Saint Edith Stein
Edith Stein, or Teresa Benedicta of the Cross as she was known in Carmel, was a philosopher and Jewish convert to Catholicism. She entered Carmel in 1933 and quickly understood its role of prayer for the world in a time of war and violence. She died at Auschwitz in 1942, witnessing as always to the truth of God’s love.
“Through the power of the Cross
you can be present wherever there is pain,
carried there by your compassionate charity,
by that very charity which you draw from
the Divine Heart. That charity enables
you to spread everywhere the most
Precious Blood in order to
ease pain, save and redeem."
“Lay all your cares about the future
trustingly in God's hands, and
let yourself be guided by the Lord
just like a little child."
Chronology of St Edith Stein's Life
1891 — October 12: Born in Breslau
1897 — Entered Viktoria School in Breslau
1908-1911 — Attended the Oberlyceum of Viktoria School
1911 — Comprehensive final exam in Breslau, with distinction
1911-1913 — Studies at University of Breslau, German Studies, History, Psychology, Philosophy
1913-1915 — Studies at University in Gottingen: Philosophy, German Studies, History
1915 — January: State Examination in Gottingen, with distinction
1915 — Volunteer nursing service with German Red Cross at a military hospital in Mahrisch-Weisskirchen
1916 — Substitute teaching in Breslau
1916 — PhD examination in Freiburg, summa cum laude
1916-1918 — Assistant to Prof. Edmund Husserl in Freiburg
1917 — On the Problem of Empathy, Doctoral dissertation
1919-21 — Various scholarly writings, unsuccessful attempts to get a university appointment
1921 — Completes reading of the Life of St Teresa of Avila at the home of her friend, Hedwig Conrad-Martius in Bergzabern. Decision to become a Roman Catholic.
1922 — January 1: Baptism and first communion in the parish church St Martin in Bergzabern; February 2: Confirmation in the private chapel of the Bishop of Speyer.
1923-1931 — Teacher at a girls' high school and teachers' training institute for the Dominican nuns of St Magdalena, Speyer. Translations and other writings.
Lectures at educational workshops and congresses in Aachen, Augsburg, Bendorf, Berlin, Essen, Heidelberg, Ludwigshafen, Munster, Munich, Paris, Salzburg, Speyer, Vienna and Zurich
1932-1933 — Lecturer at the German Institute for Scientific Pedagogy, Munster
1933 — April: Dismissal from position as lecturer at the Institute by government decree under Nazi regime; Oct 14: Entry into Carmelite monastery of Cologne
1934 — April 15: Clothing ceremony as Sr Teresia Benedicta a Cruce
1935 — April 21: Temporary vows. Profession for three years.
1938 — April 21: Final vows; May 1: Ceremony of the veil; December 31: Transfer to Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands.
1934-1942 — Work on her most important books, Finite and Eternal Being, and The Science of the Cross, as well as many smaller writing projects
1942 — July 26: Pastoral letter condemning deportation of Jews was read from all pulpits in Dutch Catholic churches; August 2: Reprisal – arrest of all Catholics of Jewish descent, 300 in number, including Edith and Rosa Stein. Transfer to transit camp Amersfoort, then camp Westerbork; August 7: Deportation from Westerbork toward the East; August 9: Arrival in Auschwitz, gassing in Birkenau
1987 — May 1: Beatification of Edith Stein by Pope John Paul II in Cologne, Germany
1997 — April 8: Vatican announces that the pope has officially recognised the miraculous cure of Teresia Benedicta McCarthy, the final step required for canonisation of Edith Stein
1998 — October 11: Canonization of Edith Stein by Pope John Paul II in Rome
1999 — October 1: Pope John Paul II declares three new patronesses of Europe: St Bridget of Sweden, St Catherine of Siena, and St Edith Stein
2003 — Vatican releases a letter written by Edith Stein to Pope Pius XI in April 1933
The above chronology is taken from Teresia Renata Posselt, OCD, Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite, xvi-xviii.