saint Norbert of Xanten

Independent Catholic News  – St. Norbert

My Catholic Life – Saint Norbert, Bishop

Newman Ministry – Saint Norbert of Xanten

Saints, Feasts, and Family – Saint Norbert’s Story

Saint Mary’s Press – Saint Norbert (1080-1134)

Saint of the Day – June 6 Saint Norbert

uCatholic – Saint Norbert

Wikipedia – Norbert of Xanten

Video Link

YouTube (St. Norbert College)