Norbertine Community in Chelmsford
|St Norbert: Founder of the Premonstatensians|
The Father-Prior, Fr Hugh Allan welcomed me and an enquirer who has finished studying a law degree and is discerning a vocation.
Like myself, he seemed to love it there and it seemed to me that within this community he was in his element. A young novice had arrived just the day before to begin his novitiate and there was a heartening mixture of youth and maturity present in the community. It felt like a community alive and growing, not overflowing with vocations perhaps, but able to attract young men with its mission for the salvation of souls.
Many things attracted me to the community, not least the sense that here is a community that is united in Christ - united in fraternal charity, brotherly love. Rather than being 'united in differences', they were united in Faith. Faith wrought harmony there. This is what one would expect of any religious community but, of course, it is not always so. While the personalities involved in the mission are different, I sensed a genuine love and concern for each other that I do not think I have seen anywhere else.
At the very heart of the community is a profound love for the Blessed Sacrament which seems to drive all that they do. While other religious orders, though less so in England, have abandoned the habit, the Norbertines dress at all times in their resplendent white habit which represents the purity of the Blessed Mother of God and of those who wish to be dedicated sons of Our Blessed Lady and lovers of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
|'Benedict Effect': Fr Rupert's first Mass at Our Lady Immaculate Church|
It was truly a great joy to be able to sing Vespers and Compline with the community and also to spend an hour in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with them. As well as love and fidelity for the Holy Father, there was a real admiration and appreciation for the work, teachings and spirituality of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Pray for them that they may continue to attract young men to lay down their lives in love for Christ and His Church.
|St Norbert receives St Augustine's rule|
As well as this, though, they know how to laugh together, how to serve one another, forgive one another and to pray together as a community united.
I am certain that God is doing wonderful things through them and for the Faithful of Chelmsford. May their mission for the proclamation of the Gospel and the salvation of souls continue to yield a rich harvest of vocations.
To learn more about St Norbert, his Order and the Norbertines in Chelmsford, click here.