Albert, the Carmelite, was born of noble parents in Sicily, of Benedict Adaltibo and Joanna of Mt Trapani. His parents has been married for twenty-six years and were childless. Therefore, they made a vow to the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, binding themselves, in case she would obtain for them a son, to consecrate him to her in the Carmelite monastery which stood near to Mt Trapani. Their prayer was heard, and in their sleep they saw a torch which came forth from the mother’s womb. On account of this vision the latter foretold to her husband that the boy would be great before God, and this hath been proven by the event. For while, as a boy, he was being trained in liberal sciences, the blessing of God fell upon him, and he entered the monastery of Trapani at the age of eight years. Rejoicing in the rudeness of the life, as well as in the strict discipline of the Rule, his progress was such that he soon showed himself an example of virtue to the rest.
Prayer of St Albert [composed during a famine in Messina]:
O my God! Was it not said that by You and Your ineffable power You have created mankind? Is it not as a result of Your clemency that You call us to partake of Your glory and the happiness of eternal life? When original sin condemned us to suffer death, did it not please your goodness to repurchase us through the blood of Your Son, to unite us to You through our faith and Your great mercy? You have repurchased us from the shame of original sin; You have covered our dishonour with a fragment of Your glory. And now here is this difficult work built by You, this work with which You soften the limbs and joints, with which You have ennobled the destiny of the immortal soul with sublime beauty, and Satan’s attacks! the father of hatred, pride, with the introduction of his jealousy, in order to wound this body which You have created. Deign therefore, Lord, to rebuilt Your work! Deign to cure this blindness, so that Your power may be glorified and that the malice of the enemy may be confounded.
[repeated three times by St Albert while praying over a sick child]
Text adopted from “Saints of Carmel” and “Drink of the Stream”. The painting “Mary Presenting the Child Jesus to St. Albert” from Carmelite Monastery – Straubing, Germany.