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Memorial Mass Readings     |     Rule of St Albert

1149 - 1214
Feastday - September 17th

St Albert of Jerusalem

St. Albert of Jerusalem was born Albert Avogardo in Parma, Italy in 1149. As a student he studied theology and law. In 1180 he became Canon Regular of the Holy Cross at Mortara and was elected their prior. At age 35, he was named Bishop of Bobbio and a year later, in 1185, he was named Bishop of Vercelli and was appointed by Pope Innocent III as his legate to Northern Italy. St. Albert became prominent for his negotiating skills. He mediated a dispute between the Emperor or Frederick Barbarossa and Pope Clement III. As well, he was successful in negotiating a peace between Parma and Piacenza. He played a role in settling disputes between different Frankish Factors.

At age of 54, in 1205, St. Albert was appointed Patriarch of Jerusalem and the year following was named Papal Legate to the Holy Land.  The post was established in 1099 when Jerusalem became a Latin kingdom in the control of Christian crusaders. Jerusalem, however, was no longer in Christian hands, as the Saracens recaptured the city in 1187. The Christians needed a patriarch, but the position was open not only to persecution but to martyrdom at the hands of the Muslims. Albert accepted and he proved himself not only diplomatic but winning in his ways. The Muslims of the area respected him for his sanctity and his intelligence. Because of the Muslim presence in Jerusalem, Albert took up residence in Acre (now called Akko), a northern port.  Overlooking the city and bay of Acre is the holy mountain called Carmel. At the time, a group of holy hermits lived on Mount Carmel in separate caves and cells. Albert was approached by St. Brocard, who was the prior or superior of the group of hermits.  Between 1206 & 1214, the hermits asked Albert to draw up for them a written 'formula of life' bassed on their own traditional patters for them.  This is how the primitive Rule of Carmelites came about.  Albert's rule regulating the monastic life of these men included severe fasts, a perpetual abstinence from meat, silence, and seclusions.  It was not until January 30, 1226 that Pope Honorious III gave official approval to the Carmelite Rule of Life written by Albert Patriarch of Jerusalem.  Pope Innocent IV mitigated the rule in 1254, allowing that it was too rigorous.

On September 14, 1214, at the age of 63, St. Albert was assassinated during a procession on the Feast of Exaltation. His assassin was the disgruntled former Director of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit. St. Albert had downgraded his position and rebuked him for wrongdoing. St. Albert was stabbed three times and died in his liturgical vestments. As he was dying St. Albert asked for forgiveness for his murderer.