Cloistered Dominican Nuns Corpus Christi Monastery

Humility Leading to Greatness: Saint Albert the Great


A happy feast day to our brothers at St. Albert Priory!  St. Albert’s is the house of studies for the Western Dominican Province, and their patron saint is especially fitting.  St. Albert first struggled in his studies to the point he nearly despaired and made plans to escape over the convent wall during the night.  But as he was perched on the ladder, he began to cry to our Blessed Mother for her help, and she kindly and generously granted him abundant graces.

He then applied himself successfully, not only to the study of theology, but to the natural sciences as well.  His reason?  The natural world reveals the perfections of God as it is created by Him and reflects Him as a mirror.  His example also modeled for others how one can and should employ their intellect in the pursuit and service of God in all things, and not to serve vanity, falsehood or selfish pleasures.

He distinguished himself in defending the Mendicant Orders against those who denied them the right to teach in the universities and to receive alms from the faithful.  He was teacher and mentor to St. Thomas Aquinas and, far from being envious when his pupil eclipsed him, he wept for joy on seeing him as a shining star ascending on the horizon.  Such is the humility of the saints!

St. Albert maintained a tender devotion to Our Lady and joined that devotion with his abstract studies.  He owed to Mary his innocence, his Dominican vocation, his perseverance and the gift of a profound science united to unshakable faith.  He often composed charming hymns to Our Lady’s honor, which he would sing to himself during solitary walks.

Prayer: Mary, I offer you the filial love of Blessed Albert.

Practice: Do you rejoice at the good qualities and success of others?  Or do you feel a secret vexation at them?  Do you seek to belittle or speak down about them?

Saint Albert the Great, pray for us!

Adapted from “Saints and Saintly Dominicans: Daily Reflections on Their Lives”, edited by Rev. Thomas a Kempis Reilly, O.P. (1915).

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