Stars and Their Eyes… Cyrus Habib
Cyrus Habib. Credit: Joe Mabel

Stars and Their Eyes… Cyrus Habib

June 25, 2023 Staff reporters

A blind Iranian-American politician has bowed out of public office to serve as a Jesuit novice and live a life of poverty, chastity and obedience.


Former lieutenant governor of Washington State, Cyrus Habib lost his eyes to retinoblastoma aged eight but excelled academically, beginning his political career in Senator Hillary Clinton’s office while still at Columbia University. He was driven by “voices of the past; people suggesting there's things I can't do because I'm blind, and I needed to prove them wrong,” he said. However, in August 2022 Habib stepped down from office to become a Jesuit novice, beginning with a 30-day vow of silence. “Mindfulness, which I really got to understand as a novice, really came down to silencing those voices so that one can be attentive to the present, no matter what's happening,” he told podcast Twenty Thousand Hertz.


Habib acknowledged that his supporters might question his decision, having spent eight years climbing the political ladder with a view towards winning the Washington State governorship in 2023. “But I have come to believe that the best way to deepen my commitment to social justice is to reduce the complexity in my own life and dedicate it to serving others,” he said.