Heritage Week: A Celebration of Our Past


Music, history and fellowship flowed freely at an event for Heritage Week, an annual series of St. Norbert College events that takes place during the fall semester of each academic year. This year’s lecture event was hosted in Old Saint Joseph Church on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6:30 p.m.. The event featured a performance from the Music Department at St. Norbert College and a presentation from Rev. Dr. Clemens Dölken entitled “From Marxism to Communio: The Contribution of the European St. Norbert Foundation in Magdeburg.”

Those in attendance were treated to a musical performance of sacred songs from the St. Norbert College Music Department at the beginning of the event. In both choral and instrumental performances, the department offered a wonderful start to the event. The performance included both classic songs, and a the premier of a song called “The Striking,”  written by John Hennecken, who is a member of the faculty here at SNC.

The music was followed by an introduction to the speaker, Fr. Dölken, who is the Managing Director of the Catholic non-governmental organization, “Hilfswerk SUBSIDIARIS,” based in Magdeburg, Germany. He is also a member of the Priory of Premonstratensians, and a parish priest at Magdeburg Catholic University Parish. Fr. Dölken is also a Professor of Catholic Social Doctrine and Christian Social Ethics at the University of St. Augustine in Magdeburg.

Fr. Dölken explained the ways in which the Norbertines helped to pull hundreds of unemployed people out of the economic crisis in Germany that followed the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. They formed a Catholic NGO called “Hilfswerk SUBSIDIARIS,” and sent Fr. Dölken to figure out how they could best assist people.

Through his explorations into the situation, Fr. Dölken realized that the German people needed three things the most. The first was employment, any kind of employment to get the German people off the streets. The government hired unemployed people to do church, social and environmental work as well as other jobs for the short term. The second action the NGO took was to promote investments to create even more lasting jobs. The goal of the third and final step was to help East German companies create high-end, more valuable products that could be sold all over the world.

As Fr. Dölken put it, it was important to “enlarge the percentage of value-creation in a product suitable for the world market, that Eastern German companies can adopt for themselves.”

St. Norbert’s Fr. Andrew Ciferni, who introduced the event, said: “Fr. Clemens talk made me feel very proud to be a Norbertine. His work and that of the other Norbertines in Magdeburg is a good example of stabilitas, lifelong commitment to service in one place, service with deep local roots. On the other hand, the event demonstrated the way the Order’s global presence can expand and deepen our sense of connection to other places and cultures.”

Fr. Dölken finished his speech by sharing a series of pictures of Magdeburg and other locations relevant to the speech. A reception for those in attendance followed the event.


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