Tuesday, November 15, 2005

St. Albertus Magnus

I almost forgot to post about my Dominican father, one of the few Saints who bears the title "the Great". He is one of three Dominican saints who bears the title "Doctor of the Church". He reminds me of Pope Benedict XVI perhaps because like Benedict, he was a German scholar and intellectual whose influence made way to another great saint, Thomas Aquinas. St. Albert was also bishop of Regensburg where the Pope taught theology.

Today the Church celebrates the optional memorial of St. Albert the Great, son of a German nobleman, who was studying at Padua when the Master General of the Dominicans, Jordan of Saxony, succeeded in attracting him to that Order. He was to become one of its greatest glories. After taking his degrees at the University of Paris he taught philosophy and theology at Paris and then in Cologne. St. Thomas Aquinas was among his pupils. His knowledge was encyclopedic.

In 1260 he was named Bishop of Ratisbon and devoted himself zealously to the duties of his office. But soon resigned in order to continue his teaching and research. St. Albert died in Cologne on November 15, 1280.

Why he was called "the Great"

St. Albert the Great Albert, the "light of Germany," called the Great because of his encyclopedic knowledge, was born in 1193 at Lauingen, Donau. He studied at Padua, where under the influence of the second Dominican general, he joined the newly-founded Order of Preachers (1223). Soon he was sent to Germany, taught in various cities, particularly Cologne; Thomas Aquinas was his student. In 1248 he received the honor of Master in Sacred Theology at Paris. Throngs attended his lectures.

In 1254 Albert was chosen provincial of his Order in Germany. For a time he lived at the court of Pope Alexander II, who in 1260 made him bishop of Regensburg; two years later, however, he returned to his community at Cologne. There he acted as counselor, peacemaker, and shepherd of souls with great success. He died at the age of eighty-seven. Pope Pius XI numbered him among the ranks of the saints on December 16, 1931, and declared him a doctor of the Church. Much of his life was given to writing.

His twenty-one folio volumes are devoted to commentaries on Aristotle (whose works were just then becoming known in the West) and the Bible. Legend credits him with drawing the ground plans for the cathedral at Cologne. Albert, the greatest German scholar of the Middle Ages, was outstanding in the fields of natural science, theology, and philosophy.

(Catholic Culture)


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