Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Feast of St. Albertus Magnus, OP
St. Albert the Great in a Fresco at Treviso, Italy dating to 1352 by Tommaso da Modena.
Today, while Sunday, is also the feast of St. Albert the Great (+1280), Dominican and Doctor of the Church.
St. Albert was a rather notable philosopher, scientist, and professor in his day, famously teaching St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274). Born in Swabia, Albert began his studies at the University of Padua in Italy, where he came across the new Order of Preachers, the Dominicans. In 1245, he was sent to the University of Paris to receive his doctorate. It was there that he first came into contact with St. Thomas Aquinas, the two proceeding to the University of Cologne in 1248 where St. Albert became Studium Generale. From 1254-1257 Albert served as Provincial of the Dominican Order in Germany. He would end up coming to Rome during those years to defend the new mendicant orders. St. Albert ended up as Bishop of Ratisbon, appointed to that see in 1260. St. Albert remained a friend and ally of St. Thomas Aquinas, and after the younger man's death in 1274, St. Albert defended his memory from attacks of those suspicious of the Angelic Doctor.
Here is a link to the Church of Saint Andreas in Cologne, where the Universal Doctor is buried: Church of St. Andreas, Cologne
Although now overshadowed by his pupil, St. Thomas, St. Albert was a great scholar in his own right, penning treatises on a host of subjects. His scientific experimentation is worthy of note. He noted: "The aim of natural science is not simply to accept the statements [narrata] of others, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature." (De Miner., lib. II, tr. ii, i). Of St. Albert, it is written: "he was an authority on physics, geography, astronomy, mineralogy, chemistry (alchimia), zoölogy, physiology, and even phrenology. On all these subjects his erudition was vast, and many of his observations are of permanent value." It is for this reason that he remain the patron saint of scientists.
Here are a couple of accounts of the rather remarkable life of Albertus Magnus:
Old Catholic Encyclopedia: Albertus Magnus
Catholic Saint Info: St. Albert the Great