St. Albert of Jerusalem
Bishop and Lawgiver of Carmel
Feast Day: 17 September

Who was Albert?

The Carmelite Rule

Some extracts from the Carmelite Rule

Albert's message for the 21st Century

Hymn and prayer to St Albert

Futher Reading

Who was Albert?
A brief biography

Albert Avogadro was born about 1150 at Castel Gualtieri (Italy). He entered the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross at Mortara and was elected Prior in 1180. He became Bishop of Bobbio in 1184, and of Vercelli the following year, and in 1205 was made Patriarch of Jerusalem. In all these offices he was a model pastor in word and example, and he contributed greatly to the establishment of peace.
During his patriarchate (1205-1214) he formed the hermit brothers of Mount Carmel into a collegium and wrote a rule for them. 

During a religious procession on 14 September 1214 he was stabbed to death by the Master of the Hospital of the Holy Spirit, whom he had rebuked and deposed for immorality. 
He is venerated as a saint in the Carmelite Order with a liturgical feast on 17th September.

The Carmelite Rule

Albert gives the Rule to the first Carmelites
St. Albert gives the Carmelite Rule to the first Carmelites

In the late 12th and early 13th century, a group of hermits who had been living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land approached Albert, who was then Patriarch of Jerusalem. They asked him to give them a "Rule of Life" because they knew that he had a great deal of experience in writing legislation for religous groups, and much knowledge of Sacred Scripture. The hermits outlined for him the organization of the way of life they had been living, and Albert wrote a text for them sometime between 1206 and 1214. The text was later modified by Pope Innocent IV in 1247, and Albert's formula officially became a Rule for Carmelites. T
his is the text which all Carmelites still use today. It is the shortest Rule of all religious orders, and is rich in Scripture references and practical advice.
There is a short analysis of the Carmelite Rule to be found on the Irish Carmelite Sisters' website:
Introduction to the Carmelite Rule

Some extracts from the Carmelite Rule

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.
Each 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.
Carmelite Rule (14th Cent),
Trinity College, Dublin
Faith must be your shield on
all occasions.... The sword of the spirit, the word of God
must abound in your mouths and hearts.

None of the brothers must lay claim to anything as his own,
but you are to possess everything in common.

Be careful not to indulge in a great deal of talk, for, as Scripture has it - and experience teaches us no less - "Sin will not be wanting where there is much talk".
You are to gather each morning to participate in the celebration of Mass. You must give yourself to work of some kind, so that the devil may always find you busy

To download a complete copy of The Carmelite Rule (pdf format) click here

Albert's message for the 21st Century

Window of St Albert from Terenure College Friars, nuns and lay people in the Carmelite Order all over the world are very familiar with the Rule of St. Albert. Over the centuries it has been read, reflected on and interpreted in many different ways. The flexible nature of the Rule gives great scope for living it out in the monastery, the active apostolic life or even in the busy life of a working family person! The great variety of Carmelite ways of life in existence today testifies to this.

Although we know little about the details of Albert's life, he still brings a message to today's world from the spirit he has left us in the Carmelite Rule. The words of Scripture seem to flow almost unconsciously from Albert's pen - he was so steeped in the Word of God that it penetrated his very thinking. This is a marvellous example that Albert gives to Christians today - to live every moment of life out of the Word of God and Gospel values.

Albert can be an inspiration to those in leadership roles, especially within the Church. He did not impose all his own ideas on the group of hermits who came to him - he listened to what they told him about their way of life, and he adapted it and gave it structure. By this he shows us his qualities of wisdom and discernment. In the instructions he gave to the first Carmelites, he is careful not to be too demanding or rigid - he stresses the importance of common sense in interpreting what has to be done. This openess and flexibility gives a great "human feel" to the Carmelite Rule.

However, Albert was not a timid man - he held his convictions and views and was not afraid to express them when necessary. We see this in the circumstances of his violent death resulting from his criticism of the behaviour of his murderer.

(Image: Window of St Albert giving the Carmelite Rule, Terenure College, Dublin)

Hymn to St Albert
Prayer to St Albert
Albert, you shine before us
Legislator, Shepherd true,
Hear in love the hymns of homage
Which your children sing to you.

Messenger of peace and concord,
Careful to foresee all need,
You instructed all your faithful
Zealously by word and deed.

From your virtues this whole country
Shines with many a precious gem;
Most of all your mem'ry's fragrance
Clings about Jerusalem.

So renowned that Church, so honoured
When you worked as pastor there,
 Carmel's hermits asked for precepts
To define a life of prayer.

We are grateful to you, Father,
For the Rule which we profess,
Apt to guide each one in Carmel
To the heights of holiness.

With your Rule to give us increase
Fruit abundant may we see,
When with you we praise in heaven
God eternal, One in Three.

Margarita of Jesus, OCD
For Carmelites:

Saint Albert,
you have given us a Rule of Life
according to the Gospel
to guide us on our journey 
towards perfect love.
Help us always 
to keep watch
at our prayers
, to live in
allegience to Jesus Christ,
and to serve him
faithfully until death.
Through Christ Our Lord.

For Non-Carmelites:

Saint Albert,
help me to live
according to the Gospel.
and to be faithful to Jesus Christ,
Help me to follow my own
vocation, to keep praying and
reflecting on God's Word, until
one day I may enjoy the
eternal life of glory with Him.
Through Christ Our Lord.

Further Reading

Introduction to the Carmelite Rule from the Irish Carmelite Sisters' website

Contemplation and the Carmelite Rule  by Fr. Joe Chalmers O.Carm
Lecture given in 2007 to students and associates of the Carmelite Institute of Britain and Ireland (CIBI)

Page on St. Albert from Wikipedia

Page on St. Albert from

Catholic Encyclopedia page on St. Albert (somewhat out of date)


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