He developed vaccines for rabies and anthrax and revolutionized medicine with his germ theory of disease.
He laid the foundation for the control of tuberculosis, cholera, diphtheria and tetanus.
While Dean of the Faculty of Sciences at Lille University in France, he developed the process of “pasteurization” of milk.
His name was Louis Pasteur, and he died SEPTEMBER 28, 1895.
As a young man, Louis Pasteur wrote to his sisters, November 1, 1840 (Rene’ Vallery-Radot, The Life of Louis Pasteur, translated by Mrs. R.L. Devonshire, Vol. I, NY: McClure, Phillips & Co., 1902):
“If perchance you should falter during the journey…God…would Himself accomplish its work.”
In 1849, while a professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg, he married Marie Laurent, daughter of the university’s rector.
Tragically, three of their five children died of typhoid, which inspired him to research the causes and preventions of diseases.
At his formal inauguration to the Faculty of Letters of Douai and the Faculty of Sciences of Lille, Louis Pasteur remarked, December 7, 1854:
“Dans les champs de l’observation, le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés” (In the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.)
President George H.W. Bush referred to this statement, February 13, 1989:
“You know, Louis Pasteur once said: ‘Chance favors only the prepared mind.’…For America to be prepared for the future, our children must be educated.”
In an interview with the Mayor and the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Orleans, France, Louis Pasteur talked of:
“Science, which brings man nearer to God.”
Louis Pasteur, together with Ferdinand Cohn and Robert Koch, is considered a father of the science of microbiology. Describing anaerobic (without oxygen) bacteria, Louis Pasteur commented:
“The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. Into his tiniest creatures, God has placed extraordinary properties that turn them into agents of destruction of dead matter.”
In January, 1860, Louis Pasteur wrote to Chappuis (Vallery-Radot, Life of Louis Pasteur):
“I am pursuing as best I can these studies on fermentation which are of great interest, connected as they are with the impenetrable mystery of Life and Death.”
In a letter to his father, February 7, 1860, Louis Pasteur wrote (Vallery-Radot, Life of Louis Pasteur):
“God grant that by my persevering labors I may bring a little stone to the frail and ill-assured edifice of our knowledge of those deep mysteries of Life and Death where all our intellects have so lamentably failed.
-P.S. Yesterday I presented to the Academy my researches on spontaneous generation; they seemed to produce a great sensation.”
Upon his father’s death, Louis Pasteur wrote (Vallery-Radot, Life of Louis Pasteur):
“Dear children, the dear grandfather is no more…Until the last moment I hoped I should see him again, embrace him for the last time…He died on the day of your first communion, dear Cécile; those two memories will remain in your heart…
I was asking you to pray for the grandfather at Arbois College. Your prayers will have been acceptable unto God, and perhaps the dear grandfather himself knew of them and rejoiced with dear little Jeanne over Cécile’s piety.”
In 1862, Pasteur’s research of micro-organisms spoiling beverages, such as beer, wine and milk, led to the process of heating the liquids to kill most bacteria and molds. This process is now know as “pasteurization.”
Pasteur promoted the practice of doctors washing their hands to sanitize them before surgery. His research into micro-organisms causing infections led Joseph Lister to develop antiseptic methods in surgery.
President Eisenhower wrote January 8, 1954:
“Pasteurization of milk has prevented countless epidemics and saved thousands of lives.”
In 1796, scientist Edward Jenner discovered that with cowpox people could be inoculated from smallpox. Louis Pasteur used Jenner’s term “vaccine” (vaca being Latin for cow) to describe his method of immunizing cows from anthrax and humans from rabies.
When questioned regarding faith in his later years, Louis Pasteur is attributed with saying:
“The more I know, the more does my faith approach that of the Breton peasant. Could I but know all, I would have the faith of a Breton peasant woman.”
A Catholic, though described by some as a free thinker, Louis Pastuer died in 1895 while listening to the story of St. Vincent de Paul, a French priest who escaped Muslim slavery in 1605 and helped found religious orders to care for suffering humanity in hospitals.
President Lyndon B. Johnson stated April 7, 1966:
“Years ago Louis Pasteur said, ‘I hold the unconquerable belief that science and peace will triumph over ignorance and war; that nations will come together not to destroy, but to construct; and that the future belongs to those who accomplish most for humanity.'”
Louis Pasteur’s son-in-law described him in a biography (Rene’ Vallery-Radot, 1911, vol. 2, p. 240):
“Absolute faith in God and in Eternity, and a conviction that the power for good given to us in this world will be continued beyond it, were feelings which pervaded his whole life; the virtues of the gospel had ever been present to him.
Full of respect for the form of religion which had been that of his forefathers, he came simply to it and naturally for spiritual help in these last weeks of his life.”
Being one of the first European scientists to reject the theory of spontaneous generation and evolution, Louis Pasteur insisted that life only arises from life, stating:
“Microscopic beings must come into the world from parents similar to themselves…
There is something in the depths of our souls which tells us that the world may be more than a mere combination of events.”
William J. Federer is a nationally known speaker, best-selling author, and president of Amerisearch, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America’s noble heritage.
To learn more about the author please visit William Federer