The life of Jesus of Nazareth, Son of Man, unique in his representation of the meaning of being, image of God, forms the very foundation of our Christian faith. His disciples followed Him and this is what we want to do as well. The words from the Acts of the Apostles that St. Augustine took as the origin for his Rule actually tell us everything there is to say about community: sharing the gifts of head, heart and hands, sharing as members of the community, establishing community by accepting each other day after day as Sister and Brother, by giving respect and love to one another.
Fixed abode. When we set out to build a house we chose to build it on the estate of the priory De Essenburgh and we plan to stay there for years to come. But stabilitas loci is more than that. At first we wish to seek and find our home with The Eternal, within ourselves and with each other. In Him we have our roots and He wishes to give us a home. Building on this solid ground work we are able to offer a place to others, enabling them to leave behind for a while the worries of every day and regain or preserve their own basis.
We all have part-time jobs outside the house; a deliberate choice, because we want to stand in the middle of society as well, so as to experience it personally. But there is necessity in it as well: In order to pursue the life we live, we need income. Our jobs are varied, as we are ourselves. From our community we want to contribute to the process of sharing faith by a modest programme of courses on various religious subjects in the facilities we have on our premises, and also occasionally in parishes. Together with our confreres and a small number of volunteers we succeed in maintaining both our houses and the beautiful estate.
Our faith also requires maintenance. We gather three times daily with our confreres in the chapel for prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist. Every day we make time for personal prayer and meditation. During Advent and Lent we have a weekly meditation on what is occupying us liturgically during these periods of the year. Our confreres are invited to join us in this. Approximately six times a year we have a reflective chapter with our confreres of the Priory, followed by a penitential liturgy on two of these occasions. We have someone from outside the community as a regular companion on our spiritual path.
History - The Norbertine community Mariengaard was founded as an association of women wanting to live as religious sharing prayer, life and possessions. We live according to the Rule of St. Augustine, summarized in: living together in unity of heart and soul, directed to God, to St. Augustine and to our founder St. Norbert of Gennep. This sentence taken from the Acts of the Apostles is the most precious source to live from. It teaches us the evangelical equality of all men and women, held by mutual love.
Present - Our community was actually founded on June 6th 1992. It stands within the Norbertine tradition which to us means: How are we affected and moved by what we see in society, and how can we answer to these things in obedience to our spiritual life? This is the very essence and motivation of Sister and Brotherhood. Our part-time jobs keep us engaged in the society. At home we consider it important to be hospitable, to serve the community (the local church and the area we live in) by providing means of sharing faith, education and spiritual guidance and training.
Future - We' re not living on an island. Our society with its tendency towards ongoing individualism asks us to reflect on our charism and to give meaning to the word Community in our society as well as in our Church. Our Coaching - Every 4 or 5 weeks we have an afternoon with our 'coach', a Franciscan priest. He coaches our community. Together we read a book on spirituality and he works with us around the themes from the book.
Our Work - Janny is a spiritual coach to men and women who are preparing themselves to work in our Diocese as pastoral workers. Willemien is the secretary of our Deanery. Liesbeth is a church musician in the parish of Harderwijk, and she works for the `Workgroup for Liturgy` from the Abbey of Berne. Mieke is a teacher at primary school. Together with our brothers we offer a diverse program of courses.