Order of Premontre, Premonstratensians, Norbertines, and White Canons

05 Chapter 3: Building Communio in our Churches

05 Chapter 3: Building Communio in our Churches



The unity of the Church of Christ must be made incarnate within our churches. Though this unity is a gift of grace, nevertheless, each member of our churches in which there is a diversity of ministry but a unity of mission, should work together daily to accomplish it, using the variety of gifts he has received.[3-1]

Those who offer and give themselves to our Churches by religious profession are called to strive for the unity both within our Churches and within the whole Church by life in common. Moreover, they should observe an equilibrium between the fellowship which is with God in the brethren and with the brethren in God since the Christian and religious authenticity of their lives depends on it.

Concerning the Members of Our Order


Among all members of our Order there is "a common dignity as members reborn in Christ, the common grace of sonship, the common call to perfection, one salvation, one hope, and undivided charity."[3-2]

The diversity of graces, of ministries, and of works which distinguish us ought to bring us together, because "one and the same Spirit works all of these things" (I Cor. 12: 1 1).


There are those laity attached to our Order, living their lives in the midst of the world and worldly business, who are called by God to exercise their apostolate in the particular context of their lives so that they may be as leaven placed in the mass.[3-3]

Other laity, participating in various degrees in our life, are joined more closely to our communities.


In another way, there are joined to us particularly: the parents of confreres, who take the first place among our benefactors; those who work with us or who contribute their services towards the various needs of our life and apostolates; and of course, friends and benefactors of the canonry. The bond with the family of a deceased confrere is not to be neglected.


There are priests and laity of both sexes who, led by some spiritual attraction, seek a "retreat" and a place of human and Christian exchange, so that, while continuing in their respective life styles, they may be spiritually enriched and experience a strengthening of faith, and may be led to desire to be more closely connected with a specific community of the Order. It is strongly suggested that the specific communities and the individuals concerned, through mutual deliberation, agree upon the form of this sort of relationship.[3-4]


Those adult laymen may be received as oblates who are tested in faith and piety, who wish to live with us and who wish to dedicate themselves to God and a specific church of the Order. Before anyone is received as an oblate, he should undergo at least one full year probation. If he perseveres in his intention, the prelate may receive him with the consent of the council and according to some form worked out by common deliberation for such an offering of self. Once a man has given himself to a community, that community is strictly bound to provide for his spiritual and material welfare. Should this bond be broken, care should be taken lest the oblate suffer material disadvantage.


Religious of the Order of Premontre are those who, having renounced property and matrimony, dedicate themselves to our churches by profession of the vows, in order that they might live the apostolic life in fraternal communion, following in the footsteps of Saints Augustine and Norbert. Our way of life consists of a definite ordered relationship of Christian and religious values. All members of our Order - sisters, lay brothers, juniors, and the priest brothers - direct their efforts to follow this design of life, allowing, of course, for reasonable pluriformity according to the character and grace of each.


Nuns of our Order are called upon especially to fulfill the contemplative duty of our life, accommodated to the needs of the world of our time, and led by a truly apostolic spirit as canonesses regular; they live in monasteries sui iuris and their lives are ruled by their own constitutions.

Other congregations of Sisters dedicate themselves more to external activities. Although they are imbued with the same spirit as the other brothers and sisters of our Order, their life is ruled by their own particular constitutions.

Lay brothers, joined together with their clerical brothers in one religious community, continue to share the apostolic and human responsibility of other lay people, in order that they may be a leavening force for Christian life in the midst of the people of God.

The brothers who are Juniors must be educated for full incorporation into the community. Rising above themselves, they ought to learn to place themselves generously at the disposal of the church so that they may be prepared to build community both within the Order and in its apostolates.

Priest brothers are ordained to fulfill a particular ministry within the Church: they are members of the body of Christ who, by the Sacrament of Orders, "are configured to Christ the Priest, so that they may act in the name of Christ the Head,[3-5] for His body, which is the Church. "Exercising the function of Christ the Shepherd and Head and by His authority, they bring the family of God together in one mind, and lead them through Christ in the Spirit to God the Father."[3-6]

On the Communion Which Ought to be Manifested by the Practice of Our Profession


The formula for the perpetual profession of the confreres is:

I, Brother N, offer and give myself to the Church of N, and I promise a conversion of my ways and life in community, especially in poverty, consecrated celibacy, and obedience, according to the Gospel of Christ and the apostolic way of life, according to the rule of St. Augustine and the Constitutions of the Order of Premontre; I promise this before N, the Prelate of this Church and the Brothers.[3-7]

Profession: I Offer and Give Myself and I Promise


In order that we may live the consecration and the fraternal unity of the grace of Baptism more and more each day, we freely associate ourselves with a particular community of Norbertines. Our profession expresses the surrender of ourselves: by one and the same impulse, we offer ourselves to God and to the community which is at the service of the people of God. Profession does not draw us in upon ourselves, but rather compels us to seek the Kingdom of God in the communication of friendship with other Christians.

Conversion of Life


Since we are drawn together to be united both to God and to the brethren, we should work together for the conversion which we profess. Pardon, which ought to be sought and given, and penance, which ought to be exercised, aid in this conversion. Charity and humble service should be the token of our conversion. "For we know that we have passed from life to death, because we love the brethren" (I Jo. 3:14).

The Evangelical Counsels and the Vows


Christ upon entering the world said: "Behold I come, O God, that I may do your will" (Hebr. 10:5,7), and having accepted the form of a slave, he was made obedient to death (cf. Phil. 2:7 ff.), reconciling all things through the blood of the Cross. Christ having been raised from the dead, continues to fulfill the same will of the Father in the world through the Church which is His Body.

We, as members of the Church, should be obedient to this same salvific will of the Father. In faith and charity, we are aware of the voice of the Father inviting us to devote ourselves by celibacy with an undivided heart to our God and to the brethren, and to undertake voluntary poverty because of our following of Christ.

When we bind ourselves to the three evangelical counsels by vows, our vocation and obligation is to give ourselves with undivided heart to the service of God and man. In order that we may be faithful to this vocation, we should continually keep before our eyes the example of Christ proposed to us in the Gospel, and we should also continually seek ways of authentically bringing the evangelical counsels into operation in a manner accommodated to the needs of our time and locality. Thus, through our lives, the Church will truly be able to witness Christ better each day, whether it be before the faithful or before those who do not yet know Christ.[3-8]



By the vow of living without anything we can call our own, and having all things in common, we ought to say that all we have is at the service of those with whom our profession has joined us. All things which are given to the community should be distributed to each one as each one has need.

Those things which we possess in common should also be placed at the disposal of the poor. The spirit of Christ impels us to demonstrate true solidarity with those oppressed by hunger and need. We should show love of neighbor according to the mind of St. Norbert in being hospitable both to our guests and to the poor.[3-9]

Keeping in mind the circumstances of time and place, each confrere and the community as a whole should express voluntary poverty and a spirit of service, chosen because of the Gospel, in our manner of life and dress, in whatever work we do, in fulfilling our duties towards civil society, and in the prudent administration of goods.[3-10]

A truly common life is not restricted simply to putting all material goods in common, as Adam Scotus says: "Know therefore, that you have offered and surrendered yourself to the Church of God; in everything that you are, in all that you know, and in everything that you can do.[3-11]

Thus, we shall be witnesses, following the example of Christ, that all man has, and all that he is, has been given to him to be placed at the service of men to help them to obtain the happiness for which they are destined; thus also we shall be giving witness that the Kingdom of God, already begun in Christ, should be held in higher esteem than created things.

Consecrated Celibacy


In order that we may be able to respond to the vocation of manifesting the presence of the kingdom of God in this world and that we may follow our proposal to live life in community, we choose a celibate life by which we dedicate ourselves fully to God and the brethren. Through fraternal love and friendship in common life and through a solicitude toward men, our celibacy should be endowed with a humanity which reveals the love of God for men and promotes our human happiness.

We should work so that our community is the environment in which each confrere can live as a mature person and bring his personality to perfection. Each of the brethren should hold in honor those human relationships among themselves which man needs as a social being.

We should also realize that the cross, burdens, mortification, and the custody of one's senses are necessarily included in the celibate life.[3-12]



Our community in which "the prelate is to be obeyed as a Father,[3-13] is placed within the "mystery" of the obedience of Christ, whose food it was to do the will of the Father "so that the sons of God which were dispersed, might be brought together in unity" (Jo. 11:52). We should all seek the will of the Father by being open to the Spirit of Christ and dedicate our own wills through obedience to the service of God and the brethren so that the unity for which Christ offered himself may be increased in our community. Through the light of the Word of God and the teachings of the Church, the Divine Will is made known to us through the internal workings of grace, by the discerning of spirits in fraternal dialogue, by the exigencies of our common life and constitutions, by the direction of superiors, by the example of the brothers, by the demands of our work, by the signs of the times and by the events surrounding our lives.


Let the confreres make clear their wants, their problems, their talents, and their shortcomings to their superiors. Also, in matters concerning the general community, let the confreres consult with the superiors and the other confreres, particularly in the canonry and community chapters. Furthermore, the authority of deciding and establishing what things are to be done[3-14] rests with the superiors upon whom the responsibility for decision-making normally falls, excepting in those situations specifically set forth in these Constitutions. Even in obedience, we have an active role in fulfilling the mission of community.


While exercising the service of authority, the superiors should listen to the confreres with an active benevolence, and should provide for their needs, thus promoting that reciprocal trust which so greatly contributes to the good of the community. Let the superiors foster the creative talents of the individual confreres, communicate essential information to them and collegially seek out with the brethren the appropriate means for achieving the goals of the community.

According the Gospel of Christ and the Apostolic Way of Life


By our profession of vows, we give response to the mercy of God, who calls us, that, dead to sin but living in God in a fraternal "communio" characterized by the evangelical counsels, we may follow Christ and imitate Him more closely. The prime norm for our religious life is the following of Christ, as outlined in the Gospels.[3-15]


Our "raison d'ĂȘtre" is, in a special way, inspired by the life which the early Church led around the Apostles and which the Lord Himself had initiated in the company of the Apostles and the other disciples. (cf. Act. 1:13-14, 2:42-47, 4:31-35, 6:2-4; Mc. 3:14, ff.; Jn. 12:6; Lc. 9:1-6, 10: 1-16; and parallel texts.)[3-16]

According to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitutions of the Order of Premontre


Saint Norbert, furthermore, admonishes us: "Without organization and without a rule, and without the instructions of the Fathers, it is impossible to fulfill the apostolic and evangelical mandates.[3-17] Such assistance is offered to us in the Rule of St. Augustine and in the Constitutions of the Order of Premontre, whereby the churches of our Order are inspired and directed in conforming our lives to Christ's Gospel and the apostolic teaching.

Profession and Human Happiness


As participants in the joys and hopes of man, we believe in the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Through Baptism and religious profession we participate in the paschal mystery of Christ, through whose cross joy came into the whole world. With perseverance, we should imitate the Apostles who rejoiced in faith that Christ, who had died and was raised for the brothers, was in their midst.[3-18]

On the Communion which is to be actualized in carrying out of our Mission Consisting of the Three Complementary Ministries


We must implement our gift of self daily in our participation in the life of the Church and the apostolic ministries: through the ministry of hearing and announcing the word of God, (the prophetic ministry), the ministry of celebrating the liturgy and consecrating the temporal order (the priestly ministry) and the ministry of building the community in charity (the kingly ministry).

These three ministries, which complement one another, are incumbent on us in the name of Christ for the life of the world. Christ, who is the apostle of our confession (cf. Hebr. 3:1), continues to exercise His mission or His prophetic, priestly and kingly ministries through His church as through a living organism. These three ministries, which make up the apostolate of our communities and of our Order, unite all men into the one community for which Christ gave His life (cf. Jo. 11:52).

On the Ministry of Hearing and Preaching the Word of God


"In former days God spoke to our Fathers through the prophets in diverse ways; in these last days He has spoken to us in His Son" (Hebr. 1:1-2). Christ is present to our community in His Word, and we who cling to that Word through faith are more closely united with Christ and with one another.

We who hear the word of God faithfully in the liturgy and in spiritual reading, are disposed to discem the Word of God in the events and circumstances of human life, in our brothers, and especially in their specific needs.

Hearing the Word of God, whether alone, with the community, or by way of dialogue, nourishes sincerity, perseverance, docility and recollection. Therefore, the houses of our Order should be so set up that if there are places freely set aside for silence, reflection, diligent study and fraternal dialogue.


By constantly uniting reflection on the Gospel with their ministry, all the brethren should share with others the Word of God, which they have contemplated, through the testimony of a life which is truly Christian and religious; the priest-confreres, moreover, should also do this through the preaching of conversion, through education and Christian formation, and by the encouragement of perfection.

On the Ministry of Celebrating the Liturgy and Consecrating the Temporal Order


The Word of God which we hear and announce (the prophetic ministry), is made more available to men in the Sacraments of faith. The Sacraments are both signs and sources of the unity of the Church. Since we are incorporated into the death and resurrection of Christ through Baptism, we are made members of Christ; by the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation we are assigned to an active and social participation both in the liturgy and in the sanctification of the world; by the Eucharist, we are made "sharers of the Body and Blood" of Christ and of all other Christians.[3-19]


Since the whole People of God united in Christ exercises a common priesthood, the celebration of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, to which the communities of canons regular especially dedicate themselves, should be so ordered that the entire community and the faithful in attendance may actively participate. To that same end, all members must be integrated harmoniously into the liturgical life of the community, and each community is to celebrate the liturgy according to its own proper character and according to the principle of sound pluriformity. The liturgy is to be conducted according to the proper rite either in its proper language or in the vernacular according to the legitimately introduced local customs.


Singing in the liturgy is strongly recommended as it is more conformable to the nature of this prayer and can be a mark of a fuller and more profound union of hearts in carrying out the praises of God. All the singing ought to be carefully prepared.


In all of our communities in the midst of the people of God the Eucharist is to be celebrated daily with the faithful participation of the members since it is the culmination of our communion.[3-20] Indeed, no "Christian community can be built up unless, as its root and keystone, it has the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist, from which all formation toward the spirit of community must take its origin,"[3-21] since the loaf of bread is one, we, many though we are, are one body, for all partake of the one loaf (I Cor. 10, 17).


In each of our canonries, the conventual Mass is to be celebrated regularly for the intention of the canonry, of the Order and of our benefactors. Concelebration, "in which the Church is more fully manifested, more clearly expresses the unity of the priesthood and of the sacrifice at the one altar, in a single act of thanksgiving,"[3-22] is strongly commended in houses and groups where several priests are gathered.[3-23]


Ecclesial prayer, as the table of the Word and a sacrifice of praise, is intimately connected with the celebration of the Eucharist; with psalms, canticles, and prayers, the Church responds to the word of God speaking to Us.[3-24]


Since the sanctification of the entire day and of all human effort both pertain to the very purpose of the Liturgy of the Hours, it must be celebrated in our communities in such a manner that the proper time for the Hours is observed and, at the same time, account is taken of the conditions of modern life.[3-25]


In the houses of the Order, the Liturgy of the Hours is to be carried out chorally. As to the obligation of celebrating the Liturgy of the Hours, which must be carried out according to our proper calendar, the following norms apply for our Order by virtue of canon 1174.

In the principal house of the canonry due attention is to be paid to the importance of the Hours which constitute its hinges, Lauds and Vespers. These hours are not to be omitted except for grave cause.[3-26] The Office of Readings, which is a most important liturgical celebration of the Word of God, should be carried out in so far as possible. In order that the entire day better be sanctified, the recitation of a Little Hour and Compline is to be valued.

According to the canonical character of our Order, all members of the community are corresponsible for the public prayer of the Church which must be carried out daily.[3-27] In small groups which cannot carry out the prayer of the Church, frequent common prayer every day is commended. By being constantly attentive to prayer we praise the Lord and intercede for the salvation of the whole world.[3-28]

Each solemnly professed religious is bound to pray those hours which are carried out in his community, maintaining the obligation of clerics as indicated in canon 276.2, n.3


Though we are called to pray in common, nevertheless, we are also to pray to the Father in secret (cf. Mt. 6:6). In all prayer, there should explicitly emerge an exemplification of the man who, through faith, constantly clings to his God and lives in intimate relationship with Him. Thus, we should and can pray always.


For all members, hearing the Word of God, the celebration of the liturgy, common and private prayer, which are of the essence of the contemplative aspect of our way of life, constitute the dearest form of the apostolate; in fact, they are the very soul of the apostolate.


Since we have professed a conversion of our ways, we should cooperate with the Lord Jesus who brings about this conversion through the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Penance, in so far as by celebrating the mysteries of the Lord's death and resurrection, we die more to sin and live more for God and the brethren.

The Eucharist presupposes human harmony. Those brothers who need the mercy of God due to discord ought to be reconciled with one another before approaching the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice (cf. Matthew 5:23-24).

By our confessing the wretchedness of our sins and the mercy of God[3-29] in the sacrament of Penance, a multifaceted peace with God and the Church is offered to us, a peace which likewise must be shared with our brethren.

Communal penitential celebrations, which fittingly express the social aspect of sin and reconciliation, are to be fostered.

We are intimately united to Christ our Savior by frequent reception of the sacrament of Penance which, when accompanied by an examination of conscience, certainly fosters to a great degree the necessary conversion of heart to the love of the Father of mercies.


By the fact of our common priesthood, all our works, prayers and apostolic endeavors, our daily work, both mental and physical relaxation, the duration of our lives, if abiding in the Divine Spirit, "and even the hardships of life, if borne patiently, become spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (cf. I Pet. 2:5). These sacrifices are offered most lovingly to the Father during the celebration of the Eucharist along with the offering of the Body of the Lord."[3-30] In this way we consecrate the whole world itself to God. On the Ministry of Building Up the Ecclesial and Human Community in Charity


The fruit of the Word and the Sacraments is the visible and invisible gathering together of the sons of God. The unity of the People of God is brought about, above all, by the celebration of the Eucharist. The pastoral expertise and activity of priests, together with the work of the laity, complement one another to create, promote, and stabilize this unity. True unity in a specific ecclesial community is the culmination of Christian sacrifice. "This is the sacrifice of Christians: many become one Body in Christ."[3-31]


This unity in Christ which must be fostered both within and outside our churches is their primary apostolic mission. We are taught by St. Augustine that the unity of our communities should overflow into a charity which embraces all men.


We do not all have the same duties to carry out in the pastoral office: "Just as each of our bodies has several parts and each part has a separate function, so all of us, in union with Christ form one body, and as parts of it we belong to each other" (Rom. 12:4-5). Therefore, our pastoral activity should be collegial.


The pastoral activities of our communities are to be inserted into the pastoral program of the dioceses and are to be carried out according to the norms determined by local Ordinaries. In our relationships with non-Catholic churches and non-Christian religions we shall strive to be attentive to ecumenical necessities.


In choosing forms of the apostolate for the Canonry, the more pressing needs of the Church and the contemporary world should be kept in mind. Our communities, although they carry out their work chiefly in the dioceses in which they are situated, nevertheless, should be prepared to be at the service of the universal Church. The missionary spirit of St. Norbert has been a mark of our Order from the beginning.


The mission of our Order is not only to announce Christ and the grace He has brought to men, but also to imbue the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel and bring it to perfection, since the human community must also be built up in charity.

Since we are joined intimately with the entire human family and with its progress, we ought to work at full strength with others in the building of a more humanely organized world, thus observing the great command to extend ourselves toward to the service of our brothers.[3-32]

Our communities ought to be centers which promote a synthesis of faith and culture. Christ himself revealed to us that "the new commandment of love was the basic law of human perfection, and hence of the world's transformation."[3-33] For God intends "in Christ to appropriate the whole universe into a new creation, initially here on earth, fully on the last day."[3-34]

On the Participation of the Members in Fulfilling the Mission of the Community


In our churches, where priests and lay brothers make up our religious family, there is surely oneness of mission, but yet diversity of ministry. In carrying out this mission, the priests and the laity, both religious and those living their lives in the world, complement each other. Thus, in the practice of the various forms of apostolates, there ought to be close cooperation between the priests and brothers of our churches and likewise with other priests and the laity.[3-35]


We firmly believe that the enormous task whereby people involve themselves in ameliorating the material, social, and cultural conditions of their lives, considered in itself, is a response to God's call.[3-36] It is proper for the confreres to animate the laity so that they assume as their proper ministry the renewal of the social order, which enjoys its own autonomy, its own ends and particular laws.

Wherever we ourselves live, and according to our capabilities, we ought to promote the goods of life and family, social conditions, culture, the education of youth, economic affairs, liberty, justice and peace especially for those people who because of racial or social conditions are virtually ostracized.[3-37]


The priests confreres, in their own right, share the pastoral ministry of the local bishop and in a special way are associated with his presbyterium. It is of the utmost importance that they integrate that participation and association into one living synthesis with the life of the community.


Thus care should be taken through appropriate means that the bishops become familiar with the communities of our Order and with our mode of living and working, so that they may place firm confidence in us as persons stably incorporated into a specific church; so that they may recognize and carefully promote as an element of true importance for the diocesan church that common life which is fostered, strengthened and maintained by exemption.


As the care of souls does indeed concern the mission of our Order, under the appropriate circumstances for a life of communio, let the bishop accept the confreres presented by the prelate, who is, as it were, the president of a presbyterial grouping, and who, working together with the bishop, is the inspirer and director of the pastoral activities of his community. Furthermore, both the bishop and the prelate ought to arrive carefully at a consensus regarding the obligations of our community toward the entire Church.[3-38]


The confreres ought to coordinate their own activities according to the apostolic character of the diocese; they ought to abide by the decisions made by those who share the bishop's authority. Let them work together with the other members of the diocesan presbyterium and attend meetings and conferences. Let them maintain unity among the members of the presbyterium in other ways as well; let them be fraternally hospitable, attentive to the good example of others and solicitous for the material and spiritual needs of their colleagues. Let them also be aware of the consequences of actions undertaken by the community and by individuals.


The life in common of those confreres dedicated to apostolic labors can take on various forms depending on whether those confreres reside in the abbey itself, in dependent houses, or in smaller groups. Those who currently live alone ought to try to form some sort of unit with other confreres. Also the superiors of the houses ought to promote good relations between the various confreres and communities.


After consultation with the diocesan bishop there ought to be carefully sought out ways whereby those members of the secular clergy, who, finding themselves attracted to our way of life while still wishing to belong to their own diocese, may be able to establish some bond with a canonry of the Order and live in common.

Members of the secular clergy who seek full incorporation in a canonry of our Order are to be admitted by the prelate to the novitiate, which must be carried out observing the due prescriptions of law,[3-39] only after consulting their own ordinaries. By perpetual profession such clergy are incardinated in the canonry and excardinated from the diocese.[3-40]

If several members of the secular clergy of the same diocese desire full incorporation into a canonry of the Order, a prudent inquiry should be made to see whether, with the consent of the diocesan bishop at an appropriate time, a new foundation can be made in this diocese and also whether such a foundation is expedient.[3-41]

On the communion to be manifested by the praxis of common life


The plan for communion outlined above has to be actualized in the complex reality of daily life. To this end we hold to those elements from the canonical tradition of our Order which most effectively promote communion or which serve to promote authentic Christian and religious values, as well as promoting the ecclesial mission of our churches. To that end and after careful and common deliberation these elements must be adapted to the contemporary conditions of the local community and the members by the prelate acting collegially with his council.


The Asceticism of Common Life: The charity on which common life is grounded does not seek its own (cf. I Cor. 13) and according to the Rule it must be so understood as preferring the common good to the interests of the individual, not personal interests to the interests of the community. The daily practice of common life therefore demands that whatever we are and whatever we have be directed to the common good.

The fraternal life of the confreres untiringly finds a human expression in personal relationships of mutual esteem, service, trust, edification, pardon and encouragement. The spirit of mortification which, by its very nature, is inherent in our profession is manifested also in discernment and the acceptance of the diversity of others and in patiently bearing the usual sacrifices and inconveniences of community life and daily work in common.

In regard to fast and abstinence, the laws of the Church, the customs of the region and the customs of the house are to be taken into account.[3-42]


Common Exercises: A common place of residence, common prayer, work, shared table and recreation together, the value of all of which has been proven by time, are designed to increase the integration of the confreres into the community and to foster the fraternal union among members of the same family.


Silence and the cloister: certain parts of the house are reserved for the life of the community and of the individual confreres, in the form of the cloister. Moreover, let peace and quiet there promote intellectual endeavor, especially scripture reading and familiarity with God, and that quiet which is part of one's private life.


Hospitality: St. Norbert especially commends hospitality and reception of the poor.[3-43] Therefore, we should open our hearts and our hands to the needs of people, especially the oppressed, those who suffer or are affected by discrimination in any way. Our houses should be opened to those who wish to be refreshed therein or those who seek ecumenical dialogue.


Our Work: Through our apostolic endeavors, manual labor, technical and social work, we, liable as we are to the universal obligation to work, also provide for the sustenance of the community. "Let no one do any task for his own benefit only, but let all your works take place in common, with greater eagerness and more devoted alacrity than if you were working for your own benefit alone."[3-44]


A Common Storehouse: The Rule says: "And you ought not call anything your own, but let all things be in common among you and let items be distributed according to need to each individual by your superior."[3-45] The common storehouse requires that everyone place money which they have received in a common fund. Let ordinary expenses, according to each one's needs, be provided to each individual in accordance with local customs.


Courtesy: Let courtesy characterize our daily conduct according to the intent of St. Paul as he bids us to be "diligent in fraternal love toward one another, outdoing one another in showing respect" (Rom. 12: 10).[3-46]


The Day Order: The order of the day should be drawn up such that it harmoniously orders the life and work of the community and the confreres and fosters fidelity in serving God and others.


The Habit: Our customary white habit has a three fold significance: sanctity of life, the tradition of the Church, and the unity of the Order. Let it be used, according to local custom, especially in liturgical services. Where the confreres do not wear the regular Norbertine habit, let them regulate their garb according to locally accepted custom.


Care of the Sick and Elderly and those of Advanced Age: Brothers who are subject to advancing age or ill health ought to be zealous in uniting themselves to Christ's suffering for the salvation of the world. While in their gradual configuration to Christ through such mortification they contribute to the building up of communion, they should be supported by the fraternal concern and care of their brothers.

Those brothers who on account of illness or old age find themselves in danger of death and have been strengthened by the Anointing of the Sick should prepare themselves so that with their passing they may enter fully into the paschal mystery in the kingdom of the Father.

The entire canonry should value the care of the sick and those of advance age. Superiors should solicitously see to it that confreres advanced in age or who are infirm are properly assisted and well cared for.


Prayers and works on behalf of the deceased confreres: Our union with the confreres who sleep in the peace of Christ is by no means destroyed, but, on the contrary, should be strengthened by the communication of spiritual goods. Thus, we devoutly recall the memory of the deceased before the Lord's altar, and we pray on their behalf.[3-47]

Each year, on behalf of deceased brothers and sisters of a canonry, and of its friends and benefactors, let there be celebrated two general services: one after the feast of the Lord's

Presentation, and the other after the feast of the Most Holy Trinity. In the individual communities whatever services are to be held in particular cases are to be determined by the prelate acting collegially with his council.

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