Philosopher. Her writings ponder the question of religious faith in a seemingly irrational world. Acutely aware of the oppression and suffering around her, she came to see suffering itself as a means of achieving spiritual unity with God. Weil was born in Paris. A brilliant student, she received her baccalaureat with honors at 15 and studied philosophy at the prestigious Ecole Normale Superieure from 1928 to 1931. She served with an anarchist brigade in the Spanish Civil War, and her involvement in other left-wing causes, as well as her apparent lack of interest in sex, earned her the nickname "The Red Virgin". Although she was Jewish, Weil became profoundly interested in Roman Catholicism in the late 1930's after claiming to have experienced an epiphany. "Jesus just came down and took me", she said. (She did not formally convert, however). In 1942 she escaped Nazi-occupied France and worked as a propagandist and translator for the Free French government in London. The following year Weil was sent to a sanitarium in Ashford, Kent, where she died of anorexia at 34. Apart from a handful of essays, all her work was edited and published after her death. This includes the books "Waiting for God" (1951), "Gravity and Grace" (1952), "The Need for Roots" (1952), "Notebooks" (two volumes, 1956), and "Oppression and Liberty" (1958). Pope Paul VI regarded Weil as a major spiritual influence, and many Catholic scholars believe that only Weil's refusal to be baptised has prevented her from being made a saint by the church. Today she is considered one of the most important religious thinkers of the 20th Century.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards