chapter  XI
The Great Request
Pages 4

Considering only her incompleteness, her difficulties, which seem to them but slight, and the often unjustifiable accusations she made, forgetting the efforts of the former anarchist and volunteer on the Spanish front, most of Simone Weil’s readers have passed over in silence the great request with which she ended her farewell letter: ‘To-day it is not nearly enough merely to be a saint, but we must have the saintliness demanded by the present moment, a new saintliness, itself without precedent’ …'Such a petition [for this saintliness] is legitimate, today at any rate, because it is necessary. I think that under this or any equivalent form it is the first thing we have to ask for now, we have to ask for it daily, hourly, like a famished child constantly asks for bread. The world needs saints who have genius, just as a plague-stricken town needs doctors. Where there is a need there is also an obligation’ (Letter VI, Waiting on God, pages 45-6).