August 7, 2008

St. Albert of Trapani, priest

1250-1307 – Memorial - August 7

Albert's parents promised that if they were blessed with a son, he would be dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Albert was born in Trapani, Sicily, during the 13th century. He was educated in a Carmelite monastery, and joined the order at the age of 18. After his priestly ordination, he was sent to nearby Messina, where he gathered thousands with his preaching and miracles.
In 1296, he was appointed Sicilian Carmelite provincial of the Carmelite Province of Sicily. He became distinguished for his dedication to preaching and by his reputation for working miracles. He was known especially for his great desire to lead a holy life and for prayer.

In 1301, the city of Messina was under siege and blockade by Duke Robert of Calabria. Disease ridden and facing imminent starvation, the Messina city fathers asked Albert and the monastery for intervention. Albert celebrated Mass, offering it as a plea for God's deliverance. As he finished, three ships loaded with grain, ran the blockade. The city was saved from starvation, and Robert lifted the siege. (Albert was so well remembered for this intervention that a city gate was dedicated in his honor over 300 years later.)

In his later years, after serving as a missionary, Albert retired to a small monastery near Messina, and spent his time in prayer, meditation, and communion. He died in Messina, probably in 1307. He was the first saint whose cult spread throughout the Order and, as a result, he is considered its patron and protector or "father", a title he shared with the other saint of his time, Angelus of Sicily. In the 16th century it was decided that every Carmelite church should have an altar dedicated to him. Among the many with a devotion to this saint were Saint Teresa of Jesus and Saint Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi.

In 1454 he was beatified & on May 31, 1476 Pope Sextus IV canonized him.

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