Today is the Feast of St Albert the Great. Happy feast day! Born in 1193, St Albert was one of the greatest minds of the Middle Ages. In fact, during his lifetime he was known as a “teacher of everything there is to know”.
A native of Germany, the Dominican friar’s academic career took him to Italy, France and Germany. Saint Albert’s intellectual interests ranged from the natural science to theology. He was a mentor to many of the other great minds of the 13th century including, most notably, St Thomas Aquinas. Saint Albert died on this day in 1280.
For many, Albert’s life and work are reminders of the harmony that exists between faith, reason and science, as explains Professor Carl Boehlert of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University
Professor Boehlert is also an ordained permanent deacon serving the parish of Saint Martha in Okemos. He writes:
“I’m a deacon and an engineering professor, so every now and then someone will ask me how I do both. They seem to see a conflict between the two identities, but I do not.”
“It’s not a regular thing that religion comes up at work. I sometimes talk to Christian people here in the College of Engineering and sometimes we share a lot of the same thoughts. But I also discuss issues with other colleagues whose religious beliefs I don’t know. Our conversations are every bit as good and respectful — just different.
“I know scientists sometimes have a reputation of being atheists or nonbelievers. But in my experience, I don’t think science is in opposition to faith. Some of my colleagues are active members of my home parish, Saint Martha’s [in Okemos], and other Catholic parishes in the diocese. Several others practice different religions.”
“I think God speaks to us in many ways, including through others and through our world. When we spend time in prayer, we can strengthen our connection and ability to see what God wants us to do. I feel blessed that I can try to help people through both science and through religion and faith.”
“I’ve heard theology described as ‘faith seeking understanding’. I get to apply both scientific and religious principles to understanding our world and to helping people walk in the spectrum of God’s colorful light. Who can see a conflict in that?”
Saint Albert the Great, pray for us!