Friday, October 21, 2011

"A Passion for Self-Sacrifice"

In his biography of Albert I, which I am finding to be quite a bittersweet read, Emile Cammaerts draws a comparison between the Belgian king and one of his relatives on his mother's side,  the martyred hermit Meinrad of Einsiedeln.
Like most royal personages, he had many Christian names: Albert, Leopold, Clément, Marie, Meinrad. Now, St. Meinrad was supposed to be a member of the Hohenzollern family who, after founding the monastery of Einsiedeln in the ninth century, lived for a long time as a hermit in the company of two ravens and a squirrel. His namesake led a very different life, but remained nevertheless fond of solitude, an ardent admirer of monastic and missionary discipline, simple in his habits and frugal in his diet. His devotion to his people had developed into a passion for self-sacrifice. He shared the Saint's untiring patience and courage, with his delicate and almost feminine sympathy not for men only, but for beasts and even for trees (Emile Cammaerts, Albert of Belgium: Defender of Right, Macmillan Company, New York, 1935, p. 423).


gio said...

I'm looking forward to your review of the book. Albert I is one of my favourite Belgian kings and I'm curious to know why you find this book bittersweet.

May said...

Yes, partly b/c of the bittersweet quality I am reading it rather slowly, so the review is also rather slow in coming;-)