Weninger’s Lives of the Saints – Saint Albert, Confessor

Saint Albert of Sicily holy card, artist unknownArticle

To the short sketch of holy martyrs, I will add a few words on the life of Saint Albert, whose virtues the Roman Martyrology celebrates. This holy man was born in the kingdom of Sicily, in the city of Trapani. His parents, Benedict and Joan, were renowned for their ancient nobility and virtuous life. They lived twenty-seven years in the state of matrimony without issue. At last, addressing themselves to the Blessed Virgin, they vowed that if, through her intercession, they had a son, they would consecrate him in the Carmelite Order to the service of God and His Divine Mother. Their offering was graciously accepted, and they received a son, whom they named Albert. Before his birth, Joan and her husband dreamed that she had brought forth a lighted torch of wonderful brightness. The pious parents concluded from this that the Almighty had great designs upon their son and would lead him to great sanctity. Hence they directed all their care to giving him a most pious education. He had hardly reached his eighth year, when a rich and noble maiden was proposed to his parents for his future spouse. The father was not unwilling to accept the proposal, but the mother reminded him of the promise they had made in regard to their son, and after informing Albert of it, she begged him to assist them in keeping their vow. Showing his readiness to comply with their wishes, he went to the Carmelite convent, which was not far from the city, and asked admittance. The religious of the convent naturally hesitated to receive one so young, without the permission of his parents. The Blessed Virgin appeared, the same night, to his parents and reproved them for delaying to fulfil their promise. They, therefore, went with Albert to the Convent and requested the superior to bestow the habit upon him. Their wish was granted, and Albert, after giving his clothes to the poor at the Convent gate, entered the religious state with a cheerful heart. Young as he was, he was most prudent in all his actions, and his aspirations after spiritual perfection grew in proportion to his advance in age. Besides other virtues he particularly practised mortification. Three days each week he fasted most austerely, and continually wore a rough hair-shirt. He took his rest at night on a straw mattress. He never touched wine; and every Friday he mixed wormwood with his food to torment his palate with its bitterness, in remembrance of Our Saviour, whose thirst on the cross was appeased with gall and vinegar. He was extremely watchful in preserving his purity; and in obedience and all other virtues, he served as a perfect model. All this secured to him, both in the monastery and throughout the whole city, a very high reputation for sanctity, which was augmented still more by the following event. The city of Messina had been besieged, for a long time, by the king of Naples. The provisions were nearly consumed, and many of the citizens had died from want of food. The people went in crowds to ask Albert to pray for them. Going to the Altar he said Mass for their intention. While he was offering the Holy Sacrifice, a voice was heard in the church, saying: “Albert, your prayer has been heard.” At the same hour, there landed in the harbor, three large ships filled with grain, and no one knew whence they came. The inhabitants now took heart again and bravely withstood the enemy, whilst they also recognized, in the supernatural help they had received, how great Albert was in the sight of God.

Many other wonderful events are to be found in the life of this Saint; but we must leave others to relate them. Still more admirable wefe the miracles which he wrought, with the Divine assistance, on the souls of hardened sinners, especially the Jews, of whom he converted a great number to the Christian faith. Most of the years of his life after he was ordained priest, were passed in preaching the word of God. Finally, God revealed to him the hour of his death, and, in the painful malady from which he suffered, not a word of complaint passed his lips. He praised and glorified the Almighty until his soul ascended to Heaven* in the year of Our Lord, 1292. The many miracles wrought at his tomb increased the fame of his sanctity.

MLA Citation

  • Father Francis Xavier Weninger, DD, SJ. “Saint Albert, Confessor”. Lives of the Saints, 1876. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 March 2018. Web. 17 January 2019. <>