Born in Paris to an affluent Jewish family, writer and philosopher Simone Adolphine Weil (1909- 1943) was called "a woman of genius akin to that of the saints" by writer T.S. Elliot and "the saint of all outsiders" by writer Andre Gide.
Her classmate Simone de Beauvoir observed that Weil has "a heart that could beat right across the world."
In praise of the individual spirit and strength, Weil said, "I can, therefore I am."
Considered a brilliant mystic, much of her work was a celebration of the ways that God touches the lives of mankind. "It is not religion but revolution which is the opium of the people," she observed.
Weil taught philosophy at several lycees (schools) in France until 1937. She was unconventional and bright. She inspired her students. "All sins," she said, "are attempts to fill voids."
A passionate advocate of social reform who believed self-sacrifice led to spiritual enlightenment, she let her actions speak for her words.
Taking a teaching sabbatical, she worked in a factory (1934-35), served in the Spanish Republican Army (1936), and became a farm laborer (1941) to acquire greater empathy for the working classes.
"We should do only those righteous actions which we cannot stop ourselves from doing," she said and was a promoter of ideology years ahead of her time.
About her generosity to humanity, philosopher George Grant said, "With Simone Weil you have to combine this staggeringly clear intellect with something that is quite beyond the intellect, namely sanctity. And I mean by saint those beings who give themselves away."
More Simone WEIL Quotations
What great power to say 'I'?