Vatican News

Edith Stein, a woman of dialogue and hope

To mark the feast day of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, we recall the words Pope St. John Paul II spoke about the Patron of Europe, also known as Edith Stein, at her canonization in 1998. He said she "teaches us that love for Christ passes through suffering. Whoever truly loves... accepts communion in suffering with the beloved."

Edith Stein (12 Oct 1891 – 9 Aug 1942), was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun after reading the works of the reformer of the Carmelite Order, St. Teresa of Avila.

She was baptized on 1 January 1922 into the Roman Catholic Church and wished to become a Discalced Carmelite but was dissuaded by her spiritual mentors. She pursued her vocation and was admitted to the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Cologne on 14 October 1934.  She received the religious habit of the Order as a novice in April 1934. Edith Stein was now known as Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce - Teresa, Benedicta of the Cross. For her the Cross of Christ was her guide and felt that those who understood the Cross of Christ should take it upon themselves on everybody's behalf.

On 9 November 1938 the anti-Semitism of the Nazis became apparent to the whole world. Synagogues were burnt, and the Jewish people were subjected to terror.

On 7 August, early in the morning, 987 Jews were deported to Auschwitz. It was probably on 9 August that Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, her sister Rosa who had also converted and was serving at the Echt Convent, and many other of her people were killed in the gas chambers.

09 August 2018, 10:17