Mississippi priory spared by hurricane
Norbertine foundation near Jackson is surrounded by trees
By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor
The Norbertine community in Mississippi and its new priory escaped Hurricane Katrina unscathed.
"Considering all the devastation, I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that we didn't experience any damage at all," said Abbot E. Thomas De Wane, O.Praem., who serves at the Priory of St. Moses the Black. "After the hurricane left New Orleans we had winds of 50-60 miles per hour, but didn't suffer any damage. We are located in the woods. You can put your hand out and touch trees on all sides, so there potentially could have been major damage if some of the trees fell. A tree was down about a mile away, but it didn't cause any damage."
The priory is located on a hill near the town of Raymond, Miss., eight miles outside of Jackson, where Katrina caused an 80% electricity loss. The priory is equipped with a generator.
"There is a gas shortage in the area," said Abbot DeWane, who served as abbot at St. Norbert Abbey in De Pere from 1994 to 2003. "The stores are open, so we are able to get food. We are very fortunate. We don't have any dikes in this area, so we are not dealing with those situations."
Phone communication was halted by the hurricane, so Abbot DeWane was not able to call Wisconsin until Aug. 31.
Norbertine priests assist at area parishes, including St. Mary Parish, the former home of the Priory of St. Moses the Black. There was no reported damage at the parishes, said Abbot
The Priory of St. Moses the Black was inaugurated on Sept. 9, 1990. This marked the official beginning of the new foundation from St. Norbert Abbey in DePere, the fourth in its history. Other foundations include Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, Penn.; St. Norbert Priory in Lima, Peru; and the Priory of Santa Maria de la Vid in Albuquerque, NM. The new priory building in Raymond was dedicated on Nov. 21, 2004.