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Saint Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein)
Saint Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein)

Saint Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein)

Feast Day
Aug 09, 2013
Loss of Parents, Converted Jews, Martyrs, World Youth Days
<p>St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was born Edith Stein on October 12, 1891, and died on August 9<sup>th</sup>, 1942.&nbsp; She was born in Germany into an observant Jewish family. She was gifted, enjoyed learning, and admired her mother&rsquo;s strong faith.&nbsp; However, by her teenage years she had become an atheist.&nbsp;</p> <p>At the age of twenty-five, Stein received a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Gottingen.&nbsp; She then became a member of the faculty.&nbsp; While Stein had earlier contacts with Catholicism, it was her reading the autobiography of the mystic St. Teresa of Avila that caused her conversion.&nbsp; She was baptized in 1922, and began to teach at the Dominican Nuns schools in Speyer.&nbsp; While there, the Nazi government forced her to resign her post in 1933.&nbsp; She wrote a letter to Pope Pius XI asking him to &ldquo;Put a stop to this abuse in Christ&rsquo;s name&rdquo; &ndash; as she wanted the Nazi regime stopped.&nbsp;</p> <p>Stein&rsquo;s letter received no answer, and it is not known for sure whether Pius XI ever even read it.&nbsp; However, in 1937 he issued an encyclical written in German in which he criticized Nazism, and condemned anti-Semitism.&nbsp;</p> <p>She entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery at Cologne in 1933 and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.&nbsp; In order to avoid the growing nazi threat, she was transferred to the Carmelite monastery in the Netherlands.&nbsp; Even so, Stein was not safe in the Netherlands.&nbsp; In 1942 the Dutch Bishop&rsquo;s Conference had a public statement read in al the churches of the country condemning Nazi racism.&nbsp; This upset the powers in charge, and they ordered the arrest of all Jewish converts, who had previously been spared. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Stein and her sister Rosa, also a convert, were captured and shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they are presumed to have been gassed on August 9, 1942.&nbsp; Edith Stein was 50 years old.&nbsp; She was beatified as a martyr in 1987 by Pope John Paul II, and then canonized by him eleven years later in 1998.&nbsp; Today there are many schools named in tribute of St. Teresa Benedicta in Germany, Netherlands, and in Canada.&nbsp; She is also sometimes known as St. Edith Stein.&nbsp;</p> <h1><span style="font-size: medium;">Practical Take Away</span></h1> <p>St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as Edith Stein, shows us becoming a great saint of our Church is possible today.&nbsp; She was a Jewish girl who converted to Catholisicsm in 1922, and eventually was martyred at Auschwitz Concentration Camp because of her faith.&nbsp; She knew the dangers and could have been sent anywhere to preserve her life as a Sister, but she went to her death with dignity.&nbsp; Her life shows us how one can go from being Jewish to an athiest, to a conversion of becoming Catholic.&nbsp; She shows us the path to conversion, and was martyred at the age of 50.&nbsp; Saints being martyred for their faith was not something that just happened centuries ago, but also in recent years.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p>