This great doctor of the Church was born in Swabia, Germany, and studied at the University of Padua, where he was received into the Dominican Order by Blessed Jordan of Saxony. He was sent to the University of Paris, the intellectual center of Western Europe. He was the first German Dominican Friar to receive the degree of Master of Theology. Albert did much to introduce the authentic writings of Aristotle to western thought and pioneered the use of the inductive method. His original research in the world of animals, birds, insects, plants and minerals aroused universal admiration, even of Roger Bacon, his peer in scientific research. "The aim of natural science, " said Albert, "is not simply to accept the statements of others, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature. Despite the prevailing contrary opinion, he demonstrated that faith and science are autonomous disciplines although they go hand in hand. He also held the Aristotelian opinion of the sphericity of the earth. He was dubbed by his contemporaries Albert The Great and Universal Doctor. He was the unquestioned master of scholastic theology until surpassed by his pupil Thomas Aquinas.
Artwork by Sr. Mary of the Compassion, Union City, NJ