This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Monday, May 7, 2012

May 7 -- Feast of Saint Albert the Farmer

Albert of Bergamo
Albert of Bergamo and his wife apparently did not have the benefit of couples' counseling before they married.  Or maybe they did, and just hadn't resolved every issue that might divide them.  If she had known that at age seven, he was fasting three days a week and giving his skipped meals to the poor, she might have considered other options before marrying him.  But she didn't, and so they quarreled over his generosity from their table.  In time, she relented, and the couple joyously gave away their food to the poor.  It's good that she repented her stinginess, since she died young.

It's slower without an angel's help
Childless and wifeless, Albert decided to go on a pilgrimage.  I guess one leads to another -- he went to Rome nine times, Santiago de Compostela eight times, and he even made it to Jerusalem once.  He financed these trips by working as a migrant farm laborer.  An unseen angel worked beside him, doubling his output (and his wages).  Angry co-workers resented his productivity, so they put iron bars in the wheat fields, thinking he'd break his scythe on them.  Instead, he and the angel sliced right through them like they were wheat.  And as for all those extra wages, he of course donated them to the needy and hoofed it on down to the next town when a job was done.
Santiago de Compostela -- who wouldn't go back? 

After working to establish a hospital for pilgrims who sickened while traveling, he settled down in Cremona.  He joined the Dominicans as a tertiary (secular brother) so that he could continue going on pilgrimages rather than getting stuck in a cloister.  A couple of miracles around the time of his death confirmed his sainthood.

JP2: But I'm too young for a Viaticum! Noooo!
First, he knew he was dying so he sent for a priest.  Since he couldn't hang on until the priest arrived, a dove brought the Viaticum (final communion) to him before he died.  Then all the bells in Cremona rang themselves to signal that he had died.  As a tertiary, he was supposed to have been buried outside the cloister, but the shovels remained hidden until he was laid to rest in the monastery's tomb.

He's the patron of bakers and day laborers.  If you find icons to be useful (or even decorative), he'd be good in the kitchen and the garden. 

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