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Lives of the Saints:

How They Changed the World

Saint Albert of Louvain (1166–1192)

Saint Albert of Louvain (1166–1192)

Feast day: November 21

Saint Albert of Louvain entered into religious life at the age of 12. However, he left the priesthood at the age of 21 to become a knight of Count Baldwin. He planned to go on a crusade but did not follow through; instead, he rejoined religious life. Albert was appointed as bishop of Liege, which upset Count Baldwin, who had hoped that one of his relatives would get the appointment. In anger, Count Baldwin sought the help of Emperor Henry VI, who removed Albert and appointed Baldwin’s relative as bishop. However, Albert also appealed to Rome, and his appointment as bishop was acknowledged as valid. The struggle for control of Liege was unrelenting, and eventually took its toll. A group of knights sent by Emperor Henry approached Albert and stabbed him to death. After the attack, Emperor Henry VI’s plan of control backfired, and he was required to do penance for his murderous actions. In this image, Saint Albert is pictured standing. (Image in public domain-100)