Country Roads Take Me Home [to St. Norbert Abbey]

I’m not usually a fan of John Denver–I shouldn’t say that, I like his music a lot, but for whatever reason I don’t listen to him on a regular basis–anyway, the other day my voice student brought in a book of his music, so we sang through some of his music.

On the way home, I couldn’t get his music out of my head. I immediately found a video of his on youtube and posted it on Facebook, and I’ve been listening to it on and off for the last few days.

Well, needless to say, his video Country Roads struck a chord (no pun intended) with me. I started thinking about the journey that we all take, and how many ‘roads’ we all decide to take.

Now as cliche as this post might be, I find it interesting that the roads we take have this unimaginable impact on other people’s lives. In what ways will your journey impact people four generations from now? Believe me it will. I was struck with this thought while listening to John Denver and thinking about St. Norbert Abbey.

You may be thinking that there can’t possibly be anything in common with those two entities. Well…who would have thought that my life would be impacted by the road taken by a Dutch man and his two companions in 1893?

The then Father Bernard H. Pennings came to the United States from Berne Abbey by the request of the Bishop to minister to the Dutch population and eventually ended up building a permanent home on the shores of the Fox River in the heart of the current St. Norbert College campus.

Had he not travelled that rugged road to Northeastern Wisconsin, would I have had such a deep connection with the Order? Would I still be anticipating entrance to novitiate? (72 days to go, by the way)

It is most important then to make sure that we make wise choices and keep in mind the impact that we make in our lives. Chances are you have no idea the kind of impact you are going to make in your journey.

And thanks to the courageous trek of Abbot Pennings, and to the vision of Abbot Sylvester Killeen (second abbot of the De Pere Norbertine community, and the driving force behind the building of the ‘new’ Abbey church) I will soon have a home that I will be able to return to during my journey out into the world!

“Walk, saints of God, go out into the city of God” (12 C. Roman pontifical blessing)


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