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Bill Hyland

Bill Hyland, director of the Center for Norbertine Studies, with one of its treasures.

July 2012

General Chapter showcases Center for Norbertine Studies

With Norbertines from 48 foundations on campus July 22-Aug. 4 for an international convention of the order, the Center for Norbertine Studies will see many visitors and, William Hyland hopes, a broadening knowledge of the centers resources and the trust in which it holds its collections.

Hyland, director of the center, also hopes the 125 Norbertine delegates will help partner with the college as it builds the collection. They will be following in the example of the six abbeys that have given the center books or allowed digital copying of their materials.

The Center for Norbertine Studies, located on the second floor of the Mulva Library, was created in 2006 to provide a single place to study Norbertine history and spirituality through cross-cultural interaction and collaboration among Norbertine houses worldwide. This summers General Chapter provides an unprecidented opportunity to introduce its work to many more priests and nuns of the order.

General Chapters, the 14-day international meetings of Norbertines that take place every six years, allow members to reflect on, discuss and renew the order and its constitutions. This is only the second General Chapter held outside of Europe. Like the first in 1976, it is being hosted by St. Norbert Abbey, where delegates will attend the opening and closing liturgies.

“A General Chapter brings together the rich heritage of our Norbertine order as we listen and learn from one another. The fraternity and unity experienced is deeply felt. I feel it is an honor for St. Norbert Abbey to serve as host to the 2012 General Chapter,” says the Rev. Dane Radecki, O.Praem. ’72, General Chapter secretary.

Abbot General Thomas Handgrätinger, O.Praem., chose “Day of Pentecost” as the event’s theme to invoke the Holy Spirit in invigorating the order for its future, Radecki says.

The Center for Norbertine Studies will host two chapter events, says Hyland. At the first, an evening reception, delegates “will be physically in the center, and they’ll also be able to walk around in the library and have the special collections to look at.”

The second event, on a Saturday afternoon, will give interested Norbertines an in-depth look at the center’s work, including digitization, and will demonstrate how members of the order can put the center to use.

Hyland expects Norbertines to drop in for informal conversations throughout the chapter. “In some ways that can be at least as important as the formal moments, because that’s where you can have follow-up conversations,” Hyland says.

The center’s several thousand books, part of the Mulvas collection, are found among the library’s rare books collection, in the center’s reading room and in the library stacks. They include nearly 2,000 books from St. Norbert Abbey – some from the 16th and 17th centuries – on the Norbertines, and on closely related church history and spirituality. The center also catalogues artwork and has begun creating a digital library of Norbertine sheet music. The center’s website has links to related material.

More on the General Chapter is available at the website of the worldwide Norbertine order.

July 3, 2012

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