VOEGELIN -- RESEARCH NEWS
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Volume II, No. 4                                         November 1996
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_IN THIS ISSUE_:   Mrs Lissy Voegelin (1906-1996)


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                     Mrs Lissy Voegelin (1906-1996)

Mrs Lissy Onken Voegelin, widow of Eric Voegelin, died peacefully 
at home in Stanford, California on October 8, 1996, at age ninety. 
Born in Bremen on September 3 1906, she grew up in Vienna, where she 
and Eric Voegelin were married in 1932.  They were nearly trapped by 
the Gestapo after the _Anschluss_ of Austria in 1938, and only after 
Eric succeeded in fleeing to Switzerland was Lissy able to follow him,
first there and then to America. They lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana 
from 1942, in Munich from 1959, and then returned to America in 1969 
to live in Stanford, California.

Helen Trimpi read this tribute at Mrs Voegelin's Memorial Service. The
Editors are very grateful to her for her kind permission to reproduce 
the address here. Thanks also to Linda Bernard for her assistance.

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                         FOR LISSY VOEGELIN

       Words Spoken at the Memorial Service on October 12, 1996
                      in Palo Alto, California

As most of us remember from reading together certain dialogues of 
Plato, Socrates often asks his interlocutors about virtue: the nature 
of it, or how it is to be achieved. Although Socrates more often 
evidently was thinking about the masculine expressions of virtue, 
surely the feminine expressions did not escape his notice when they 
occurred. And I believe that virtue as he defined it generally may 
take different forms. If so, if virtue may beyond gender be achieved 
more finely wrought, more gently molded when a woman attains it, then 
she whom we honor today may be seen as exemplary of it.

First of all, she had courage, which is a preliminary and requisite 
to all other aspects of virtue, for when the murderous agents of 
Hitler pursued her husband to the door of their home in Vienna, yet 
she, a young woman of 32, chose to leave both her home and her parents 
to follow him to a new life in an alien land, learning an alien tongue.

Then, in the academic communities where her husband found work teach-
ing, there were in the late 1930s and 1940s long years of labor for 
her, before our day of labor-saving devices, with only the necessities
and no luxuries.  It was a life simple enough and almost Socratic -- a
temperate life surely. But it was labor shared with him in patient
concord and was lived in faithful intimacy as if their task were one 
task -- his was hers and hers was his.

Though I did not know her in the years in Baton Rouge, it is my impres-
sion that with other members of their community, in her social life, 
she was never imprudent nor in her human relations was she injudicious.
The Platonic (and Aristotelian) terms prudence and justice perhaps sound
over-weighty, yet they are not, I think, improperly used of her charac-
ter, although in her they were so instinctively practiced that they
scarcely attracted notice.

Again, though I did not know her in the years she lived in Munich --
another new life for her -- I imagine that that was when she was most
called upon to exercise her gift of judgement in people, when her hus-
band was director of the new political institute with even more claims 
on his time and hers than in Louisiana.

The years of my knowledge of her, from 1972 on, when Lissy and Eric 
were living on the Stanford campus, I observed her closely and I wish 
now that I had asked her more about her earlier life and learned more
from her judicious and balanced character, exemplary as it was of the
"balanced consciousness."

Last of all and not least, as I observed her, love, whether it was 
tinged more with Socratic or with Christian tones, worked its rich 
color through the text and texture of her life and his, illuminating
gestures and glances, words and expressions. Love colored all she 
did, love implicitly for the highest good and love explicitly for the
simple goods through which a woman controls and shapes her actions to
make the good life.

Helen P. Trimpi

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Dr. M.W. Poirier                  | Dr. Geoffrey L. Price
Dept. of Political Science        | Dept. of Religions and Theology
Concordia University              | University of Manchester
Loyola Campus                     | MANCHESTER M13 9PL
7141 Sherbrooke Street W.         | United Kingdom
MONTREAL, Quebec                  |
H4B 1R6                           |
E-Mail: poirmw@Vax2.Concordia.Ca  | E-Mail: g.price@manchester.ac.uk
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