Our Patron Saint

St. Albert the Great c. 1200-1280 A.D.

St. Albert the greatThis great doctor of the Church was born in Swabia, Germany, and studied at the University of Padua, where he was received into the Dominican Order by Blessed Jordan of Saxony. He was sent to the University of Paris, the intellectual center of western Europe. He was the first German Dominican friar to receive the degree of Master of Theology. Albert did much to introduce the authentic writings of Aristotle to western thought and pioneered the use of the inductive method. His original research in the world of animals, birds, insects, plants and minerals aroused universal admiration, even of Roger Bacon, his peer in scientific research.

“The aim of natural science,” said St. Albert “is not simply to accept the statements of others, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature.” Despite the prevailing contrary opinion, he demonstrated that faith and science are autonomous disciplines although they go hand in hand. He also held the Aristotelian opinion of the spherically of the earth.

His encyclopedic writings fill more than forty volumes and contain most of the knowledge known in his day – physics, geography, astronomy, mineralogy, chemistry, biology, mathematics, scripture, philosophy and theology. He was dubbed by his contemporaries ALBERT THE GREAT and UNIVERSAL DOCTOR. He was the unquestioned master of scholastic theology until surpassed by his pupil St. Thomas Aquinas. HE WAS A MAN SO SUPERIOR IN EVERY SCIENCE, THAT HE CAN FITTINGLY BE CALLED THE WONDER AND MIRACLE OF OUR TIME. (Ulrich of Strasbourg). Albert organized the new Dominican stadium in Cologne, and was elected provincial of the German province. He preached the crusade throughout Germany and Bohemia and was appointed bishop of Ratisbon. He preached in Rome and filled the office of papal theologian in 1256. His fame was so great that when he was in Paris he was obliged to preach in the open air because of the immense crowd of his listeners. Our holy friar had a tender love for Our Lady and wrote extensively of her prerogatives. It is said that the Queen of Heaven appeared to him during a critical moment in his student days and bestowed on him the gift of extraordinary intellectual acumen. She foretold that the loss of that gift would be a sign of approaching death. His memory failed him during a public lecture three years before his death. He died in 1280 without illness and surrounded by his beloved brethren. Pius XI proclaimed him saint, and Doctor of the Church on December 16, 1931, and Pius XII proclaimed him patron saint of natural scientists on December 16, 1941.


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