Saint Albert the Great, also known as Albertus Magnus, was born sometime between the years of 1193 and 1206 at the castle of Lauingen in Swabia, Germany. He was the eldest son the Count of Bollstadt and came from a very rich and prominent family. He as at least on younger brother named Henry and a sister who both became Dominicans in Albert's footsteps. His early childhood was spent at the castle of Bollstadt and his education was from private tutoring at home. From an early age, Albert had a keen observation; playing in the nearby woods and hunting hawks and hounds.
At approximately the age of sixteen, Albert was sent to the University of Padua in Italy. This particular university was chosen because it was the predominant liberal arts school of its day which Albert had expressed a profound interest in. It was also the locale of an uncle of his who was a canon there. Albert excelled in all his courses and seemed to be on his way to becoming a scholar and eventual man of wealth. He did become a great scholar but his aspirations of being wealthy took a back seat when he heard a speech given by the Blessed Jordan of Saxony, second Master General of the Dominican Order (Order of Preachers, O.P.). The speech caught Albert's attention. He was attracted to the Dominican's evangelical poverty, their zeal for preaching, their constant study of the sacred sciences, their tender devotion to Mary, and their heroic dedication to the service of God for the salvation of their fellow men.
Albert underwent a discernment process. He was concerned over whether he was going to be able to persevere. His uncle instilled more doubt about becoming a Dominican because he did not want his nephew to join the order and went so far as to take Albert on a trip to Venice to try to convince him otherwise. When they returned, however, Albert heard yet another sermon by Blessed Jordan that seemed to speak directly to him. The decisive factor in his vocation was the... [continues]
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