Norbert was born in Germany. He was a good child and teenager. Then at the court of Emperor Henry V, Norbert spent all his time making merry and having fun. He only wanted high positions in the court. He was always the first to arrive at parties and celebrations. He was very happy with "the good life."
One day, however, his horse was frightened by a flash of lightning and bolted. Norbert was thrown to the ground and knocked unconscious. When he woke, he began to think seriously about the way he was wasting his life.
Suddenly, God felt very near. Norbert realized that the Lord was offering him the grace to change for the better. He then decided to take life more seriously and went back to the idea he had once had many years before. He had wanted to become a priest. So he studied to become a priest and was ordained to the priesthood in 1115.
Father Norbert worked hard to make others turn from their worldly ways. He gave a good example by selling all that he had and gave the money to the poor. St. Norbert started a congregation to teach people about the faith.
They began their religious life with thirteen brothers and lived in the valley of Premontre. That is why they are called Premonstratensians. They are also called Norbertines, after their founder and they started a movement of change that spread all over Europe.
St. Norbert was made bishop of the city of Magdeburg. He entered the city wearing very poor clothes and no shoes. The porter at the door of the bishop's house did not know him and refused to let him in. He told him to go join the other beggars.
"But he is our new bishop!" shouted those who knew the saint. The porter was shocked and very sorry. "Never mind, dear brother," St. Norbert said kindly. "You judge me more correctly than those who brought me here."
St. Norbert had to defend the truth that Jesus is really present in the Holy Eucharist. His beautiful words about Our Lord's presence in the Blessed Sacrament brought the people back to their holy faith. He was charming and loved all men both great and small alike.
In March, 1133, he and his great friend, St. Bernard (whose feast is celebrated on August 20) walked in an unusual procession. They joined the emperor and his army to accompany the true pope, Innocent II, safely to the Vatican. St. Norbert died at Magdeburg in Germany in 1134.