Saints Nаmе: St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
Віrth nаmе: Edith Stein
Віrth Dаtе: 12 October 1891
Birth Place: Wroclaw, Poland
Died: 9 August 1942
Feast day: 9 August
Patron of: Europe, loss of parents, converted Jews, martyrs, World Youth Day
Canonization: Beatified 1 May 1987, Cologne, Germany by Pope John Paul II, Canonized 11 October 1998, Vatican City by Pope John Paul II
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Biography
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She was born in Breslau (now Poland) into a Jewish family on 12th October 1891. Her mother, a strong woman of deep faith, educated her children in an atmosphere of respect and responsible liberty. Edith’s faith was to weaken as she attempted to make her own the beliefs handed on to her; not finding replies to her questions, she abandoned her faith in her adolescence.
In her process of search, she came upon the work, Logical Investigations. Her teacher in this subject was to be her admired philosopher, Edmund Hesserl, the founder of phenomenology, a science that opened new perspectives on the knowledge of the essence of things. In Gotinga University, she devoted herself to deepening her knowledge of this science together with the study of other philosophers such as Scheler, Reinach, the married couple Conrad-Martius who were to become her great friends.
Two happenings moved her deeply and would play a part in her change of faith to Christ: the attitude of serenity which she noted in Reinach’s wife when he died in combat; and her own reading of the Life of Saint Teresa of Jesus in the house of her friend Mrs. Conrad-Martius.
From then on she continued her own itinerary of deepening her faith, which was to become a journey of progressive trustful abandonment into the hands of the One who revealed himself to her as the Truth and the source of all wisdom. Her desire for total commitment to the Lord in Carmel was preceded by some intensely busy years in which she continued teaching German in the Dominican sisters in Espira, giving conferences in pedagogical and philosophical institutions, studying and translating authors such as St Thomas Aquinas or St. Cardinal Newman, Professor in the Institute of Scientific Pedagogy in Munster . . . The strongly anti-Semitic atmosphere of the time (1933) finally forced her to abandon teaching.
It seemed to her that the time had arrived to begin her life in Carmel and after a painful meeting with her mother, who had never accepted Edith’s conversion, she entered the Cologne Carmel on 14th October 1933, where she was to remain until 31st December 1938, the date when she transferred to the Echt Carmel in Holland, to escape the suffocating persecution against the Jews and Catholics in Germany. She willingly took upon herself the “science of the Cross” to its ultimate consequences. She entered eternal “Life” on 9th August 1942 in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
She was beatified in 1987, canonized in 1998. St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was named co-Patron of Europe in 1999, one of the six patron saints of Europe, together with Benedict of Nursia, Cyril and Methodius, Bridget of Sweden, and Catherine of Siena.
St Edith Stein prayer
O Prince of Peace, to all who receive You, You bright light and peace. Help me to live in daily contact with You, listening to the words You have spoken and obeying them. O Divine Child, I place my hands in Yours; I shall follow You. Oh, let Your divine life flow into me.
I will go unto the altar of God. It is not myself and my tiny little affairs that matter here, but the great sacrifice of atonement. I surrender myself entirely to Your divine will, O Lord. Make my heart grow greater and wider, out of itself into the Divine Life.
O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will open before me and I shall met with peace.
How wondrous are the marvels of your love, We are amazed, we stammer and grow dumb, for word and spirit fail us.