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St. Edith Stein

Edith Stein was born in Breslau, Germany on October 12, 1891. Raised in a devout Jewish family Edith lost faith in a personal God in her early teens, but she began a long search for truth. She studied philology, earned her doctorate in philosophy and became an assistant to Professor Husserl the founder of phenomenology. She was drawn to the faith of Catholic friends and was converted by reading the biography of St. Teresa of Avila. After being baptized in 1921, Edith continued teaching and writing, becoming well-known as a professor. When the Nazis forbid people of Jewish descent to teach, Edith entered the Carmelite convent at Cologne-Lindenthal in 1933, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She continued to write brilliantly on spiritual topics, but the Nazi threat was closing in. In 1938, fearing she might endanger the other sisters by her presence, she escaped to a convent in Holland. The Nazis arrested her in August 1942, in reprisal against the Dutch bishops’ protest of the treatment of the Jews. She died in the gas chamber at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942. John Paul II canonized Edith Stein on October 11, 1998. Her writings are widely-available and well-worth reading. Her feast is August 9.

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