Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bishop and Lawgiver of Carmel

Feast of St. Albert of Jerusalem September 17th

Albert Avogadro was born in Italy in the middle of the twelfth century. He became a Canon Regular of the Holy Cross and was elected prior in 1180. In 1184, he was named Bishop of Bobbio and of Vercelli in 1185. In 1205 he became Patriarch of Jerusalem. Sometime between 1206 and 1214 he was approached by the hermits living on Mount Carmel with the request that he would prepare for them a written rule of life based on the traditional patterns of their contemplative communal life. This rule became known as the “primitive Rule”.

In 1238 the hermits living on Mount Carmel began to migrate into Europe. This migration changed their eremitical way of life. Among the changes was a mitigation of the Rule by Pope Innocent IV in 1247. In the 1500’s, St Teresa of Avila founded the monastery of St Joseph's in an effort to return to the life of the original Rule. Her reform efforts led to the eventual split of the Carmelite Order into two branches - the Order of Carmel, Ancient Observance and the Order of Carmel Discalced.

During a procession on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, St. Albert, who had been in the Holy Land for nine years now, was suddenly approached by a man in the crowd and stabbed three times. Dressed in liturgical vestments St. Albert dies on the spot asking for forgiveness for his attacker.

From the Rule of St. Albert:

“Many and varied are the ways in which our saintly forefathers laid down how everyone, whatever his station or the kind of religious observance he has chosen, should live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ — how, pure in heart and steadfast in conscience, he must be unswerving in the service of the Master.” (#2)

“Each one of you is to stay in his own cell or nearby, pondering the Lord’s law day and night and keeping watch at his prayers unless attending to some other duty.” (#10)

The entire rule can be found at ~

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