Albert, Mentor of Aquinas

st albert

November 15th: Optional Memorial of St. Albert the Great, Bishop, and Doctor of the Church. Teacher and mentor of St. Thomas Aquinas. 

“Albert Magnus, eldest son of the Count of Bollstädt, was born at Lauingen, Swabia, in the year 1205 or 1206, though many historians give it as 1193. Nothing certain is known of his primary or preparatory education, which was received either under the paternal roof or in a school of the neighborhood. As a youth he was sent to pursue his studies at the University of Padua; that city being chosen either because his uncle resided there, or because Padua was famous for its culture of the liberal arts, for which the young Swabian had a special predilection.

The date of this journey to Padua cannot be accurately determined. In the year 1223 he joined the Order of St. Dominic, being attracted by the preaching of Blessed Jordan of Saxony second Master General of the Order. Historians do not tell us whether Albert’s studies were continued at Padua, Bologna, Paris, or Cologne.

After completing his studies he                   taught theology at Hildesheim, Freiburg (Breisgau), RatisbonStrasburg, and Cologne.

He was in the convent of Cologne, interpreting Peter Lombard’s “Book of the Sentences”, when, in 1245, he was ordered to repair to Paris. There he received the Doctor’s degree in the university which, above all others, was celebrated as a school of theology. It was during this period of reaching at Cologne and Paris that he counted among his hearers St. Thomas Aquinas, then a silent, thoughtful youth, whose genius he recognized and whose future greatness he foretold.” [..]

“…He was the first Dominican scholar to attempt to utilize all the philosophy of Aristotle in the service of Christian theology. Granted that most of his knowledge of Aristotelianism came initially through secondary sources, it is still obvious that Albert was far ahead of his Dominican contemporaries. One evidence of this is found in his lectures on theNicomachean Ethics, given at Cologne between 1248 and 1252. Thomas Aquinas, in fact, served as the recorder (reportator) of this course on Aristotelian ethics…. At least, we know that Albert did introduce Aquinas to one major work of Aristotle.”

~Vernon J. Bourke: Aquinas’ Search for Wisdom.

Sts. Albert and Aquinas, our spiritual guides,pray for our mental clarity and understanding of God’s Wisdom in these confusing days, in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

and blessings to you!


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