Order of Premontre, Premonstratensians, Norbertines, and White Canons

05 Chapters 11-20

05 Chapters 11-20

Chapter XI

How Norbert Received His First General Permission to Preach Everywhere.

When the holy Pope saw Norbert's determination and the ardent devotion of his mind, as well as hearing about the persecution which he had endured on behalf of the truth, he gave him permission to preach the Word of God not only where he had preached before but everywhere he wished and was able to do so. He enjoined this task on him in his own name. Moreover, he placed a prohibition on those who had earlier resisted him out of envy so that they not impede the simple even if they think his preaching is superfluous or less than useful.  He then confirmed and ratified this permission with a letter of authorization under his seal.[11-1] 

Chapter XII

How Norbert Came to Valenciennes Where He Lost His Three Companions.

After Norbert accepted the Apostolic mandate to preach he began his return journey barefoot, just as he had come, in the midst of the excesses of a harsh winter. It must be stated that the man burned with such love toward God that neither the harsh cold nor hunger nor weariness kept him back from what he had begun. No doubt sometimes on that journey the snow reached to his knees, sometimes even to his thighs. Nevertheless, this could not hold him back for even one day.

24.  Norbert took no food except Lenten food and then only in the evening, except on Sundays. He ate fish and drank wine very rarely. He gave his body no rest during the day. His spirit rested neither at night nor during the day. He was a man of singular faith and great strength.  While moving on with so honorable and so praiseworthy strength of such a body and spirit, Norbert passed through Orleans.[12-1]  There a subdeacon joined his company. Thus with three companions he came to Valenciennes.[12-2]  On the Saturday before Palm Sunday.[12-3]  The next day he gave a sermon to the people still scarcely knowing or understanding anything about French because he had never learned it. Norbert did not lack confidence that, if he attempted the Word of God in his mother tongue, the Holy Spirit, who once taught a variety of a hundred and twenty languages[12-4], would make the roughness of the German language or the difficulty of Latin eloquence manageable for his hearers to understand.

And so by the grace of God Norbert fell into such favor with everyone that they forced him to stay there to refresh his tired and feeble limbs a little. But he was unwilling for any reason to give in to them. He wanted to move on to the Diocese of Cologne because he knew the people and the language. However, God allowed his companions to be seized by a sudden illness and he was unable to travel any farther. Norbert remained to look after his sick companions who during the following days, within the Octave of Easter[12-5], fell asleep in the Lord. The two laymen were buried in a suburb of Valenciennes in the Church of Saint Peter near the market on the left toward the west. The subdeacon who had become a monk was buried in the Church of Saint Mary located in the same town.

25. In the meantime, while Norbert remained there caring for his companions, Burchard, the Bishop of Cambrai[12-6], a man of pious and revered memory, was passing through on the Wednesday[12-7] before Holy Thursday. When the Man of God heard this, because they had known one another while they still lived in the world, he went to talk with him. Coming to the entrance of the house where the bishop was staying, by God's will he found one of the bishop's clerics standing there in front of the door. In a low voice he asked the cleric to admit him to the bishop. There was frost on the ground and Norbert was barefoot.

Going inside the cleric spoke to the bishop and then brought the man in. After a brief conversation they recognized each other, mindful of their former friendship. The bishop looked at the man and, greatly amazed and astounded, broke into tears. He could not control himself. His heart was moved by the sight of him. Grasping Norbert around the neck, he gasped and in a gentle voice said: "O Norbert, who would have ever believed or even thought this of you?"

Meanwhile, the cleric who had admitted Norbert was standing there. Seeing the bishop's affection toward the man, but not understanding their conversation because they were speaking in German, he presumed to approach and ask what this was about. Immediately the bishop said: "This man whom you see in this condition was brought up together with me in the court of the king, a noble man, abounding in pleasures to such a degree that he refused my bishopric when it was offered to him."[12-8]

26. The cleric, when he heard this, immediately filled up with tears both because he saw his master weeping and because his mind and spirit overflowed with warm affection out of love for such a man. He himself had a desire to leave the world and had, for a long time now, chosen in his heart the way of life which he observed in Norbert. Day after day with great devotion he longed to pursue this vocation. Nevertheless, he still did not talk about it but thought it over secretly in his conscience. Silently he considered where Norbert's ways would lead him.

The Man of God meanwhile remained there expecting the death of his companions. Then after these men, by whose comfort he had frequently overcome many journeys, difficult roads and cold snows, had gone to God because of the merit of a holy life, as mentioned above, he himself was seized by a grave illness. The bishop awaited the outcome of this illness and visited his friend by means of a certain archdeacon[12-9] and others of his court. The cleric, strong in his affection, sollicitously checked every day to see whether and when he would recover.

After Norbert recovered, the cleric approached him. When he revealed to him the plan and desire of his heart and promised to go with him, Norbert immediately extended his hands to heaven and giving thanks, said: "Lord God, today I asked you to give me a companion". Norbert thought that he would remain with him and never depart to do something else. But the cleric had not planned it that way. He wanted first to settle his affairs. Therefore, after he said "I have to dispose of my affairs", Norbert was saddened by such words. With the tone of his voice indicating his feelings he said: "Ah, brother, if this is of God it will not be undone". The cleric immediately responded: "You have bound me, Father, with an unbreakable bond".[12-10]   Thus he went away. When his affairs were settled he returned as quickly as he could. Henceforth he followed the Man of God, Norbert, without turning back. He thought it wrong and unworthy if for anything temporal he should delay in matters which please God, or if he should waste any time in such affection of his devotion.

Chapter XIII

How Norbert Received One Man at Valenciennes Who Replaced the Three.

27. In the year 1118 after the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the month of June, the Man of God was still in the town of Valenciennes[13-1], destitute of all comfort from the companions mentioned above. In order that the divine mercy might be made more evident and be more pleasing to his servant Norbert, after the departure of those men from this life, he was approached by Hugh, the aforementioned cleric. Hugh succeeded Norbert in the governing of Prémontré.

After leaving everything this man of pious and holy life joined Norbert in the same life of poverty. Norbert rejoiced and gave immeasurable thanks to God, and joining interior inspiration to the exterior gift of God, he was inspired to preach. Now, sure of the will of God, he went about the castles, villages and towns, preaching and reconciling those badly at odds, and reducing old hatreds and wars to peace.

They were the true poor of Christ offering their labor[13-2] to others for free, asking or accepting nothing from anyone, either food or clothing, unless perhaps it had been offered for Mass. And all of this, whatever it was, they distributed to the poor mindful of the Holy Spirit and the prophet who praises him "who distributed and gave to the poor; his justice remains forever."[13-3]  They were secure in the grace of God who provides what is necessary for his servants. They held firm to the fact that they were "pilgrims and guests on the earth".[13-4]  No trace of ambition could touch them; their entire hope was on heaven. A generous spirit, Norbert could not understand that someone could despise everything for Christ and then, like a dog returning to its vomit[13-5], use his abilities to work for contemptible gain and long for abject rewards.

28. Norbert gained such admiration and love in the hearts of all that wherever they went, approaching villages and towns, shepherds left their flocks and ran before them announcing to the people that the servants of God were coming. Bells were then rung and a crowd of people of every sex, age and condition gathered at the church, gladly heard Mass, and freely welcomed his words of exhortation and warning. After his sermon a long discussion would follow regarding frequency of confession, performing penance, husbands and wives, ownership, and how those who die with possessions ought to be saved. When everything was answered regarding all these topics, toward evening they were brought to a place to stay. Each one greatly rejoiced and considered himself lucky and worthy of God if he merited to welcome Norbert into his house. Sometimes one pulled the donkey, another grabbed the donkey's halter, another forcefully took charge of the young man, the only servant whom they had to take care of the donkey.

Who was not amazed at this new type of life, to live on earth and to have nothing and to seek nothing from the earth? For if, as Solomon said: "Joy for the upright is justice"[13-6], the Man of God was very happy that he fulfilled the Gospel mandate that in his preaching he should carry no purse, no sandals nor two tunics[13-7], onlya Staff and whatever was needed to celebrate Mass, and a psalter or I know not whatever other book.

For his meals the holy man did not allow the people to prepare a seat for him nor to place a table before him. The ground was his seat and his knees were his table. His food was seasoned only with salt.[13-8]  Water was their drink except perhaps in cities and abbeys and other such places where they were invited by bishops, archbishops or abbots. In such cases they did not want to cause discomfort among those dining with them and were thus unwilling to violate the manners and customs of these places.

29. Since they exhibited every aspect of culture they were also invited into chapters with fear and reverence to give a sermon. After the sermon, given the opportunity, those present peppered them with many questions: about orders, rules, habit, and diverse institutions of the holy fathers, about the life and customs of prelates, the subjection and obedience of subjects, about the heavenly sacraments and heavenly life, about retribution and the happiness of the elect, about eternal glory and the happiness of good spirits, about the indifferent tribulation of the good and evil in this world and to what ends might come the works of individuals when the Judge comes for judgment at the end of time.[13-9]

So many questions of this sort could not be without the prompting and fraud of the deceitful enemy. Hence it was discovered that some beset the man with their many questions to test him, some to deceive him, nevertheless many to learn. They did this to catch him in his speech[13-10] and prove whether he was truthfully preaching so unaccustomed a way of life in modem times.

But the holy man, although he knew for certain through their admission that they were laying a trap for him, feared none of this. Crying out and raising his voice like a trumpet[13-11] he announced the crimes of the sinners. What he preached by his words he demonstrated by his work. And what he did he confirmed by signs and powers. Thus by travelling all around Norbert recalled many from their error and, by advising penance, he restrained many from crime. He even brought many from discord to harmony.

Because of this and things like it God conferred on Norbert such love and favor of the people that scarcely anyone could be satisfied by seeing or hearing him. His love for the people was so great that many times, leaving the refuge of the churches, he preferred to lodge in the midst of the cities and towns where he joyfully received everyone coming to him.[13-12]  Moreover, in everything beyond what can be said or believed, he was patient in vigils, diligent in work, pleasant in word, pleasing to see, kind toward the simple, severe towards the enemies of the Church. No religious person at that time gained such favor in the eyes of the people or were so sought out as was Norbert.

Chapter XIV

How Norbert Encouraged His Companion.

30.[14-1]  The holy man who recently received Hugh as a new companion, as he had requested from God, admonished him to be strong. Norbert feared that he would waver due to such severity of penance. Lest he shrink from poverty, Norbert set before him the example of St. Lawrence who distributed the treasures of the holy Pope Sixtus.[14-2]  Norbert wanted him to gradually put aside the dryness of worldly heat and draw from the font of heavenly refreshment and sweetness. He promised Hugh what was promised by Truth, namely that whoever drinks from that font will not thirst forever.[14-3]

Norbert also taught him how a sinner ought to be reconciled to and approach God and with what efforts, with what labors and with what virtues any just person might reach the company of good spirits. He pointed out what a great virtue humility is by which one comes to heaven; how great simplicity is by which heaven is penetrated; what obedience is like by which one can reach the knowledge of the secrets of God; what patience is like by which strength of mind is possessed; what chastity is like which makes one close to God; what virginity is like which walks with God; what poverty is like which makes one possess the kingdom of heaven.[14-4]  These thoughts and similar ideas the man, full of God, repeated many times from day to day by way of exhortation.

Chapter XV

How Norbert Brought About Peace at Fosses Between Conflicting Parties.

31. To be more specific about some activities that have been spoken about in general, this account is included. One day Norbert passed through a town called Fosses[15-1] and people, both clerics and laity, began to gather. They were wondering about his unaccustomed way of life. This occurred primarily because they knew his companion. Knowing that Norbert was a minister of concord and peace, through a grace conferred on him by God, they pressed him to stay a while with them and rest. They explained that in that region there was a feud involving mortal hatred in which they claimed no fewer than sixty had been killed. No one was able to settle this feud, including many religious and powerful men who had worked at it for a long time.

While many were giving various aspects about this situation - it must not be thought by accident but by the working of divine grace -- a man passed through whose brother that same week had been slain due to this same hatred. While they were standing there and saw him, they said: "Look! One of those about whom we are speaking." They called him over and immediately the Man of God put his arms around his neck and said: "My good sir, I am a pilgrim passing through and I have asked for nothing of anyone yet in these parts nor have I received anything. But because I see that you are a young, well-armed and elegant man I would like to ask and receive that first favor from you. Clearly an upright man you should not have to refuse what I ask."

By the grace of God this man was immediately moved by feelings of piety and filled with tears. He answered: "What is it, Reverend Father, that neither I nor anyone can refuse you?" When the forgiveness for his slain brother was sought, forgiveness was given without delay. Not only did he forgive but he offered his submission to the Man of God demonstrating how all hatreds might be ended and brought to reconciliation. The man of God first learned of this on Tuesday.[15-2]

32.  In the morning on the following Saturday both sides of the dispute came together in a village called Moustier.[15-3]  Many people gathered from the vicinity partly to see the Man of God about whom unusual things were heard, and partly to urge the dissidents, concerning whom the whole region was in turmoil, to reconcile. When Norbert, on command of the Lord's truth[15-4], persisted in prayer in a room with the door closed almost until the third hour, the people, overcome by boredom and curiosity, as usually happens, began to wonder quite a bit and to murmur. They said to one another: "Why did we come here? We thought that he would come out and sow the seed of the word of God and soften the hard hearts of the dissidents from the flowing font of life.[15-5]   But he remains inside sleeping and resting or doing something else he wishes.

When they became so impatient that they could no longer bear it, they forced his companion, who had come out to them, to go in and say that they would all soon leave if he did not come out. The companion, somewhat fearful[15-6] knew that he was praying and delayed entering lest he disturb him in his prayer. Nevertheless, compelled by their rudeness, he finally went in and, standing before him trembling, said in a low voice: "Father, the people are waiting and because you do not show yourself to them, they want to go away." He answered: "Quiet, my son, it is not for us to serve God according to the will of men, but according to the will of God."

Nevertheless shortly thereafter he arose from prayer and entered the church. After vesting he celebrated first the Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as is customary on Saturdays, then a Mass for the dead men whose deaths were the cause of the hatred which he wanted to put to rest. After these Masses were most devoutly completed, according to custom, he went out to give a sermon. But because the time for lunch had passed -- it was almost the ninth hour -- many had left, to eat and he found few to whom to preach. It was his practice to preach a sermon to a few just as to many, to the poor just as to the rich, from his abundant heart of charity to each according to his measure and ability.

A little later after praying, when he had begun to speak and had attracted the Spirit, in a strange and unspeakable way the spirit of charity, like a voice spread out, became a sound in the hearts of those who had departed out of boredom. As if to the sound of a trumpet each one, leaving his dinner or drink, came running quickly to the church from the places and taverns where they sat, as if to receive a better banquet.

33. When the Man of God saw that the church was filled, shortening his sermon he addressed them thus: "Brothers, when Our Lord Jesus Christ sent his disciples out to preach, among other things he gave them the command that whatever house they entered they should first say: 'Peace be to this house. And if a son of peace was there, their peace would rest on him.[15-7]  Now we, who have become imitators of them, not by our own merits but through the superabundant grace of God, announce that same peace to you. Do not let your unbelieving minds disregard this peace because it touches on everlasting peace. You are not unaware of why we have gathered. Its accomplishment is not mine nor of my doing, since I am a stranger and traveller, but it is of the will and power of God. It is for you, however, to comply with His will with complete and total affection." To this they responded with one voice: "Let the Lord, through you, command whatever is pleasing to Him. We should not contradict whatever the Lord wants us to do." What more is to be said? Both sides of the dispute went out into the courtyard and, with relics placed in the space between them, they abjured their discord and made peace, confirming it by oath.

Chapter XVI

Two Conflicting Princes, One of Whom Was Unable to Assent to the Man of God.

34. Norbert was not remiss in doing this sort of work and the other works of God which he had, through the mercy of God, undertaken from the service enjoined on him and out of penance. Therefore, the next day early in the morning he rose and departed for another village not far away called Gembloux[16-1] in order to preach to the people. He was very devoutly received here because they had heard he was a bearer of the Word of God and a bringer of tranquil peace.

In that same region two princes were greatly at odds with one another and as usually happens the whole region had been reduced to wasteland and solitude by plunder and burning. When the Man of God heard this, he was moved by the cries of the people and took pity on their misery and poverty. He approached these princes as best he could, first the one then the other. He addressed the first man saying: "You are great and powerful and you ought not be unaware that your power has been granted to you by God. I am his servant who has been sent to you. You should listen to me not for my sake but for love of Him. I have come to you for your sake and the sake of many. The~efore, listen to a poor pilgrim, receive the commands of the Lord your God given to you through him. Receive, that you may be received by Him. Forgive the one who harmed you. Forgive, that you may be forgiven. Let it be beneficial for you and a help to the poor and needy. Let it benefit you by the remission of your sins. Let it be a help to the poor by the reparation of their lost property.

Hearing this, the prince looked at the man and saw that he had an angelic face. He considered his humble dress and habit and the eloquence of his words marked by the simplicity of a dove and the cleverness of a serpent.[16-2]  He trembled all over; his innards were moved. He softened his response with a feeling of piety and said: "As you wish. It makes no sense to contradict or oppose the sound reason of your request."

35.  With a feeling of accomplishment, Norbert left him and sought out the other man. But the sower of discord, who placed his seat to the North[16-3], had already hardened this man's heart and his seed had taken root in him. Thus the eyes of his mind were closed so that there was no ray of truelight in his mind nor warmth of charity in his heart by which he might respond even somewhat mildly to the Man of God. Seeing the harshness of his face, his rolling eyes, the fierceness of his words and the hardness of his heart, Norbert at once kept quiet lest he throw pearls before swine.[16-4]   Turning to his companion he said: "This man is insane but he will soon fall and be captured and be trampled by his enemies." Norbert said this and within the same week his prediction came true. The man was captured and held by his enemies.

The listener[16-5] should know that this story has been told so that the Man of God may be believed to have had the spirit of prophecy.

Chapter XVII

Two Other Enemies, One of Whom Was Unable to Flee When He Wanted to.

36. Going farther Norbert came to the next village called Colrois.[17-1]  Because his reputation had spread, people from that vicinity flocked to hear him preach. After Mass he preached a sermon on peace and concord as he was accustomed to do.  When the sermon was finished he began to inquire if there was any discord among them.  The people identified certain dissidents among them and Norbert then began with humble exhortation to recall them from their old quarrels. One of these dissidents with whom they pleaded would in no way assent to Norbert's petition nor that of all those standing around. The man dashed outside, climbed on his horse -- for he was a soldier -- and tried to flee. Although he fiercely spurred his horse on again and again it would not move.  The others who had remained in church came out and gathered around with surprise and wonder. Some began to shout in mockery; some to weep in sympathy. Nevertheless with one voice all praised God who is glorious in his saints and who demonstrated this same glory right there in the eyes of sinners. The man was confused at the sound of the shouting and returned to the church to the Man of God. Prostrating he sought pardon. He now gladly agreed to what was previously asked of him. He also requested and received absolution for having offended the holy Man of God. And thus was fulfilled what is written: "Fill their faces with shame and they will seek yourname, O Lord".[17-2]

Chapter XVIII

The Request and Confirmation of Norbert's Preaching by Pope Callistus.

37.  Given the right reasons, the truth of the matter as well as the order of events ought not cause disdain or be an occasion for denial for the reader or listeners. Even if there are some matters which appear unnecessary to the weary or to the envious, nevertheless the true events are revealed by those who have seen and heard them. Also included are events which cannot be omitted. These cannot otherwise be told in their proper order and satisfy those desiring to know them[18-1]. All that has preceded is only a part of what Norbert did before he gathered his confreres. Much still remains to be told of how Norbert labored in gathering, disposing and preserving; how he kept those whom he gathered in the bond of unity through the Word of God and the grace of the Holy Spirit; how he taught them to be lovers of voluntary poverty and imitators of Christ's obedience in all things.

That same year Pope Gelasius[18-2] of blessed memory, from whom Norbert had received permission to preach, departed this world. He was succeeded by Callistus[18-3], the Bishop of Vienne, a man of pious and holy life and worthy memory. Callistus was unanimously elected at Cluny[18-4] and was elevated to the highest honor, dignity and power in the See of the Universal Church. The aforementioned Gelasius, along with the more well-advised cardinals, had travelled in order to visit Holy Mother Church in her members.[18-5] He had heard much about the Church while presiding as its head -- he had been chancellor for many years during the reign of Pope Paschal and others -- and whatever went on in the world, good or bad, they could not conceal from him. Deprived of such a father, the cardinals and other sons of the Holy Roman Church who had come to the funeral[18-6] of Gelasius, sought and received counsel from Him who said: "I shall not leave you orphans".[18-7]   To complete what his predecessor had begun, Callistus, making a good start, called a council at Rheims[18-8] where the Church confirmed his election and he himself approved and corroborated what had been done well. Whatever was found wrong and in need of correction he amended and ordered to be reformed by the authority of Rome.

38. Norbert heard that there had been a new election to the Apostolic See. It was autumn when the time of winter begins to grow cold but the Man of God, barefoot as he was, went to Rheims where he was welcomed with joy by the bishops and abbots who had gathered there.  They were greatly astonished at the excellence of his preaching, his responses and the austerity and harshness of the penance he undertook. In regard to the rigors of his life, one of them, actually several, asked that he lessen it and ease up on himself somewhat as far as physical hardship was concerned. However, he wanted no mitigation. Nevertheless, so that his sound teaching[18-9] not be weakened by critics who are accustomed to lash out at such innovations, he requested a renewal of the Apostolic letter[18-10] which, as mentioned above, he received from Pope Gelasius.

Chapter XIX

How Norbert Came to Prémontré.

After Norbert received this letter, the Pope asked the venerable Bishop Bartholomew of Laon[19-1] to look after him. There were in the diocese and even in that city some close relatives of the man[19-2] On his mother's side who were concerned about him and, due to their influence, the bishop was advised to administer a gentle hand to him for a time even though it was unwanted.

Not long after the Council was finished, the Pope came to Laon[19-3]. The Bishop, taking counsel with the Pope on how to keep Norbert in the service of his diocese, offered him the Church of Saint Martin[19-4] which was in the suburb. There were a few brothers there living under the rule of canonical profession but Norbert refused on all counts.

39. Finally, when he was pressed, he agreed to what he was asked lest he offend the Pope and not be obedient, on condition that the canons living there would not refuse to observe his practices which he would teach them according to the evangelical and apostolic institution.

But when he explained the evangelical institution in answer to their questions, namely how they were to be imitators of Christ, how they would have to despise the world and be voluntarily poor, how they would have to bear up under reproach and insult and derision and suffer hunger, thirst and nakedness and other things of this sort, how they would have to be obedient to the precepts and rules of the Holy Fathers, they were immediately terrified by his words and appearance and said: "We don't want this man over us[19-5] because neither our custom nor that of our predecessors has known such a master. Let us live as we are. God wants to chastise not kill."[19-6]  Thus Norbert obeyed and, since he was released from his obedience, did not disobey.

Norbert remained there but his companion, spoken of above, continued on with Bishop Burchard of Cambrai, for he had to dispose of some of his property which recently he had left unattended. Because this property was being divided up otherwise than he wished (he was a novice) he did not take it calmly.

Meanwhile the bishop was trying to nourish his enfeebled guest, thin from cold and fasting, but he himself was in turn daily fed by his guest through the spiritual nourishment of the honey-sweet Word of God. For this reason he grew very fond of Norbert and urged him with all sorts of arguments to remain in his diocese. Every day the bishop took Norbert around and showed him places in the hope that there might be a church he liked, or some lonely place, some wilderness, some cultivated or uncultivated spot on which to build or remain. Finally, overcome by the bishop's pleas and those of many others, both religious and noble, Norbert chose a place extremely deserted and lonely which from of old the inhabitants called Prémontré[19-7] where he pledged to remain if God would allow him to gather companions. 

Chapter XX

How Norbert Went Out to Gather Companions.

40. When winter had passed, and the cold of the snow and ice had diminished a little by the warmth of spring, the Man of God, as he was accustomed, girded with the courage of divine comfort, went forth to preach. He came to Cambrai alone. After preaching to the people, the seed fell on good ground[20-1], namely on a young man named Evermode.[20-2]   In receiving the Word of God he was so filled with the Holy Spirit that out of love for Norbert he prayed to the Lord his God standing in the same place and in the same footprints[20-3] where he had carefully observed the Man of God standing while giving his sermon. What did the young man, instructed by the Holy Spirit in the Lord, believe, except that this was the same Word which became flesh, when he worshiped where his feet stood? Without hesitation Evernode immediately left everything and followed him.[20-4]

Evermode was bound to Norbert by such a bond of profound love that throughout his life the spirit of the Man of God rested on him. Norbert confided in Evermode where he wanted to be buried after he died and ordered that he should never leave him unless he was to return.[20-5]

Arriving at Nivelles[20-6] Norbert received another young man named Anthony[20-7] whom God entrusted to him. These two and the third whom he had earlier accepted, from a human standpoint, were the roots and foundation of the future multitude which would follow. What is unknown and hidden from human eyes, because of the depth of God's wisdom and knowledge, is left to His arrangement. We must not dwell here as to where he gathered other companions or how God drew them to him. Nevertheless, it is known that within that Lent he had so many followers that in the week of the Lord's Passion before Easter[20-8] he returned with thirteen and took possession of Prémontré.

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Library » Documents » Life of St. Norbert (Vita B) - Translation of 12th Century Manuscript