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December 2015


Dear Abbot Pennings,

“How do you celebrate Christmas?”

Fiona Hehir ’18


Dear Fiona,

Ah, with December now upon us, our thoughts truly do turn to Christmas, don’t they! As the song plays out, it certainly is the most wonderful time of the year.

So many splendid activities happen during the Christmas season. Students enjoy a delicious Christmas feast at Ruth’s Marketplace and our alumni gather their families for Breakfast With Santa (the delight on the children’s faces when the man in the red suit appears tickles my fancy!). Furthermore, how lovely it is to partake in the merriment of the Golden Knight Christmas Mass and luncheon with my former students. Our dear Father Rowland De Peaux’s annual rendition of “White Christmas” has become a much-anticipated tradition at this fine event! My treasured friends who spend their days in the Abbot Pennings Hall of Fine Arts offer the community a variety of concerts and performances that send me right into holiday bliss! Indeed, the flurry of activity that leads up to the Christmas holiday fills our St. Norbert College community with holiday splendor. 

I must share, however, that the true spirit of the season is felt deep within my heart on Christmas day itself, when we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child. Truth be told, Christmas is a very special day for the Norbertines for another reason as well; it was on this very day in 1121 that the Norbertine order was founded in Prémontré, France. In fact, this Christmas marks the 894th birthday of the Canons Regular of Prémontré, or the Premonstratensians. During midnight Mass at Old St. Joe’s this year, we shall include the French carol “Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella,” traditionally sung on Christmas eve in the early years of the college’s founding. 

I extend to you and all my readership the most splendid holiday season filled with the warmth of family, the comfort of loved ones and the spirit brought forth by the Christ Child; for these, my friends, are the greatest gifts of all.

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, O.Praem., who founded St. Norbert College in 1898. 

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