Friday, August 7, 2015

St. Albert's Water

St. Albert of Sicily, AKA Albert of Trapani (I suspect you never heard of him) was the first member of the Carmelite Order to be honored as a saint. There is not a lot to tell about him, but on August 7, his feast day, a relic of the saint is dipped into the water of St. Albert's Well and is said to grant healing of body and mind those who use the water. In Carmelite monasteries throughout the world, small relics of the saint are dipped into water and a prayer is said over it. This "St. Albert's Water" is dispensed to the faithful who wish to use it by blessing themselves or, recklessly, taking a sip. Not exactly as famous as Lourdes water, but that is the basic idea. You notice the small jar of water at the saint's feet in the icon.

I still remember this ceremony from my days in the monastery. The novice master who presided over it when I was first at Marylake was somewhat skeptical about such things, but he was a big believer in keeping customs alive. And so we did it. 

I thought of St. Albert today because we had periods of torrential rain this morning and this afternoon, broken by clear blue skies. We certainly needed the rain, and we trust it will bring healing of mind and body to us as well as to the plants.


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