Friday, November 15, 2013


St. Gertrude the Great
Feast: November 16
Feast Day:
November 16
6 January 1256 at Eisleben, Germany
November 17, 1302, Helfta, Germany
received equipotent canonization, and a universal feast day declared in 1677 by Pope Clement XII
Patron of:
nuns, travellers, West Indies

Benedictine and mystic writer; born in Germany, 6 Jan., 1256; died at Helfta, near Eisleben, Saxony, 17 November, 1301 or 1302. Nothing is known of her family, not even the name of her parents. It is clear from her life (Legatus, lib. I, xvi) that she was not born in the neighbourhood of Eisleben. When she was but five years of age she entered the alumnate of Helfta. The monastery was at that time governed by the saintly and enlightened Abbess Gertrude of Hackerborn, under whose rule it prospered exceedingly, both in monastic observance and in that intellectual activity which St. Lioba and her Anglo-Saxon nuns had transmitted to their foundations in Germany. All that could aid to sanctity, or favour contemplation and learning, was to be found in this hallowed spot. Here, too, as to the centre of all activity and impetus of its life, the work of works—the Opus Dei, as St. Benedict terms the Divine Office—was solemnly carried out. Such was Helfta when its portals opened to receive the child destined to be its brightest glory. Gertrude was confided to the care of St. Mechtilde, mistress of the alumnate and sister of the Abbess Gertrude. From the first she had the gift of winning the hearts, and her biographer gives many details of her exceptional charms, which matured with advancing years. Thus early had been formed between Gertrude and Mechtilde the bond of an intimacy which deepened and strengthened with time, and gave the latter saint a prepondering influence over the former.
Partly in the alumnate, partly in the community, Gertrude had devoted herself to study with the greatest ardour. In her twenty-sixth year there was granted her the first of that series of visions of which the wonderful sequence ended only with life. She now gauged in its fullest extent the void of which she had been keenly sensible for some time past, and with this awakening came the realization of the utter emptiness of all transitory things. With characteristic ardour she cultivated the highest spirituality, and, to quote her biographer, "from being a grammarian became a theologian", abandoning profane studies for the Scriptures, patristic writings, and treatises on theology. To these she brought the same earnestness which had characterized her former studies, and with indefatigable zeal copied, translated, and wrote for the spiritual benefit of others. Although Gertrude vehemently condemns herself for past negligence ( Legatus, II, ii), still to understand her words correctly we must remember that they express the indignant self-condemnation of a soul called to the highest sanctity. Doubtless her inordinate love of study had proved a hindrance alike to contemplation and interior recollection, yet it had none the less surely safeguarded her from more serious and grievous failings. Her struggle lay in the conquest of a sensitive and impetuous nature. In St. Gertrude's life there are no abrupt phases, no sudden conversion from sin to holiness. She passed from alumnate to the community. Outwardly her life was that of the simple Benedictine nun, of which she stands forth preeminently as the type. Her boundless charity embraced rich and poor, learned and simple, the monarch on his throne and the peasant in the field; it was manifested in tender sympathy towards the souls in purgatory, in a great yearning for the perfection of souls consecrated to God. Her humility was so profound that she wondered how the earth could support so sinful a creature as herself. Her raptures were frequent and so absorbed her faculties as to render her insensible to what passed around her. She therefore begged, for the sake of others, that there might be no outward manifestations of the spiritual wonders with which her life was filled. She had the gift of miracles as well as that of prophecy.
When the call came for her spirit to leave the worn and pain-stricken body, Gertrude was in her forty-fifth or forty-sixth year, and in turn assisted at the death-bed and mourned for the loss of the holy Sister Mechtilde (1281), her illustrious Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn (1291), and her chosen guide and confidante, St. Mechtilde (1298). When the community was transferred in 1346 to the monastery of New Helfta, the present Trud-Kloster, within the walls of Eisleben, they still retained possession of their old home, where doubtless the bodies of St. Gertrude and St. Mechtilde still buried, though their place of sepulture remains unknown. There is, at least, no record of their translation. Old Helfta is now crown-property, while New Helfta has lately passed into the hands of the local municipality. It was not till 1677 that the name of Gertrude was inscribed in the Roman Martyrology and her feast was extended to the universal church, which now keeps it on 15 November, although it was at first fixed on 17 November, the day of her death, on which it is still celebrated by her own order. In compliance with a petition from the King of Spain she was declared Patroness of the West Indies; in Peru her feast is celebrated with great pomp, and in New Mexico a town was built in her honour and bears her name. Some writers of recent times have considered that St. Gertrude was a Cistercian, but a careful and impartial examination of the evidence at present available does not justify this conclusion. It is well known that the Cistercian Reform left its mark on many houses not affiliated to the order, and the fact that Helfta was founded during the "golden age" of Citeaux (1134-1342) is sufficient to account for this impression.
Many of the writings of St. Gertrude have unfortunately perished. Those now extant are:
—The "Legatus Divinae Pietatis",—The "Exercises of St. Gertrude";—The "Liber Specialis Gratiae" of St. Mechtilde.
The works of St. Gertrude were all written in Latin, which she used with facility and grace. The "Legatus Divinae Pietatis" (Herald of Divine Love) comprises five books containing the life of St. Gertrude, and recording many of the favours granted her by God. Book II alone is the work of the saint, the rest being compiled by members of the Helfta community. They were written for her Sisters in religion, and we feel she has here a free hand unhampered by the deep humility which made it so repugnant for her to disclose favours personal to herself. The "Exercises", which are seven in number, embrace the work of the reception of baptismal grace to the preparation for death. Her glowing language deeply impregnated with the liturgy and scriptures exalts the soul imperceptibly to the heights of contemplation. When the "Legatus Divinae Pietatis" is compared with the "Liber Specialis Gratiae" of St. Mechtilde, it is evident that Gertrude is the chief, if not the only, author of the latter book. Her writings are also coloured by the glowing richness of that Teutonic genius which found its most congenial expression in symbolism and allegory. The spirit of St. Gertrude, which is marked by freedom, breadth, and vigour, is based on the Rule of St. Benedict. Her mysticism is that of all the great contemplative workers of the Benedictine Order from St. Gregory to Blosius. Hers, in a word, is that ancient Benedictine spirituality which Father Faber has so well depicted (All for Jesus, viii).
The characteristic of St. Gertrude's piety is her devotion to the Sacred Heart, the symbol of that immense charity which urged the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take on Himself our sins, and, dying on the Cross, to offer Himself as a victim and a sacrifice to the Eternal Father (Congregation of Rites, 3 April, 1825). Faithful to the mission entrusted to them, the superiors of Helfta appointed renowned theologians, chosen from the Dominican and Franciscan friars, to examine the works of the saint. These approved and commented them throughout. In the sixteenth century Lanspergius and Blosius propagated her writings. The former, who with his confrere Loher spared no pains in editing her works, also wrote a preface to them. The writings were warmly received especially in Spain, and among the long list of holy and learned authorities who used and recommended her works may be mentioned :
—St. Teresa, who chose her as her model and guide,—Yepez,—the illustrious Suarez,—the Discalced Carmelite Friars of France,—St. Francis de Sales,—M. Oliver,—Fr. Faber,—Dom Gueranger.
The Church has inserted the name of Gertrude in the Roman Martyrology with this eulogy: "On the 17th of November, in Germany (the Feast) of St. Gertrude Virgin, of the Order of St. Benedict, who was illustrious for the gift of revelations."


St. Margaret of Scotland
Feast: November 16
Feast Day:
November 16
1045, Castle Réka, Mecseknádasd, in the region of Southern Transdanubia, Hungary
16 November 1093, St Margaret's Chapel in Edinburgh Castle, Midlothian, Scotland
1251 by Pope Innocent IV
Major Shrine:
Dunfermline Abbey
Patron of:
death of children, large families, learning, queens, Scotland, widows

Born about 1045, died 16 Nov., 1092, was a daughter of Edward "Outremere", or "the Exile", by Agatha, kinswoman of Gisela, the wife of St. Stephen of Hungary. She was the granddaughter of Edmund Ironside. A constant tradition asserts that Margaret's father and his brother Edmund were sent to Hungary for safety during the reign of Canute, but no record of the fact has been found in that country. The date of Margaret's birth cannot be ascertained with accuracy, but it must have been between the years 1038, when St. Stephen died, and 1057, when her father returned to England. It appears that Margaret came with him on that occasion and, on his death and the conquest of England by the Normans, her mother Agatha decided to return to the Continent. A storm however drove their ship to Scotland, where Malcolm III received the party under his protection, subsequently taking Margaret to wife. This event had been delayed for a while by Margaret's desire to entirereligion, but it took place some time between 1067 and 1070.
In her position as queen, all Margaret's great influence was thrown into the cause of religion and piety. A synod was held, and among the special reforms instituted the most important were the regulation of the Lenten fast, observance of the Easter communion, and the removal of certain abuses concerning marriage within the prohibited degrees. Her private life was given up to constant prayer and practices of piety. She founded several churches, including the Abbey of Dunfermline, built to enshrine her greatest treasure, a relic of the true Cross. Her book of the Gospels, richly adorned with jewels, which one day dropped into a river and was according to legend miraculously recovered, is now in the Bodleian library at Oxford. She foretold the day of her death, which took place at Edinburgh on 16 Nov., 1093, her body being buried before the high altar at Dunfermline.
In 1250 Margaret was canonized by Innocent IV, and her relics were translated on 19 June, 1259, to a new shrine, the base of which is still visible beyond the modern east wall of the restoredchurch. At the Reformation her head passed into the possession of Mary Queen of Scots, and later was secured by the Jesuits at Douai, where it is believed to have perished during the French Revolution. According to George Conn, "De duplici statu religionis apud Scots" (Rome, 1628), the rest of the relics, together with those of Malcolm, were acquired by Philip II of Spain, and placed in two urns in the Escorial. When, however, Bishop Gillies of Edinburgh applied through Pius IX for their restoration to Scotland, they could not be found.
The chief authority for Margaret's life is the contemporary biography printed in "Acta SS.", II, June, 320. Its authorship has been ascribed to Turgot, the saint's confessor, a monk of Durham and later Archbishop of St. Andrews, and also to Theodoric, a somewhat obscure monk; but in spite of much controversy the point remains quite unsettled. The feast of St. Margaret is now observed by the whole Church on 10 June.


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday paid his first official visit to Italy’s head of state, Giorgio Napolitano, at Rome’s Quirinale Palace where he also met leading members of the Italian government. In his address to President Napolitano, the Pope touched on the social and economic problems afflicting Italy such as unemployment and urged the state institutions to do their utmost to support the family. He also said he would like to knock at the door of every home in Italy to offer the healing words of the gospel. 

Pope Francis visited President Napolitano at Rome’s Quirinale, a Renaissance Palace, which up until 1870 had been a residency of the papacy for many centuries. His visit to the Italian head of State came 5 months after President Napolitano was received in audience by him at the Vatican. 
In his address to Napolitano, Pope Francis said his visit confirmed the excellent relations that exist between Italy and the Holy See and recalled his predecessor’s visit to the Quirinale Palace in 2008. "Ideally," said the Pope, "I would wish to knock at the door of every inhabitant of Italy and offer to everybody the healing and ever new words of the Gospel." 

Pope Francis said in their separate roles both Church and State share many common concerns such as the economic crisis and the resulting lack of jobs which he described as "one of its most painful consequences." He urged everyone to redouble their efforts to alleviate the consequences of this. 

"The Church’s main task," the Pope continued, "is to bear witness to God’s mercy and to encourage a generous response of solidarity." In this way, we can help build a more just and humane society and promote a sustainable and healthy development. 

Recalling his pastoral visits to the islands of Lampedusa and Sardinia and to the city of Assisi, the Pope said that in all these places he witnessed and touched with his hands "the wounds" that afflict so many suffering people. 

Turning to the family, the Pope urged everyone to support the family unit, saying it needs to be "appreciated, valued and protected" so it can carry out its vital mission in society. He ended by expressing his hope that "Italy can recover its creativity and harmony" so it can promote the well-being and dignity of every human person. 

In his own address, President Napolitano praised Pope Francis for his desire to carry out "a dialogue with everyone, even opponents and those who are most distant," saying the spirit of the Second Vatican Council vibrates in his words. Napolitano also spoke of the need to counter a spreading egoism and social insensitivity and said politics need to be freed from the plague of corruption and the promotion of personal interests. 


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
15 Nov 2013
With many roads blocked or damaged aid workers are struggling to deliver food, water and medicines
The United Nations has issued an update of the number of those killed by Typhoon Haiyan to 4460 people. However officials believe this will inevitably rise as damage is hampering rescue efforts.
Emergency rescue teams and international aid groups are still desperately trying to reach devastated villages and towns which still remain cut off seven days after the typhoon struck.
The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has also announced that 900,000 have been displaced with as many as 12 million in the Philippines affected in some way by one of the most powerful storms to make landfall.
Medical teams, aid workers and soldiers are crammed on to flights heading to landing strips that are cleared and close to devastated areas. Supplies are trickling in because roads are either strewn with debris or covered in fallen trees or have even collapsed.
They arrive with food, medical supplies and body bags and ferry away the dead.
Some areas have been totally wiped out. Officials expect the death toll to rise
Tens of thousands of people are living in the open or severely damaged buildings, exposed to rain and wind. Many are injured, all in desperate need of food, water and sanitation.
Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines one week ago with wind gusts of more than 350kph and storm surges two storeys high.
"The havoc and widespread destruction is on the scale of 2004's tsunami," says Caritas Australia's Humanitarian Emergencies Co-ordinator, Richard Forsythe.
"The sheer size of Typhoon Haiyan is difficult to grasp," he says explaining that not only did the super-storm bring gusts with a force that ripped off roofs, tossed cars and fishing boats like confetti and tore babies and children from their parents arms but it had a massive storm front more than 800 kilometres in diameter and an eye that was 15 kilometres wide.
No home, no food or water-struggling to survive
Within hours of the storm's violent assault on the Philippines, Caritas Australia and other members of Caritas Internationalis, the aid and development arm of the Catholic Church had teams on the ground and were helping to provide food, clean drinking water and shelter to traumatised men, women and children in some of the hardest hit areas such as Leyte, Tacloban ,Palo and Samar.
 Within two days, Caritas had freighted in 20,000 tarpaulins for emergency use along with 1 million water purification tablets to help as many as 16,000 families. A further 18,000 emergency shelter supply kids, 5000 water, sanitation and hygiene kits and 5000 non-food item kits had also been delivered.
Caritas Response teams immediately travelled to some of the hardest-hit regions in areas such as Leyte and North Samar Island, as well as Panay Island to assess damage and exactly what those traumatised by the catastrophic typhoon needed, not only in the immediate term but over the next five years or more.
"Recovering and rebuilding from a natural disaster on this scale will take at least five years and that is what we are looking at and planning for," Richard Forsythe says adding that a great deal of money will be needed to help victims of the ferocious force of Typhoon Haiyan rebuild and recover.
Infection and disease is now a serious concern
One week on and countless cities, towns and villages across the Philippines still have no electricity. Communications remain down and in those areas impacted by the super storm, not many houses remain. Few shops or businesses survived and none are open and for survivors struggling to cope, there is little food, no medicines and infrastructure across entire regions has been almost totally destroyed.
Safe drinking water is at a premium. But people are so desperate they have begun drinking water from pools among the rubble and rivers that are almost certainly contaminated. In the heat and humidity, the thousands of bodies are still lying amidst the rubble of devastated cities and towns and pose new dangers with an increased risk of infection and deadly diseases.
Hunger and thirst seven days after the typhoon hit have driven the starving to resort to looting and scavenging for any food they can find.
Two days ago eight people were crushed to death after a wall collapsed on top of them during a raid on stockpiles of rice in a government warehouse in the town of Alangalang.
Saving a bed-but not home in which to put it
Throughout the week teams of doctors and nurses from Australia and other nations have flown to the Philippines with portable hospitals and a cargo of medicine. Australia has also pledged $10 million to help recovery in the stricken country. In addition the US has sent in 2000 US Marines and massive cargoes of medicines, food and supplies.
But the widespread scale of the damage and inaccessibility of so many of those affected by the Typhoon Haiyan is slowing down the delivery of this urgently needed aid.
Today the UN warned that fuel in the devastated city of Tacloban, once a thriving metropolis of 200,000 will run out within the next few days. The Mayor of Tacloban also revealed that workers have the terrible choice of having to choose between using their trucks to distribute food to the desperately hungry or to collect the thousands of bodies.
Caritas Australia has committed $1.5 million to support the international Caritas network's appeal to help communities impacted by what is now being considered as one of the worst humanitarian crises.
To assist this mammoth effort Caritas Australia has also an appeal for Typhoon Haiyan-Philippines. To donate log on to


(Vatican Radio) The spirit of curiosity generates confusion and distances a person from the Spirit of wisdom, which brings peace, said Pope Francis in his homily during Thursday morning Mass at Casa Santa Marta. 

The Pope began his homily by commenting on the first reading from the Book of Wisdom, which describes “the state of the soul of the spiritual man and woman”, of true Christians, who live “in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. And this wisdom carries them forward with this intelligent, holy, single, manifold and subtle spirit”. 

“This is journeying in life with this spirit: the spirit of God, which helps us to judge, to make decisions according to the heart of God. And this spirit gives us peace, always! It is the spirit of peace, the spirit of love, the spirit of fraternity. And holiness is exactly this. That which God asked of Abraham—‘Walk in my presence and be irreproachable’—is this: this peace. To follow the movement of the Spirit of God and of this wisdom. And the man and woman who walk this path, we can say they are wise men and women… because they follow the movement of God’s patience.”

In the Gospel, the Pope underlined, “we find ourselves before another spirit, contrary to the wisdom of God: the spirit of curiosity”. 

“And when we want to be the masters of the projects of God, of the future, of things, to know everything, to have everything in hand… the Pharisees asked Jesus, ‘When will the Kingdom of God come?’ Curious! They wanted to know the date, the day… The spirit of curiosity distances us from the Spirit of wisdom because all that interests us is the details, the news, the little stories of the day. Oh, how will this come about? It is the how: it is the spirit of the how! And the spirit of curiosity is not a good spirit. It is the spirit of dispersion, of distancing oneself from God, the spirit of talking too much. And Jesus also tells us something interesting: this spirit of curiosity, which is worldly, leads us to confusion.”

Curiosity, the Pope continued, impels us to want to feel that the Lord is here or rather there, or leads us to say: “But I know a visionary, who receives letters from Our Lady, messages from Our Lady”. And the Pope commented: “But, look, Our Lady is the Mother of everyone! And she loves all of us. She is not a postmaster, sending messages every day.”

Such responses to these situations, he affirmed, “distance us from the Gospel, from the Holy Spirit, from peace and wisdom, from the glory of God, from the beauty of God.”

“Jesus says that the Kingdom of God does not come in a way that attracts attention: it comes by wisdom.”

“ ‘The Kingdom of God is among you,’ said Jesus, and it is this action of the Holy Spirit, which gives us wisdom and peace. The Kingdom of God does not come in (a state of) confusion, just as God did not speak to the prophet Elijah in the wind, in the storm (but) he spoke in the soft breeze, the breeze of wisdom.”

“Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus would say that she had always to stop herself before the spirit of curiosity," he said. "When she spoke with another sister and this sister was telling a story about the family, about people, sometimes the subject would change, and she would want to know the end of the story. But she felt that this was not the spirit of God, because it was a spirit of dispersion, of curiosity.

“The Kingdom of God is among us: do not seek strange things, do not seek novelties with this worldly curiosity. Let us allow the Spirit to lead us forward in that wisdom, which is like a soft breeze," he said. "This is the Spirit of the Kingdom of God, of which Jesus speaks. So be it.”


Benedictine nun wins ‘Blogger of the Year’ award   | Sister Catherine Wybourne, Holy Trinity Monastery, Blogger of the Year, Premier,  Howton Grove Priory,

Sister Catherine Wybourne
IND. CATHOLIC NEWS REPORT: A blog, created and written by a Benedictine nun in Herefordshire, was one of 15 winners in this year’s annual Christian New Media Awards, presented in London last weekend by the Premier group’s New Media Centre of Excellence.
Sister Catherine Wybourne from Holy Trinity Monastery at Howton Grove Priory, who was nominated by a third party, received the ‘Best Blogger of the Year’ award of a new iPad air for her work on the website.
Hosted by Premier Christian Radio presenter Maria Rodrigues and writer and broadcaster Sheridan Voysey, the awards were open to bloggers, churches, charities and businesses who entered their websites in the Seventh annual competition, staged in conjunction with the Christian New Media Conference.
Kevin Bennett, Director of New Media, said:  “Yet again we are truly encouraged by the creativity, passion and skills demonstrated by the Christian community online. These awards aim to encourage and celebrate those who are pushing boundaries to share the message of Christ online with the aid of 21st century technology and I commend the finalists to you.”
This year’s competition saw 15 awards in three individual categories – Blogs, Websites, and New Media – including ‘Young Blogger of the Year’, ‘Most Inspiring Leadership Blog’, ‘Up & Coming Award’, ‘Multi-Author Blog of the Year’, ‘Best Christian Organisation Website’, ‘Most Engaging Small Church Website’, ‘Most Engaging Large Church Website’, ‘Best New or Re-designed Web Site’, ‘Accessibility Award’, ‘Innovative Use of New Media in Outreach’, ‘Christian Mobile/Tablet app of the Year’, ‘Tweeter of the Year’, ‘Most Creative Use of Social Media’, and ‘People’s Choice Award’.
A £1,000 cheque for the ‘Most Engaging Small Church Website’ went to Catherine Hellings of the Hope Church, Islington.
Winner of the ‘Most Creative Use of Social Media’ went to Spurgeons for their ‘Every 22 Minutes’ initiative which responds to the fact that, every 22 minutes, a child under 16 in the UK loses a parent.
Fiona Furman, who directs the campaign, explained that the organisation has almost 100 services operating across England supporting children following bereavement or being separated from their parents.
“Jesus himself told us that those who mourn will be comforted,” she said. ”We are so delighted that our campaign has been recognised by these awards, especially for these young people, so we might all better understand their grief”.
Their website can be found at

For a full list of Winners and finalists, visit


JCE News is showing - Mother Teresa: In the Name of God's Poor (1997)
 -  Biography | Drama  -  5 October 1997 (USA)
This is the true story of Mother Teresa, beginning in Calcutta, India, where she starts her order to help the poorest of Gods poor.


 Kevin Connor


  Jan Hartman (story), Dominique Lapierre (story),


  Geraldine Chaplin, Keene Curtis, Helena Carroll 


Friday of the Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 495

Reading 1                       WIS 13:1-9

All men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God,
and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing him who is,
and from studying the works did not discern the artisan;
But either fire, or wind, or the swift air,
or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water,
or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods.
Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods,
let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these;
for the original source of beauty fashioned them.
Or if they were struck by their might and energy,
let them from these things realize how much more powerful is he who made them.
For from the greatness and the beauty of created things
their original author, by analogy, is seen.
But yet, for these the blame is less;
For they indeed have gone astray perhaps,
though they seek God and wish to find him.
For they search busily among his works,
but are distracted by what they see, because the things seen are fair.
But again, not even these are pardonable.
For if they so far succeeded in knowledge
that they could speculate about the world,
how did they not more quickly find its Lord?

Responsorial Psalm                             PS 19:2-3, 4-5AB

R. (2a) The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day pours out the word to day,
and night to night imparts knowledge.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
Not a word nor a discourse
whose voice is not heard;
Through all the earth their voice resounds,
and to the ends of the world, their message.
R. The heavens proclaim the glory of God.

Gospel                          LK 17:26-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be in the days of the Son of Man;
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage up to the day
that Noah entered the ark,
and the flood came and destroyed them all.
Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot:
they were eating, drinking, buying,
selling, planting, building;
on the day when Lot left Sodom,
fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.
So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, someone who is on the housetop
and whose belongings are in the house
must not go down to get them,
and likewise one in the field
must not return to what was left behind.
Remember the wife of Lot.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses it will save it.
I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed;
one will be taken, the other left.
And there will be two women grinding meal together;
one will be taken, the other left.”
They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?”
He said to them, “Where the body is,
there also the vultures will gather.”


St. Albert the Great
Feast: November 15
Feast Day:
November 15
1206, Lauingen, Bavaria
November 15, 1280, Cologne, Holy Roman Empire
1931 by Pius XI
Major Shrine:
St. Andreas in Cologne
Patron of:
medical technicians; natural sciences; philosophers; scientists; students

He was known as the "teacher of everything there is to know," was a scientist long before the age of science, was considered a wizard and magician in his own lifetime, and became the teacher and mentor of that other remarkable mind of his time, St. Thomas Aquinas.
St. Albert the Great was born in Lauingen on the Danube, near Ulm, Germany; his father was a military lord in the army of Emperor Frederick II. As a young man Albert studied at the University of Padua and there fell under the spell of Blessed Jordan of Saxony, the Dominican who made the rounds of the universities of Europe drawing the best young men of the universities into the Dominicans.
After several teaching assignments in his order, he came in 1241 to the University of Paris, where he lectured in theology. While teaching in Paris, he was assigned by his order in 1248 to set up a house of studies for the order in Cologne. In Paris, he had gathered around him a small band of budding theologians, the chief of whom was Thomas Aquinas, who accompanied him to Cologne and became his greatest pupil.
In 1260, he was appointed bishop of Regensberg; when he resigned after three years, he was called to be an adviser to the pope and was sent on several diplomatic missions. In his latter years, he resided in Cologne, took part in the Council of Lyons in 1274, and in his old age traveled to Paris to defend the teaching of his student Thomas Aquinas.
It was in Cologne that his reputation as a scientist grew. He carried on experiments in chemistry and physics in his makeshift laboratory and built up a collection of plants, insects, and chemical compounds that gave substance to his reputation. When Cologne decided to build a new cathedral, he was consulted about the design. He was friend and adviser to popes, bishops, kings, and statesmen and made his own unique contribution to the learning of his age.
He died a very old man in Cologne on November 15,1280, and is buried in St. Andrea's Church in that city. He was canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1931 by Pope Pius XI. His writings are remarkable for their exact scientific knowledge, and for that reason he has been made the patron saint of scientists.
Thought for the Day: St. Albert the Great was convinced that all creation spoke of God and that the tiniest piece of scientific knowledge told us something about Him. Besides the Bible, God has given us the book of creation revealing something of His wisdom and power. In creation, Albert saw the hand of God.
From "The Catholic One Year Bible": Since we have a kingdom nothing can destroy, let us please God by serving him with thankful hearts, and with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.—Hebrews 12:28-29