Simone Weil (1909-1943) was an influential French philosopher and social activist, as well as the sister of mathematician André Weil. A lifelong advocate for those in suffering, Weil participated in both the Spanish Civil War and French Resistance. A converted Christian, Weil also became interested in mysticism later in life. She died of tuberculosis during World War II.
"The recognition of human wretchedness is difficult for whoever is rich and powerful because he is almost invincibly led to believe that he is something. It is equally difficult for the man in miserable circumstances because he is almost invincibly led to believe that the rich and powerful man is something."
-Simone Weil, from Attention and Will