St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Carmelite nun, martyr, and patron of Europe
Feast day: 9August

Statue by Geoff Lucas of St. Edith Stein
in the barn named in her honour at Aylesford Carmelite Priory, Kent.

Edith Stein was born to a Jewish family at Breslau on 12th October 1891. Through her passionate study of philosophy she searched after truth and found it in reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Jesus. In 1922 she was baptised and in 1933 she entered the monastery of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Cologne where she took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. During the Second World War Edith was sheltered from the Nazi persecution of Jews at the Carmel in Echt, Holland. Because of her refusal to deny her Jewish heritage or abandon her sister who was sheltering in the same Carmel, Edith was deported, gassed and cremated at Auschwitz concentration camp on 9th August 1942 and died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel. A woman of singular intelligence and learning, she left behind a large body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II at Cologne on 1st May 1987, and canonised by him in 1998. In 1999 she was declared one of the six patron saints of Europe.

A quotation from Edith Stein

"When night comes, and retrospect shows that everything was patchwork and much that one had planned left undone, when so many things rouse shame and regret, then take all as is, lay it in God's hands, and offer it up to Him. In this way we will be able to rest in Him, actually to rest and to begin the new day like a new life."

A prayer in honour of Edith Stein
Let us pray
Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death to the covenant of love
ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.
We ask through through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Further resources
Professor Benjamin Gibbs, O.C.D.S., has kindly given us permission to publish his article on The Conversion of Edith Stein.

In September 2011 Fr. Robert Opala, O.C.D., made a presentation on St. Edith Stein that was filmed; to watch the video click on the play (arrow)

button below.