Norbert was born in Xanten, near Cologne, in the Rhineland, in 1080, the son of a German count. As a youth, he lived a life of luxury as a courtier, until a riding accident one day left him unconscious. When he recovered, he was a changed man. He then placed himself under the guidance of a Benedictine abbot and became a priest.
Norbert lived in poverty and travelled through Germany preaching repentance. One night in his sleep, he had a vision of a ruined chapel in a forest, and a procession of men coming out of it. Sometime later, he was traveling through the forest of Coucy, when he suddenly came upon the chapel he had seen in his dream. At that place, Norbert founded a new order of men in the church who, like himself, lived in poverty and holiness and called the careless to repentance.
The new church was called Premontre, and the new Order was called, as it is today, the Premonstratensians. Later in life, Norbert was commissioned by the Pope to assist in ruling the German Church. He was made Bishop of Magdeburg, where he died on June 6, 1134 at the age of 54. Saint Norbert was canonised by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.