Abbot General Thomas Handgrätinger, O.Praem.
Abbot general’s visit paves way for international assembly
Next summer sees St. Norbert Abbey host the General Chapter of the worldwide Norbertine order. Delegates will stay at St. Norbert College, where most of the chapter meetings will take place.
This is only the second time in the 900-year history of the order that the General Chapter, held once every six years, has been convened in the United States. (The first occasion, in 1976, was also hosted by St. Norbert Abbey.)
The Most Rev. Thomas Handgrätinger, O.Praem., abbot general of the Order of Praemonstratensians (commonly known as the Norbertines), visits the college this month as planning intensifies for next summer’s assembly. He will meet with the Rev. Dane Radecki, O.Praem., ’72, who has been named secretary to the General Chapter.
The General Chapter
Every six years, delegates from all Norbertine abbeys, priories and houses around the world gather in dialogue, consider proposals and assess their common life. The 14-day gathering, designated the “Day of Pentecost” General Chapter, convenes July 22, with most meetings to be held on the campus of St. Norbert College – the only Norbertine institution of higher education in the world.
Representatives from communities of Norbertine sisters and lay associates have also been invited to attend.
The Norbertine order numbers approximately 1,400 members in 23 countries around the world that include South Africa, India, Australia, France, the Czech Republic, Great Britain and Brazil.
The abbot general
Handgrätinger, of Windberg Abbey in Germany, was elected as 64th abbot general in 2003. He entered the order in 1963, professing simple vows in 1965 and solemn vows in 1968. He was elected the 46th Abbot of Windberg in 1994, for a 10-year term of office.
Handgrätinger served as an order definitor – a member of the Abbot General’s Council – 1988-2003, and has also served as member and chair of the order’s Commission for Spirituality.