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St. Edith Stein

St. Edith Stein by Julie Lonneman

Artist Narrative:

After reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila from a friend's library, Edith Stein, a 30-year-old Jewish philosopher, exclaimed, "This is the truth!" She was baptized in 1922 and later became a Carmelite nun, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. In response to World War II and the horrors leading up to it, she formally consecrated her life to atonement and to world peace. Though she fled to Holland during the holocaust, she and her sister Rosa were apprehended and sent to the gas chambers of Auschwitz because they were Jews. In addition to her intellectual brilliance, she is remembered for her warmth, kindness, and trust in God.

"Whatever did not fit in with my plan did lie within the plan of God. I have an ever deeper and firmer belief that nothing is merely an accident when seen in the light of God, that my whole life down to the smallest details has been marked out for me in the plan of Divine Providence and has a completely coherent meaning in God's all-seeing eyes. And so I am beginning to rejoice in the light of glory wherein this meaning will be unveiled to me."
—Saint Edith Stein

Poland, 1891-1942.

Her feast day is August 9.

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Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) Virgin and Martyr Edith Stein, born in 1891 in Breslau, Poland, was the youngest child of a large Jewish family. She was an outstanding student and was well versed in philosophy with a particular interest in phenomenology. Eventually she became interested in the Catholic Faith, and in 1922, she was baptized at the Cathedral Church in Cologne, Germany. Eleven years later Edith entered the Cologne Carmel. Because of the ramifications of politics in Germany, Edith, whose name in religion was Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, was sent to the Carmel at Echt, Holland. When the Nazis conquered Holland, Teresa was arrested, and, with her sister Rose, was sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Teresa died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942 at the age of fifty-one. In 1987, she was beatified in the large outdoor soccer stadium in Cologne by Pope John Paul II. Out of the unspeakable human suffering caused by the Nazis in western Europe in the 1930's and 1940's, there blossomed the beautiful life of dedication, consecration, prayer, fasting, and penance of Saint Teresa. Even though her life was snuffed out by the satanic evil of genocide, her memory stands as a light undimmed in the midst of evil, darkness, and suffering. She was canonized on October 11, 1998. 

Born: October 12, 1891 at Breslaw, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) as Edith Stein 

Died: Gassed on August 9, 1942 in the ovens of Auschwitz 

Beatified: May 1, 1987 by Pope John Paul II in the cathedral at Cologne, Germany 

Canonized: October 11, 1998 by Pope John Paul II 

Readings:

Whatever did not fit in with my plan did lie within the plan of God. I have an ever deeper and firmer belief that nothing is merely an accident when seen in the light of God, that my whole life down to the smallest details has been marked out for me in the plan of Divine Providence and has a completely coherent meaning in God's all-seeing eyes. And so I am beginning to rejoice in the light of glory wherein this meaning will be unveiled to me.
—Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross 

God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with Him. Then you will be able to rest in Him -- really rest -- and start the next day as a new life.
—Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross