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Edith Stein - St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

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Edith Stein (religious name Teresia Benedicta a Cruce OCD; also known as St. Edith Stein or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross; 12 October 1891 – 9 August 1942), was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She is canonized as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church, and she is one of six co-patron saints of Europe.

edithsteinca1938-1939.jpg

She was born into an observant Jewish family, but was an atheist by her teenage years. Moved by the tragedies of World War I, in 1915 she took lessons to become a nursing assistant and worked in an infectious diseases hospital. After completing her doctoral thesis from the University of Göttingen in 1916, she obtained an assistantship at the University of Freiburg.

From reading the works of the reformer of the Carmelite OrderTeresa of Ávila, she was drawn to the Catholic faith. She was baptized on 1 January 1922 into the Roman Catholic Church. At that point, she wanted to become a Discalced Carmelite nun, but was dissuaded by her spiritual mentors. She then taught at a Catholic school of education in Speyer. As a result of the requirement of an "Aryan certificate" for civil servants promulgated by the Nazi government in April 1933 as part of its Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, she had to quit her teaching position.

She was admitted to the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Cologne the following October. She received the religious habit of the Order as a novice in April 1934, taking the religious name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. In 1938, she and her sister Rosa, by then also a convert and an extern sister (tertiaries of the Order, who would handle the community′s needs outside the monastery), were sent to the Carmelite monastery in EchtNetherlands, for their safety. Despite the Nazi invasion of that state in 1940, they remained undisturbed until they were arrested by the Nazis on 2 August 1942 and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they died in the gas chamber on 9 August 1942.

Stein was born in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland), Lower Silesia, into an observant Jewish family. She was the youngest of 11 children and was born on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Hebrew calendar, which combined to make her a favorite of her mother.[4] She was a very gifted child who enjoyed learning, in a home where her mother encouraged critical thinking, and she greatly admired her mother's strong religious faith. By her teenage years, however, Stein had become an atheist.

Though her father died while she was young, her widowed mother was determined to give her children a thorough education and consequently sent Stein to study at the University of Breslau (also known as "Schlesische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität").


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edith_Stein

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Edith Stein’s unusual journey of faith

The anonymous woman

Not long after this meeting with Mrs. Reinach, as Edith was inching closer to the gifts of Baptism and faith, a friend took her to see the cathedral in Frankfurt. This is how Edith described what happened, “We went into the cathedral for a few moments, and as we stood there in respectful silence, a woman came in with her shopping basket and knelt down in one of the pews to say a short prayer. This was something completely new to me. In the synagogue, as in Protestant churches I had visited, people only went in at the time of the service. But here was someone coming into the empty church in the middle of a day’s work as if to talk with a friend. I have never been able to forget that.”

An anonymous woman’s visit to the Blessed Sacrament, which she probably did on a routine basis, stirred within Edith’s heart a great longing for a similar intimacy with God, for an encounter that went beyond philosophical concepts, one that combined truth with love. If this anonymous woman could be so absorbed in prayer with God, just seconds after leaving behind the noisy turmoil of the city outside, then could she not hope for the same?

http://www.catholicsun.org/2015/08/19/edith-steins-unusual-journey-of-faith/

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