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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Edith Stein - Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross - August 9

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
Edith Stein
August 9

Whoever seeks the truth is seeking God,
whether consciously or unconsciously
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Today is the feast day of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was born of Jewish parents on the feast of Yom Kippur (The Feast of Atonement) in 1891 and named Edith Stein. As a seeker of truth, she studied at German universities and became an influential philosopher. She converted to Catholicism and was baptized on January 1, 1922 on the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus, when Jesus entered into the covenant of Abraham.

In 1932 she accepted a lectureship position at the University of Munster. By 1933, the Aryan Law of the Nazis made it impossible for her to continue teaching in Germany. She wrote, “If I can’t go on here, then there are no longer any opportunities for me in Germany, I have become a stranger in the world.”

Edith Stein entered the Discalced Carmelites in 1933 and took the name Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. As anti-Semitism continued to rise in Germany, the prioress of Sister Teresa’s Carmelite Convent in Cologne was able to smuggle her across into the Netherlands to the Carmelite Convent in Limburg Province. It was here that Sister Teresa Benedicta wrote in her will on June 9, 1939, "Even now I accept the death that God has prepared for me in complete submission and with joy as being his most holy will for me. I ask the Lord to accept my life and my death ... so that the Lord will be accepted by His people and that His Kingdom may come in glory, for the salvation of Germany and the peace of the world."

On August 2nd  1942, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, along with her sister Rosa who had also converted, was arrested by the Gestapo. Along with other Catholics of Jewish decent, they were transferred by cattle train to Westerbork, then on August 7th they were transported to Auschwitz where they were murdered August 9th in the Nazi gas chamber.

On May 1, 1987, Pope John Paul II beatified Edith Stein stating, “The Church honored a daughter of Israel, who as a Catholic during Nazi persecution, remained faithful to the crucified Lord Jesus Christ and as a Jew, to her people in loving faithfulness. He canonized her October 11, 1998. Pope John Paul II would receive his beatification 24 years later on May 1.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Pray for Us
Blessed John Paul II, Pray for Us


  1. Hi,

    ( Yom Kippur and Tisha B'av )

    St Teresa Benedicta of The Cross was born on August 12, 1891. According to the Jewish Calendar that day was Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year in Judaism.

    Today as we remember St Teresa Benedicta of The Cross on August 9, 2011, this day falls on Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish Calendar.

    For it was on Tisha B.Av that both Holy Temples were destroyed on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem Israel. The first one by the Babylonians and the second one by the Romans.

    This duel connection of dates to St Teresa Benedicta of The Cross is like being at one end of the universe and being at the opposite end of the universe at the same time. If that were possible.

    St Teresa Benedicta of The Cross once said, “To be a child of God, means to walk hand in hand with God, to do God’s will, to put all worries and all hopes in God’s hands. God is in us, and we in Him, that is our portion in the divine realm for which the Incarnation laid the foundation.”


  2. Hi: Thank you for this wonderful information, I am grateful to you. Being a Gentile I have so much to learn. I looked up Tisha B’Av on Judaism 101 and indeed August 9, 2011 was Tsha B’Av.

    I am constantly in awe of the greatness of our Lord and how He is in control of all things great and small, giving meaning to everything, and bringing good out of bad for His glory, and touching us through the life of His Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and her connection to Yom Kippur and Tsha B’Av.

    Again thank you for this post it is my reminder today that God is with us always, his loving hands constantly guiding us in good times and in bad, in Holy times and in sorrowful times, always until the end of time. Thanks be to God.

    Blessings and much Peace to you