In 1941 Simone Weil was introduced to Father Jean-Marie Perrin, a priest of the Dominican order whose friendship became one of the most significant influences on her spiritual development. It was for Father Perrin that she wrote her 'spiritual autobiography', contained in Waiting for God, and to him that she later wrote 'Letter to a Priest'. When Weil requested work as a field hand, Perrin sent her to Gustave Thibon, a farmer and Christian philosopher. From 1941-2, Weil stayed with the Thibon family, working in the fields by day while writing by night the notebooks which posthumously became Gravity and Grace and other seminal works.
Perrin and Thibon met Weil at a time when her interior life and her creative genius were at the height of their glowing maturity. During the short but deep period of their acquaintance with her, they came to know her as she actually was. Their accounts of this time reveal her to us in the bare parlour of the Dominican convent at Marseilles where, after waiting her turn among a stream of refugees, she discussed her personal problems with Father Perrin. They show her to us in the vineyards of Ardeche, and on the stone seat by the fountain overlooking the Rhone valley where she read Plato to Thibon, her host. First published in 1953, and now newly introduced by Patricia Little, this unique portrait depicts Weil through the eyes of her friends, not as a strange and unaccountable genius but as an ardent and very human young person in search of truth and knowledge.
'I am going to try to speak of Simone Weil herself, disregarding the immense halo of commentaries, discussions and legends which surround her. For a moment I am going to forget even her writings in order to call back to my life that unknown being who, as it were, dropped from the sky and for a brief space shared my existence.' - Gustave Thibon 'A book that helped to bring a whole generation of Simone Weil scholars into existence.' - Richard H. Bell, Wooster College 'Offers measured and considered responses to Simone Weil both personally and intellectually. Thibon's response to Weil's attack on the Catholic Church as a social organisation is the profoundest I have read. Perrin and Thibon are seminal figures, given their personal stature and relationships with Simone Weil, and students of her work will want to read what they have to say.' - Professor D Z Phillips, University of Swansea