Memorial Day Please take time to remember our Norbertine Veterans and all Veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice on this Memorial Day!

Memorial Day is a solemn occasion. It is a time to remember those who gave their life for the ultimate sacrifice so that we may have freedom!

Imbramowice - Poland - convent

Abbey Tours from around the world

Premontrei Abbey – Gödöllő, Hungary

Želiv Monastery – Czech Republic

St. Philip’s Priory – Chelmsford, England

Norbertine Sisters in the World

The present Premierre Priory of Gödöllő is not only a branch of the provostship of Jászóvár founded at the end of the 12th century, but also the legal successor of the motherland, and professes the intellectual heritage of Oradea, Jászó and Lelesz. Gödöllő was founded in 1924 by Dr. Menyhért Takács, the provost of Jászóvár, with the Premontreis who became undesirable in the successor states after the abolition of the grammar schools in Košice, Rožňava and Oradea. Gödöllő became independent with its own novitiate and theological college from 1929, and in 1937 the Holy See elevated it to an independent priesthood (prioratus sui juris). From 1938 to 1945, the governor’s slash in Gödöllő again became the prelate of the united provost of Jászóvár. From the restoration of the Trianon borders in 1945 to 1950, Gödöllő became independent again, with its own parish for a short time.


A huge complex of buildings became the property of the University of Agricultural Sciences when the monastic orders were disbanded. When the orders were dispersed, there were 55 members of the Gödöllő Priory, and 10 were in Oradea, which had become independent provostships again. After the dissolution, the policemen undertook various worldly occupations, physical or mental work. Some taught in high school or did academic work, others joined foreign abbeys (e.g., USA). During the dispersal, the convention belonged legally to the Oradea of ​​Oradea (Oradea). Their last provost, Dr. Pál Gerinczy, died in 1965 in Krasná, Szilágy County. In the early sixties, with the vow to the title of the ancient provost of Zsámbék, the community secretly grew with new members.

In 1989, at the initiative of the general abbot of the Premontrei Order, the independent Premontrei Priory of Gödöllő was restored. Of the 55 brothers living at the time of the dispersal, only 12 were alive at the time, and Father Otto Fényi became the governor of the 15-member convention with the secret vows and ordained. Even in the difficult decades, he kept order, took care of the elderly, sick comrades, and managed a community life that could be said to be authentic compared to the circumstances.

Our restarted community built a small convent and chapel on the street bordering its old area (Pheasant Row). Instead of our lost convent building, we got two smaller buildings in which we opened the eight-grade Premontrei High School in 1992 with secular teachers. The new chapel of the Pheasant line, blessed in 1993, became a parish in Premontre in 1998 by the decree of the county bishop of Vác. In addition to our school and educational work in Gödöllő, this gave us the opportunity to continue pastoral work in the parish. Over the years, the grammar school has also grown with several buildings, and in 2000 it launched its first graduates.


In Zsámbék, at the foot of the ancient monastery church, our parish took over the parish (1990), and it became the domus dependense of the community. Here, too, the humble convention began with the solemn liturgy and pastoral work in the area in collaboration with the Premontrei sisters who settled here. Since our resumption, many of our elderly comrades have died, but, thank God, our community has grown with young members.

We will continue to consider apostolic activity and pastoral work in our schools and parishes, with the background of a living monastic community, for the benefit of the faithful people of our neighborhood and the student youth entrusted to us. We consider it a regular task to celebrate the liturgy with the faithful, the premontre psalm sung daily.

The vocation of the community: pastoral and school education, upbringing

Ecclesiastical status: male monastic institution with papal status (priest)

The community is a legal entity

We are a Christian parish of the Roman Catholic faith, which has its headquarters on the premises of an ancient Želiv monastery built in 1139. Our parish cannot be completely separated from the monastery. The reasons are mainly historical. The brothers of the Premonstratensian Order have been operating here almost from the very beginning. The spiritual report takes place under the leadership of the Bishop of the Diocese of Hradec Králové. Because our monastery is a large complex, we try to make the most of the capacity of the buildings we have at our disposal and offer in the pastoral care, above all, what the ordinary parish cannot afford for various reasons. We focus primarily on evangelism (proclaiming Jesus’ message) and we want to be of benefit to the region and region in which we operate. We would like to be a place of reception.

Tertiaries, ie the lay community of friends of the monastery, which is spiritually connected with us, are part of our large family. Then there are our parishioners and members of various communities: for adults, for children and young people, and for church music. We must not forget about fifty of our employees who work in the monastery, and without their work, the monastery would not look like it does today. The main reason for our existence, then, is Christ’s teaching, which tells us that we are children of God. In other words, faith in God creates relationships and creates fellowship. We are grateful for anyone who seeks and wants to feed their souls. Because “not only does man live from bread, but from every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4: 4) And we want to offer that. We know that without Jesus we can do nothing but everything with him. Come among us. There is no one who cannot belong to us.

Our community was established as a canonry of the Order of Canons Regular of Prémontré in 2004, and moved to St. Philip’s Priory, Chelmsford, in 2008 – the first Norbertine community to have lived in Essex for over 470 years. We serve two busy parishes in the city and are also involved in a wide variety of apostolates, both near and far. These apostolates reflect the active and contemplative natures of our life as Premonstratensians.

House and Canons
Some members of the community with Mgr Andrew Wadsworth following an annual retreat

Our priory, a former Servite convent, is dedicated to Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Philip Benizi. It was graciously provided for us by the then Bishop of Brentwood, the Rt. Revd. Thomas McMahon. We continue to enjoy a warm relationship with his successor, the Rt. Revd. Alan Williams S.M., and cooperate closely with the clergy and people of the Diocese.

St Philip’s was first dedicated as a religious house in 1927, two years after it had been purchased for that intention by a Mr. Henry Shepperd. The then Servite priory was solemnly blessed and opened on 15 September 1927, the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, by Bishop Doubleday (Bishop of Brentwood 1920-51). The Norbertines moved in to St. Philip’s on Wednesday 8th October, 2008.

The Order in Essex

Visit to Beeleigh
Members of the canonry during a visit to Beeleigh Abbey

The Norbertine Order has a long history in Essex. Our priory in Chelmsford is less than 10 miles from Beeleigh Abbey, one of our pre-Reformation houses. In 2016, our Prior was granted the Titular Abbacy of Beeleigh by the then Abbot General of the Order, the Most Revd. Thomas Handgrätinger O.Praem.

Some time prior to 1172, Robert de Parndon established a house for canons in Great Parndon. This canonry was founded from Newhouse in Lincolnshire. In 1180, the house founded by Robert de Parndon was transferred to its location in Beeleigh, near Maldon. The abbey obtained a royal charter from Richard I in 1189. The heart of St. Roger of Beeleigh (Roger Niger) – a thirteenth century Bishop of London – was buried at the abbey, which subsequently became a place of pilgrimage. In 1289, King Edward I and Queen Eleanor travelled to Beeleigh as pilgrims. The abbey’s population ranged from 9 to 13 canons. From Beeleigh, parishes were served in Ulting, Maldon, Great Wakering and Steeple St. Lawrence. The abbey was suppressed in 1536, though much of the buildings survive to this day. The abbey is now in the ownership of the Foyle family, of the famous chain of bookshops.


Chelmsford Arms

The arms of the Priory reflect the history of the community and Order. The blue chevron is taken from the arms of Storrington, the community from which our canonry came into being – itself taken from the arms of the abbey of Tongerlo. The fleur-de-lys come from the arms of the former abbey of Beeleigh – they are also the device used in the arms of the Order, as is the blue colouring. The Latin motto reads “Si Deus [pro nobis] quis contra [nos],” and may be translated: “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Rm. 8:31).

May Our Blessed Mother, Queen of our Order, pray for us that Our Lord may raise up many more men to labour in this part of His world as sons of St. Norbert and that we may be ever of service to the people of this place.

Shortly after Norbert had settled down with his 40 confreres in Praemontre, he went on to establish the Order of the Praemonstratensian Sisters, with the help of Ricvera Clastres. According to Norbert, the Praemontre community was intended “to imitate the Jerusalem community: a multitude of believers gathered around the apostles”. (1) Thus besides the canons, we find men and women resolved to ‘convert’, which in the 12th century meant to embrace religious life. For this reason Praemontre continued to grow after 1121 in the form of a double Abbey, with the community of the Canons, its lay brothers and its community of Sisters. Norbert liked this structure, since it represented “a multitude of believers around the apostles in Jerusalem”.

The number of Sisters and lay brothers was in those days around 80. In an Order full of outstanding men, and women, like Ricvera of Clastres, or Adele of Montmorency, not to mention Agnes, who was a countess of Braine and who founded several monasteries, the Community didn’t lack representation from the nobility. These men and women, disciples of Norbert, were so devoted to the Eucharist and the priesthood that, following the apostolic movement, they entrusted themselves to the priests in their quest for enlightenment, just as the first Christians had entrusted themselves to the apostles. “It mattered little to Norbert and to these women, that they were not the head or arms of the Church; it was enough that by their love, contemplation and devotions, they were its heart.” (1) The nuns, ‘piae mulieres’, lived separately, yet near to the monasteries of the Canons Regular. Besides prayer their most important job was taking care of the poor the pilgrims and the brethren. The leader of the nuns was the Prioress. The magister exteriorum ruled the details of the Sisters` community life. After the death of Norbert, by 1137, influenced by a rigorous trend that tended to separate the Nuns from the Norbertine fathers, the Fathers started to dissolve the double cloisters.

“Hugh Fosses, the Abbot of Premontre thought that the General Chapter should adopt the principle that the double cloisters should be divided, which is what Norbert had already tried to do in Cappenberg and Ilbenstadt. From this point on the Norbertine nuns found themselves in a new situation. Specifically, they became responsible for chanting the Divine Office by themselves. The needs of a religious community of women led them to adopt an internal structure similar to that of the men`s communities. The educated Sisters became sorores cantantes, while those who were illiterate became sorores conversea”. (1) Around 1240 the annual Chapter of the Abbots discussed again the problem of the Sisters and created a new Constitution for them. In the light of this, the Monastery could receive no more than 20 Sisters and their Prioress had to be under the instruction of the Abbot. Further monitoring was to be conducted by the Circator appointed by the General Chapter. He was the one who received the young girls into the Order, and they in turn put their vow into his hands. The Praemonstratensian Sisters followed the contemplative life in their Monasteries in the 13th century, but they performed charity services as well: taking care of the poor, caring for) the sick and welcoming guests. There was a House (Somlovasarhely in Hungary) which continued to carry out authentication activities up to the time of the Turkish invasion. The habit worn by the Sisters was similar to that of the Canons Regular, and they also received the title of the Canonesses.


Memorial Day Please take time to remember our Norbertine Veterans and all Veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice on this Memorial Day!

Memorial Day is a solemn occasion. It is a time to remember those who gave their life for the ultimate sacrifice so that we may have freedom!