Philosopher and missionary surgeon Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) was a man who rekindled the human spirit of others.
Born on this day in Upper Alsace, Germany, he fulfilled his vow at age 30 to dedicate his life to helping mankind and became an international symbol of humanitarianism, his name synonymous with altruism.
"Do something for somebody every day for which you do not get paid," he urged.
Schweitzer, an accomplished organist and Bach scholar, founded a hospital in Lambarene, Africa to fight malaria and leprosy, then donated his prize money from the 1952 Nobel Peace Award to build a leper colony. Natives came from hundreds of miles away for treatment.
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know, the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve," he said.
He was also a passionate animal lover. While working in Africa, Schweitzer wrote an ethical philosophy called "reverence for life" which applied to the preciousness of all living things and the abolishment of all nuclear weapons.
"To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward," he believed, "and to exalt the will to live." The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship has been promoting reverence for life in action since 1940.
More Albert SCHWEITZER Quotations
Obstacles build strength.