Lagura: Philosopher, theologian, physician and man of God

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Albert Schweitzer

(1875-1965)

BORN on January 14, 1875 in Alsace, then part of Germany, the young boy was baptized: Ludwig Philipp Albert Schweitzer. The family name indicates that they originally came from Switzerland a.k.a. Die Schweitz.

He came from a long line of ordained Lutheran ministers. As expected the young Albert studied philosophy, then theology at the University of Strasbourg. His desire to become a missionary led him to study medicine after ordination as a Lutheran minister. To support his many years of studies, Albert Schweitzer a gifted musician since childhood, organized and performed at organ concerts.

Falling in love with Helen Breslau, a Jewish girl he met at a wedding, Schweitzer finally married her, after years of engagement, and made her a partner in his missionary work.

Armed theological knowledge and skill as a doctor of medicine, Albert Schweitzer went as a missionary to Lambarene (now known as Republic of Gabon), in Africa. There he built a hospital for a land plagued by dreaded tropical diseases, notably leprosy and sleeping sickness.

On Sundays, he would serve as preacher-minister to his congregation.

Despite heavy schedule as a doctor and ordained minister, Albert Schweitzer undertook research on the “historical Jesus,” where he obtained praises from theologians.

His philosophy is summed up in the words: respect for all forms of life and end to nuclear weapons.

In 1957, Albert Schweitzer obtained the Nobel Prize, and with it came the amount of $33,000, which he used to expand his hospital in Africa to accommodate as many as 500 patients at a time.

All through their years together, Albert Schweitzer never cited the role his wife played in his work and achievements, thereby eliciting the remark from the writer Mary Kingsley, [Mrs. Schweitzer] is "one form of human being whose praise has never adequately been sung, namely, the missionary's wife."

Paradoxically, the famed missionary-doctor’s wife died of tuberculosis.

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