April 27, 2012

Tages-Anzeiger "starved to death after embarking on a spiritual diet that required her to stop eating or drinking and live off sunlight alone."

Another saint, gone.

Having gotten that far drafting this post, I went looking for saints who have starved to death. I found the story of Maximilian Kolbe. Now, I'm ashamed to have begun this post so sarcastically, but I'll leave it the way it is and invite you to contemplate the extent of the contrast between these 2 stories.

38 comments:

bearing said...

Honestly? I don't want to follow the first link. I know the story of St. Maximilian by heart. I am glad you put him before my thoughts today.

Martyrdom happens in modern times. It is one of the reasons why we honor fasting.

Amartel said...

Crack bait.

chickenlittle said...

I bet she died tan and thin. How old was she in light years?

I used to subscribe to the Tages-Anzeiger--I called the "Tages Neinsager." The alternative was the conservative NZZ (Neue Zuercher Zeitung) which was kind of like The Wall Street Journal.

Dave said...

Kolbe is one of my favorites, he had that warm generous Franciscan charism

Amartel said...

There's an ad for weight loss in the middle of the article on the sunlight diet lady.

jimbino said...

If she didn't perish before breeding, she doesn't qualify for the Darwin award, unfortunately.

Jim S. said...

The first case makes me embarassed to be a human being and the second makes me proud to be one. Like Pascal wrote, "What sort of freak then is man! How novel, how monstruous, how chaotic, how paradoxical, how prodigious! Judge of all things, feeble earth-worm, repository of truth, sink of doubt and error, glory and refuse of the universe."

Dave said...

Kolbe started a monastery in Nagasaki that miraculously survived the bomb blast.

traditionalguy said...

Don't let Obama's EPA Czars read this one. They will up their game and start throwing energy producers into the basement to starve to death...or come to think of it that is already what they are doing to clean coal electrical generators and Canadian Oil Sands refiners.

The Government under Emperor Obama and Tribune Reid is at war with free American citizens every bit as much as the Syrian Dictator is at war with Syrian citizens.

Original Mike said...

OK, that made me tear up (Kolbe, that is. I doubt I'll spend the time to read about the loon.)

traditionalguy said...

Add humans and a sun God together and the result is dead humans everytime. The only question is how many.

Crimso said...

The result was....predictable.

chickenlittle said...

Regarding Kolbe:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

There is also the story of Damon and Pythias

There is also the Mike Monsoor story: link

EDH said...

The George Hamilton Diet.

When a prisoner escaped from the camp, the Nazis selected 10 others to be killed by starvation in reprisal for the escape.

And the EPA only crucifies five?

"We have vays of making you not frack for oil."

chickenlittle said...

It's interesting (to me) that the word Kolbe appears closely related to the German word Kolben which means vessel or flask.
I only know this from reading so much old German chemical literature.

Chef Mojo said...

I'm thinking that a human's lack of green skin with the ability to conduct photosynthesis would be the first clue?

Original Mike said...

Yeah, the EPA could learn a thing or two from the Nazis.

Patrick said...

Interesting that the man whose life St. Maximillian saved lived until 1995. Made a pilgrimage to Auschwitz in his honor every year after the war.

wyo sis said...

Kolbe lived his life giving of himself and gave his life the same way She spent her life in a frantic search for what? Meaning? Happiness? Attention? Whatever it was I don't think she got it or enough of it.

edutcher said...

Maybe she OD'd on Vitamin D.

TCB-n-a-Flash said...

Kolbe died from self-sacrifice, the Swiss woman from natural selection.

Carnifex said...

No! No! No! A thousand times NO!

Everyone knows that Catholic Priests are homosexual pedophilic demagogues with delusions of grandeur!

You can't alter the narrative just to suit your whim, Althouse. The left will simply not allow this foul calumny to stand.

Blue@9 said...

I see shit like this and it confirms for me the dumb, self-destructive decadence of the rich West. People like this are so rich and removed from daily struggles to live that they can choose to stop eating.

For some reason it reminds me of this country's hostility to drilling and nuclear power. If you asked anyone in the third world whether they would support such projects in their own countries, they'd say 'Fuck yeah! Jobs, energy, wealth, stability, fuck yeah!' But we'd rather commit slow suicide because, well, we don't know what real poverty is.

Kirk Parker said...

Tradguy @ 1:21pm,

Ouch. But sadly you're right on the mark there.

bagoh20 said...

Although I'm not a believer myself, I sure do love a lot of people who are. I wish I was one so that I could have what this man did. A world without believers is one I would not want to live in.

The evil that bubbles through history is so incredibly hard to fathom in our safe lives. Thankfully, I rarely see it up close, but you can see it as glimmers in this or that shiny idea around us.

Bill Whittle, who I love, has this new video in which he makes the argument that the "greatest sentence ever" is one he recently came across: "Love of theory is the root of all evil".

As always with Whittle, it's worth a watch:

The Train Set

Graham Powell said...

I first heard of Kolbe many years ago on a college-sponsored trip to Rome. Our lodgings were in Casa Kolbe, which was owned by a monastic order. Fairly sobering surroundings for a bunch of college kids.

edutcher said...

Blue@9 said...

I see shit like this and it confirms for me the dumb, self-destructive decadence of the rich West.

I know what you mean, but it's less the West as a whole than the hippy dippy Lefty anti-tradition subculture that's finally coming back to bite people who really buy into it.

Jason said...

I see the Crack logo being projected by searchlight into the night sky.

tim maguire said...

Most people who starve to death do it intentionally or unavoidably. It takes a rarefied form of stupidity to do it by mistake.

The crazy thing is, death by starvation doesn't come suddenly. Wouldn't she have noticed it wasn't working out?

Michael McNeil said...

One thing that genetic engineering could do for us is add chloroplasts (photosynthesizing organelles in plants much like mitochondria) to our cells. It's not clear that they would provide enough food to power a mammalian metabolism all by themselves, but they probably would help considerably in deterring starvation, providing you get enough light (and perhaps if you have light enough colored skin).

chickenlittle said...

@Michael McNeil: Next thing you know people would start putting down roots and start inviting bacteria in to fix nitrogen for dinner.

Ann Althouse said...

"Kolbe died from self-sacrifice, the Swiss woman from natural selection."

All priests (who stay chaste) take themselves out of natural selection, whether they stay alive or not.

Carol said...

"Wouldn't she have noticed it wasn't working out?"

Fasting can make you kinda high, if you don't get sick first. When I was young I could go for a long time without food but would get dingier than hell. I think that's the idea behind religious fasting - you get crazy close to God.

Michael McNeil said...

Next thing you know people would start putting down roots and start inviting bacteria in to fix nitrogen for dinner.

People put down roots (figuratively speaking) even without photosynthesis. Moreover, you technically wouldn't need roots, providing you ingest enough nutrients (fertilizer). As for fixing nitrogen, the only reason (some) plants cultivate bacteria to do it is because they don't know how to do it themselves. That too could be genetically engineered into our cells.

Richard Fagin said...

I read about Father Kolbe in the Readers' Digest in the 1970s. What a giant of a man.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Father Maximilian never ceases to move me. Every time I think of him.

Shanna said...

What a beautiful story of grace that is. I had never heard it.

Valentine Smith said...

Spiritual pride usually means only death to the soul. The woman T-A vainly (in both senses of the word) sought the stature of holy woman and failed, though she had great faith in herself as God.

The only thing that convinces me Kolbe wasn't beset with pride is the fact that he had a lot of time to change his mind and died gracefully (in both senses of the word).

A Brooklyn SF guy named Kedenberg won the MOH in Nam when he gave up his spot on a 3-man McGuire rig to a Nung during a hot exfil from Cambodia. He too died gracefully. I often wonder how much of a choice that was for him. Automatic no doubt, as it is with the guy who jumps the grenade.

The thing about free will is that it is part and parcel of the many levels of conscious and unconscious being. And most of us have no idea how we will will our actions when the ordure hits the fan. Except the holy ones who have rid themselves of all ambivalence.