Louis Braille (1809–1852) was born in a small village near Paris, France. At three years old, he blinded himself with a knitting needle in one eye, which led to a condition that stole the sight from his other eye as well. The intelligent Braille wanted to find a way for the blind to read; as early as the age of 12, he experimented with a system of raised dots. By 17, he had invented a complete system and started teaching it to other blind people.
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On Blindness and Braille
Braille not only overcame his own disability, but devoted his life to a remarkable achievement that has opened doors for millions of blind people: "Braille is knowledge, and knowledge is power."
On the Countryside
Despite living in Paris, Braille loved his hometown and liked to return to his family. "I am getting bored of the big city and I'll be happy to breathe the fresh air of the countryside, to walk with you [his mother] through the vines."
When near death, Braille told a friend, "When you have experienced [the sacraments], you understand all the majesty and power of religion. I am convinced my mission on earth has been accomplished. I asked God to carry me away from this world . . ."
Close to death from pervasive illness, Braille told a friend, "Yesterday was one of the greatest and most beautiful days of my life. I tasted the greatest joys. God was pleased to hold before my eyes the dazzling splendours of eternal hope. After that, doesn't it seem that nothing more could keep me bound to the earth?”
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