Premontre Abbey

Abbey Tours from around the world

Hamborn Abbey, Duisburg-Hamborn, Germany

Canon Premonstratensian of Nova Rise, Nova Rise, Czech Republic

Norbertines of San Pedro, San Pedro, CA

Schägl Abbey, Schlägl, Austria

The monastery in Hamborn from 1806 to today

Severely destroyed again in the Second World War, the abbey church and the buildings around the cloister courtyard were soon rebuilt. At that time, the parish was led and looked after by diocesan priests – as had been customary since the monastery was abolished in 1806.

In 1958 the diocese of Essen was re-established from parts of the dioceses of Paderborn, Münster and Cologne. Already in the following year 1959, 153 years after the forced abolition of Hamborn Abbey, the first Bishop of Essen, the later Cardinal Dr. Franz Hengsbach, the Premonstratensian Abbey of Windberg (Bavarian Forest) near Straubing to repopulate the historical site. The independent Priory of St. John of the Premonstratensian Canons in Duisburg-Hamborn was re-founded in 1959 and elevated to an abbey in 1994 by the General Chapter of the Premonstratensian Order.

In 1947, Windberg Abbey repopulated the old Imperial Abbey of Rot an der Rot in the Allgäu. This monastery was abandoned in 1959 because it did not offer any pastoral opportunities, and its seven members founded the new monastic community in Hamborn on August 24, 1959. That day they began regular choir prayers in the abbey church. The convention has now grown to 25 members. As early as 1959, the Bishop of Essen entrusted the Premonstratensians with pastoral care in the parish of St. Johann with a hospital and schools. As the community grew, new tasks were taken on both in the Diocese of Essen and in other dioceses (see “The Convent of the Canons in Duisburg-Hamborn” and “Our Service Today”)

According to tradition, the monastery in Nové Říš was founded in 1211 by Markvard from Hrádek and his wife Vojslava. They founded it for the religious sisters of St. Norberta – Premonstratensians. Spiritual administration was provided by priests and provosts from the mother monastery in Zábrdovice (now part of Brno). The first fixed point in the history of the monastery is the year 1248, when the New Reich Provost Heřman is documented by documents.

The monastery together with the village was twice plundered by the Hussites (in 1423 and 1424). Some sisters managed to escape, some are said to have been drowned in the pond. When the sisters believed that the greatest threat had passed and they began to work on the restoration of the monastery, another raid by Hussite troops came in 1430. The monastery was razed to the ground, the sisters found near the church of St. Ghost in Telč.

The sisters did not give up and began the difficult restoration of the convent. She walked very slowly. In 1570, 4 sisters lived in the monastery. Prioress Anna Černčická from Kácov was forced to move to Chotěšov. The rest of the sisters also left after her. Only the provost remained at the monastery. In 1582, several brothers from the Zábrdovice monastery joined this.

Another renewal of the monastery community began, and provost Adam Skotnický became the “second founder” because he laid the foundations on which the present monastery grew. On the Feast of the Holy Trinity (May 16) in 1641, seven Premonstratensians from Zabrdovick were brought to the Novoříšské monastery church, and thus the transformation into a male monastery was completed.

In 1683, the monastery suffered a great fire, which destroyed the construction of the new church. The painting of the Sorrowful Virgin Mary, which hung on the wall of the monastery room, was saved from this fire. It didn’t burn, it didn’t fall, it didn’t break. Thanks to this miraculous preservation of the image, the image was moved to the side chapel of the newly built church, where it remains today.

In 1654, Provost Engelbert Venátko obtained from Pope Innocent X the right to use the pontifical for himself and his successor, and on December 27, 1733, the monastery was elevated to an abbey, and the then provost Augustin Nepomuk Vyminko became the first abbot.

130 years after the first fire, in November 1813, the monastery suffered a second big fire. Practically the entire monastery, the new prelature, the church roof and towers burned down. The repairs after this fire were very debilitating. All costs and debts associated with repairs after the fire were paid after 30 years.

1st Great Blow of the 20th Century (World War II)

2nd big shock of the 20th century ( February 1948 and communist persecution)

After the events of February 1948, a dialogue between the state and the churches began. The incoming communist regime perceived not only the Catholic Church as a strong rival. On January 30, 1950, Abbot Bohumil Vít Tajovský of Želiv was arrested in close connection with the events in Číhošt, and on the basis of contact with him, Abbot Machalka of New Reich was also arrested. They were taken to the prison in Valdice, where they were interrogated. Neither signed to the investigator’s satisfaction.

In the constructed process  Process Machalka et al. the Abbot of New Reich was sentenced to 25 years in prison for high treason in the preparation phase. In this trial, 8 more religious were convicted, including the New Reich procurator Ludolf Barták. This trial was primarily supposed to be a defense of the planned actions, during which the soldiers occupied the monasteries and religious men and arrested the religious women. The so-called Action “K” was directed against men’s monasteries and the soldiers took away 2367 religious from 219 houses.

On April 14, 1950, after the implementation of  Action “K” , a new chapter in the history of the monastery began to be written, when the entire community was cut off from the monastery building and thus from the possibility of keeping the promise of  stabilitas loci (lifelong incarnation to a specific community and religious house). For 40 years, the monastery buildings became a warehouse for medical materials of the Brno Military Hospital.

After the religious were released from the internment camps, where the state power tried to re-educate the priests and religious, any continuation of the religious life was considered a criminal activity. There were brothers from the Novoříšský convent who had state approval to perform priestly service, and they performed this service in various parishes throughout the then Czechoslovak Republic. Those who did not have state approval worked in various dyehouses and factories.

After the Velvet Revolution in 1989, work began on handing the monastery buildings back into the hands of the religious, which took place in February 1991.

Norbertine Fathers at Mary Star

It can be said with great confidence that the Norbertine fathers are very committed to Mary Star High School. The Norbertine fathers have staffed and have helped in the administration of the school over the past 18 years. The school, parish, and community families have been enthusiastically supportive of the Norbertines presence since 1991.

There is no question that all feel enormously blessed to have these dedicated, prayerful men working in our midst – focusing on the spiritual, intellectual, and physical well-being of our youth. Their exceptional talents and energies both inspire and strengthen the direction, quality, and results at Mary Star of the Sea High School.

In a time when nationally and even worldwide the trend is for decreasing religious and priests in our Catholic schools, Mary Star can offer a prayer of gratitude for the precious gift of the Norbertines to our parish and school.


Some Facts about the Norbertine Order

The Order’s Name and Abbreviation: While the Order is best known in the USA as the “Norbertine Order” it is also known as the “Order of Premontre” or “Canons Regular of Premontre” or “Premonstratensian Order”. “O.Praem.” is the abbreviation of the Latin “Ordo Praemonstratensis” and is often found after the name of a member of the Order.

Norbertine Saints: In addition to St. Norbert, there are now 15 Norbertine Saints and Blessed recognized by the Church with their own liturgical feastdays. Beyond these there are hundreds of members of the Order who have distinguished themselves for great holiness of life in the annals of the Order.

The Religious Habit of the Order: The distinctive white habit of the Order is usually attributed to a revelation made by the Blessed Virgin to St. Norbert. St. Norbert himself says he chose it because it was the fitting color for those who are called to be angels proclaiming the resurrection of Christ to the world. The habit consists of four parts: the tunic, scapular, cincture (sash), and shoulder cape. The small “hood” on the shoulder cape is a symbolic leftover from the medieval era when the full monastic hood was worn.

The first foundation
Around 1203/1204, Kalhoch von Falkenstein founded a monastery at the foot of the Bohemian Forest. Under extreme climatic and economic conditions, the Cistercian abbot Theodoric began construction with a small group of confreres from the Langheim monastery near Bamberg. The monastery was first mentioned in 1204 in a travel invoice from Passau Bishop Wolfger von Erla, and a second mention in a document from 1209 that confirmed all rights and freedoms for the abbot and monastery.

The short history of the first Schlägl monastery ends in the winter of 1214/15 with the abbot’s death from exhaustion. The remaining brothers gave up the monastery and returned to Langheim.

A new beginning as a clearing monastery
On July 9, 1218, Kalhoch von Falkenstein handed over the donated monastery to the Premonstratensians from the Mühlhausen monastery in Bohemia. These began around 1250 with the construction of today’s monastery complex. A reference to the clearing work required for this can be found in the name “Slage” and in the monastery coat of arms with the two crossed mallets.

Romanesque crypt and Middle Ages
The Romanesque crypt, which has been preserved to this day, dates from the time it was built. Under Provost Ulrich (1304 to 1338) significant expansions were made such as the southern extension, the “Alte Probstei”. Further expansions took place in the Middle Ages: Provost Andreas Rieder (1444 to 1481) gave the collegiate church its current shape, and Provost Johannes III. (1481 to 1490) had a mighty defensive tower built.

Reformation and destruction
In the 16th century The Reformation movements had a detrimental effect on discipline and subsequently on the monastery buildings, so that Provost Crispin Fuck (1609 to 1622) felt compelled to partially rebuild them. His successor Wilhelm Capreolus began converting the church into Baroque style, but after his death in 1626, rebellious farmers set the church and monastery on fire, which resulted in extensive destruction.

Elevation to abbey
The reconstruction was carried out under Provost Martin Greysing (1627 to 1665), who commissioned the baroque appearance of the church and had the north wing and the convent wing added. Because of his services, he was elevated to abbot by the general chapter in Prämontré on May 6, 1657, and the Schlägl monastery was elevated to an abbey.

Fires and renovations
As a result, a total of seven serious fires caused major damage, the last in 1850. Two years later, the large neo-baroque library was built in place of the old stables in the east wing, with the picture gallery built in 1898 adjoining it. The construction of a new wing in the western area in 1853/54 created the closed courtyard that still exists today.

The time of Norbert von Xanten
In the High Middle Ages, monastic life was elevated to the ideal of the church and the founding of religious orders was particularly encouraged. Norbert von As a later member of the collegiate monastery in Xanten, his reform project failed due to the canons’ unwillingness.
As a result, he began searching for a new path to spiritual life.

Deciding on a fundamental ideal
In 1121, at the request of Bishop Barthelémy of Laon, he founded his first monastery in the Prémontré valley, which was confirmed by the Pope in 1126. To found it, Norbert chose the oldest Latin rule of the order, that of St. Augustine of Hippo (354 to 430). Their underlying ideal is “living together towards God”. To this day it sets clear guidelines for the life of the Premonstratensians.

The spread of the Premonstratensians
Norbert von Xanten became Archbishop of Magdeburg in 1126 and died in 1134. His remains have rested in the abbey church of Strahov (Prague) since 1627. After his death, the order spread rapidly in Europe, so that just 100 years later there were more than 500 Premonstratensian monasteries. In the course of the Reformation and secularization, the order lost its importance. A fundamental renovation took place in the 19th century. Today the Premonstratensian Order is the largest order of canons in the world with around 1,300 members!

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