Edith Stein: Wikis

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Saint Teresia Benedicta of the Cross
Martyr
Born October 12, 1891(1891-10-12), Breslau, German Empire
Died August 9, 1942 (aged 50), Auschwitz concentration camp, Nazi-occupied Poland
Venerated in Roman Catholicism
Beatified May 1, 1987, Cologne, Germany by Pope John Paul II
Canonized October 11, 1998 by Pope John Paul II
Feast August 9
Attributes Yellow Star of David, flames, a book
Patronage Europe; loss of parents; martyrs; World Youth Day[1]

Saint Edith Stein (October 12, 1891 ‚Äď August 9, 1942) was a German-Jewish philosopher, nun, martyr, and saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Born into an observant Jewish family but an atheist by her teenage years, she converted to Christianity in 1922, was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church and was received into the Discalced Carmelite Order as a postulant in 1934. Although she moved from Germany to the Netherlands to avoid Nazi persecution, in 1942 she was arrested and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where she died in the gas chamber.

Edith Stein was canonized as Saint Teresia Benedicta of the Cross (her monastic name) by Pope John Paul II in 1998; however, she is often referred to as "Saint Edith Stein".

Contents

Life

Stein was born in Breslau (WrocŇāaw), in the German Empire's Prussian Province of Silesia, into an observant Jewish family. Born on October 12, 1891, Edith was a very gifted child who enjoyed learning. She greatly admired her mother's strong faith; however, by her teenage years Stein had become an atheist.

In 1916, she received a doctorate of philosophy from the University of G√∂ttingen, with a dissertation under Edmund Husserl, "Zum Problem der Einf√ľhlung" (On The Problem of Empathy). She then became a member of the faculty in Freiburg. In the previous year she had worked with Martin Heidegger in editing Husserl's papers for publication, Heidegger being appointed similarly as a teaching assistant to Husserl at Freiburg in October 1916. But she was rejected as a woman with further habilitational studies at the University of Freiburg [2]and failed to successfully reach in a habilitational study "Psychische Kausalit√§t" (Psychic Causality) at the University of G√∂ttingen in 1919.

Relief of Edith Stein

While Stein had earlier contacts with Catholicism, it was her reading of the autobiography of the mystic St. Teresa of √Āvila on a holiday in G√∂ttingen in 1921 that caused her conversion. Baptized on January 1, 1922, she gave up her assistantship with Husserl to teach at a Dominican girls' school in Speyer from 1922 to 1932. While there, she translated Thomas Aquinas' De Veritate (On Truth) into German and familiarized herself with Catholic philosophy in general and abandoned the phenomenology of her former teacher Husserl for Thomism. She visited Husserl and Heidegger at Freiburg in April 1929, in the same month that Heidegger gave a speech to Husserl (like Stein, a Jewish convert to Christianity) on his 70th birthday. In 1932 she became a lecturer at the Institute for Pedagogy at M√ľnster, but anti-Semitic legislation passed by the Nazi government forced her to resign the post in 1933: the same year in which her former colleague Martin Heidegger became Rector at Freiburg and stated that "The F√ľhrer, and he alone, is the present and future law of Germany." In a letter to Pope Pius XI, she denounced the Nazi regime and asked the Pope to openly denounce the regime "to put a stop to this abuse of Christ's name." [3]

Stein's letter received no answer, and it is not known for sure whether Pius XI. even read it.[4] However, in 1937, Pope Pius XI issued an Encyclical written in German, Mit brennender Sorge, in which he criticized Nazism, listed breaches of an agreement signed between Germany and the Church and condemned antisemitism.

She entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery St. Maria vom Frieden (Our Lady of Peace) at Cologne in 1933 and took the name Teresia Benedicta a cruce (Teresia Benedicta of the Cross). There she wrote her metaphysical book "Endliches und ewiges Sein," which tries to combine the philosophies of Aquinas and Husserl.

To avoid the growing Nazi threat, her order transferred Sr. Teresia Benedicta to the Carmelite monastery at Echt in the Netherlands. There she wrote Studie √ľber Joannes a Cruce: Kreuzeswissenschaft ("The Science of the Cross: Studies on John of the Cross"). Her Testament of June 6, 1939, states "I beg the Lord to take my life and my death ‚Ķ for all concerns of the sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary and the holy church, especially for the preservation of our holy order, in particular the Carmelite monasteries of Cologne and Echt, as atonement for the unbelief of the Jewish People and that the Lord will be received by his own people and his kingdom shall come in glory, for the salvation of Germany and the peace of the world, at last for my loved ones, living or dead, and for all God gave to me: that none of them shall go astray."

However, Sr. Teresia Benedicta was not safe in the Netherlands‚ÄĒthe Dutch Bishops' Conference had a public statement read in all the churches of the country on July 20, 1942, condemning Nazi racism. In a retaliatory response on July 26, 1942, the Reichskomissar of the Netherlands, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, ordered the arrest of all Jewish converts, who had previously been spared. Stein and her sister Rosa, also a convert, were captured and shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they were gassed on August 9, 1942 when Edith was 51.[5]

Legacy

Edith Stein and Maximilian Kolbe, stained glass by Alois Plum in Kassel.

Teresia Benedicta of the Cross was beatified as a martyr on May 1, 1987, in Cologne, Germany, by Pope John Paul II, and canonized by him on October 11, 1998. The miracle which was the basis for her canonization was the cure of Teresa Benedicta McCarthy, a little girl who had swallowed a large amount of paracetamol which causes hepatic necrosis in small children. Her father, Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, a Melkite Catholic, immediately rounded up relatives and prayed for Edith Stein's intercession.[6] Shortly thereafter the nurses in the intensive care unit saw her sit up completely healthy. Dr. Ronald Kleinman, a pediatric specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston who treated Teresa Benedicta, testified about her recovery to Church tribunals, stating "I was willing to say that it was miraculous."[6] Teresa Benedicta would later attend Sr. Teresia Benedicta's canonization ceremony in the Vatican.

Today, there are many schools named in tribute to Edith Stein, for example in Darmstadt, Germany,[7] Hengelo, the Netherlands,[8] and Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.[9] Also named for her are a women's dormitory at the University of T√ľbingen[10] and a classroom building at The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA.

The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre published a book in 2006 entitled, Edith Stein: A Philosophical Prologue, 1913-1922, in which he contrasted Stein's living out of her own personal philosophy with Martin Heidegger, whose actions during the Nazi era according to MacIntyre suggested a "bifurcation of personality."[11]

In 2009, her bust was introduced to the Walhalla temple near Regensburg.

Controversy

The Anti-Defamation League challenges the beatification of Edith Stein as a martyr, stating Stein was killed for her Jewish nationality rather than for her faith, and that the misappropriation and Christianization of an event that targeted Jews diminishes the memory of the Holocaust.

The position of the Catholic Church hierarchy is that Edith Stein also died because of the Dutch hierarchy's public condemnation of Nazi racism in 1942; in other words, that she died to uphold the moral position of the Church, and is thus a true martyr.[12] [13]

Writings

Memorial to Edith Stein in Prague
  • Life in a Jewish Family: Her Unfinished Autobiographical Account, translated by Josephine Koeppel, 1986
  • On the Problem of Empathy, Translated by Waltraut Stein 1989
  • Essays on Woman, translated by Freda Mary Oben, 1996
  • The Hidden Life, translated by Josephine Koeppel, 1993
  • The Science of the Cross, translated by Josephine Koeppel, 1998
  • Knowledge and Faith
  • Finite and Eternal Being: An Attempt to an Ascent to the Meaning of Being
  • Philosophy of Psychology and the Humanities, translated by Mary Catharine Baseheart and Marianne Sawicki, 2000
  • An Investigation Concerning the State, translated by Marianne Sawicki, 2006
  • Martin Heidegger's Existential Philosophy, translated by Mette Lebech, 2007
  • Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942
  • The Hidden Life

References

  1. ^ "Patron Saints Index: Saint Teresia Benedicta of the Cross" Accessed 26 January 2007.
  2. ^ http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_19981011_edith_stein_en.html
  3. ^
    “ As a child of the Jewish people who, by the grace of God, for the past eleven years has also been a child of the Catholic Church, I dare to speak to the Father of Christianity about that which oppresses millions of Germans. For weeks we have seen deeds perpetrated in Germany which mock any sense of justice and humanity, not to mention love of neighbor. For years the leaders of National Socialism have been preaching hatred of the Jews. But the responsibility must fall, after all, on those who brought them to this point and it also falls on those who keep silent in the face of such happenings.

    Everything that happened and continues to happen on a daily basis originates with a government that calls itself "Christian." For weeks not only Jews but also thousands of faithful Catholics in Germany, and, I believe, all over the world, have been waiting and hoping for the Church of Christ to raise its voice to put a stop to this abuse of Christ‚Äôs name." ‚ÄĒEdith Stein, Letter to Pope Pius XI.

    ‚ÄĚ
  4. ^ "This Europe: Letters reveal Auschwitz victim's plea to Pope Pius XI". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/this-europe-letters-reveal-auschwitz-victims-plea-to-pope-pius-xi-598301.html. Retrieved 2003-02-21. 
  5. ^ "Edith Stein". Internationaal College Edith Stein. http://www.edithsteincollege.nl/engels/edithe.htm. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  6. ^ a b "Jewish-born nun gassed by Nazis is declared saint; Prayer to Edith Stein sparked tot's 'miraculous' recovery". The Toronto Star: pp. A22. May 24, 1997. 
  7. ^ Edith-Stein-Schule
  8. ^ Hogeschool Edith Stein
  9. ^ St. Edith Stein Elementary School
  10. ^ Edith-Stein-Studentinnen-Wohnheim
  11. ^ [1] Alasdair MacIntyre, Edith Stein: A Philosophical Prologue, 1913-1922, Rowman and Littlefield, 2006, pg. 5
  12. ^ Canonization Homily
  13. ^ Biography on the Vatican's website

Intellectual and Spiritual Contemporaries of Note

See also

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The motive, principle, and end of the religious life is to make an absolute gift of self to God in a self-forgetting love, to end one's own life in order to make room for God's life.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891-10-12 - 1942-08-09), born Edith Stein, was a German Saint, philosopher, a Carmelite nun, and martyr who died at Auschwitz.

Contents

Sourced

We can consider the Savior's great commandment of love, which he says includes the whole Law and the Prophets, as the Law of the New Covenant.
  • What is meant by "the Law of the Lord"? Psalm 118 which we pray every Sunday and on solemnities at Prime, is entirely filled with the command to know the Law and to be led by it through life. The Psalmist was certainly thinking of the Law of the Old Covenant. Knowing it actually did require life-long study and fulfilling it, life-long exertion of the will. But the Lord has freed us from the yoke of this Law. We can consider the Savior's great commandment of love, which he says includes the whole Law and the Prophets, as the Law of the New Covenant. Perfect love of God and of neighbor can certainly be a subject worthy of an entire lifetime of meditation. But we understand the Law of the New Covenant, even better, to be the Lord himself, since he has in fact lived as an example for us of the life we should live. We thus fulfill our Rule when we hold the image of the Lord continually before our eyes in order to make ourselves like him. We can never finish studying the Gospels.

Essays on Woman (1996)

A Collection of St. Edith Stein's essays on women. Part of the series The Collected Works of Edith Stein, as translated by Freda Mary Oben.

The Ethos of Woman's Professions (1930)

Everything abstract is ultimately part of the concrete. Everything inanimate finally serves the living. That is why every activity dealing in abstraction stands in ultimate service to a living whole.
  • Only the person blinded by the passion of controversy could deny that woman in soul and body is formed for a particular purpose. The clear and irrevocable world of Scripture declares what daily experience teaches from the beginning of the world: woman is destined to be wife and mother.
  • Everything abstract is ultimately part of the concrete. Everything inanimate finally serves the living. That is why every activity dealing in abstraction stands in ultimate service to a living whole.
  • The motive, principle, and end of the religious life is to make an absolute gift of self to God in a self-forgetting love, to end one's own life in order to make room for God's life.
  • Every profession in which woman's soul comes into its own and which can be formed by woman's soul is an authentic woman's profession.
  • For a wholesome collaboration of the sexes in professional life will be possible only if both achieve a calm and objective awareness of their nature and draw practical conclusions from it.

The Separate Vocations of Man and Woman According to Nature and Grace (1932)

Christ embodies the ideal of human perfection: in Him all bias and defects are removed, and the masculine and feminine virtues are united and their weaknesses redeemed.
  • As woman was the first to be tempted, so did God's message of grace come first to a woman, and each time woman's assent determined the destiny of humanity as a whole.
  • The distinction of the female sex is that a woman was the person who was permitted to help establish God's new kingdom; the distinction of the male sex is that redemption came through the Son of Man, the new Adam.
  • Because the sin which she encouraged him to commit was in all likelihood a sin of sensuality, woman is more intensely exposed to the danger of descent into stark carnality. And when this happens, she always becomes once again the evil seductress, whereas, paradoxically, God has specifically enjoined her to combat evil.
  • If we consider the attitude of the Lord Himself, we understand that He accepted the free loving services of women for Himself and His Apostles and that women were among His disciples and most intimate confidants. Yet He did not grant them the priesthood, not even to His mother, Queen of Apostles, who was exalted above all humanity in human perfection and fullness of grace.
  • Christ embodies the ideal of human perfection: in Him all bias and defects are removed, and the masculine and feminine virtues are united and their weaknesses redeemed; therefore, His true followers will be progressively exalted over their natural limitations. That is why we see in holy men a tenderness and a truly maternal solicitude for the souls entrusted to them while in holy women there is manly boldness, proficiency, and determination.

Spirituality of the Christian Woman (1932)

Each woman who lives in the light of eternity can fulfill her vocation, no matter if it is in marriage, in a religious order, or in a worldly profession.
  • We are being obliged to consider the significance of woman and her existence as a problem. We cannot evade the question as to what we are and what we should be.
  • The deepest feminine yearning is to achieve a loving union which, in its development, validates this maturation and simultaneously stimulates and furthers the desire for perfection in others.
  • Woman's soul is present and lives more intensely in all parts of the body, and it is inwardly affected by that which happens to the body; whereas, with men, the body has more pronoucedly the character of an instrument which serves them in their work and which is accompanied by a certain detachment.
  • Each woman who lives in the light of eternity can fulfill her vocation, no matter if it is in marriage, in a religious order, or in a worldly profession.

Fundamental Principles of Women's Education (1931)

We can do nothing ourselves; God must do it.
  • The soul of woman must therefore be expansive and open to all human beings; it must be quiet so that no small weak flame will be extinguished by stormy winds; warm so as not to benumb fragile buds; clear, so that no vermin will settle in dark corners and recesses; self-contained, so that no invasions from without can imperil the inner life; empty of self, in order that extraneous life may have room in it; finally, mistress of itself and also of its body, so that the entire person is readily at the disposal of every call.
  • We can do nothing ourselves; God must do it. To speak to Him thus is easier by nature for woman than for man because a natural desire lives in her to give herself completely to someone.
  • The singular mission of the working woman is to fuse her feminine calling with her vocational calling and, by means of that fusion, to give a feminine quality to her vocational calling.

Problems of Women's Education (1932)

The imperturbability of the Church resideds in her ability to harmonize the unconditional preservation of eternal truths with an unmatchable elasticity of adjustment to the circumstances and challenges of changing times.
  • The spiritual nature of woman is as little considered as the principles of her historical development. Not only is violence being done to the spirit by a biological misinterpretation and by today's economic trends, but also by the materialistic and fundamental point of view of opposing groups.
It would be naive to disregard that the Church has a history; the Church is a human institution and like all things human, was destined to change and evolve...
  • The imperturbability of the Church resideds in her ability to harmonize the unconditional preservation of eternal truths with an unmatchable elasticity of adjustment to the circumstances and challenges of changing times.
  • Helene Lange throughout her life insisted that the dissimiliarity of the sexes must be emphasized in order that the feminine nature be freely developed and properly formed. Only then might this nature achieve its own cultural fulfillment, an achievement indeed necessary in our time as a suitable compensation for the obvious effects of our masculine Western culture; then feminine nature might be capable of authentic human formation and an activity of helping love.
  • The concept which assumes that everything in the Church is irrevocably set for all times appears to me to be a false one. It would be naive to disregard that the Church has a history; the Church is a human institution and like all things human, was destined to change and evolve; likewise, its development takes place often in the form of struggles. Most of the definitions of dogma are conclusive results of preceding intellectual conflicts lasting for decades and even centuries. The same is true of ecclesiastical law, liturgical forms ‚ÄĒ especially all objective forms reflecting our spiritual life.
  • I am convinced that the species humanity embraces the double species man and woman; that the essence of the complete human being is characterized by this duality; and that the entire structure of the essence demonstrates the specific character. There is a difference, not only in body structure and in particular physiological functions, but also in the entire corporeal life.
  • The relationship of soul and body is different in man and woman; the relationship of soul to body differs in their psychic life as well as that of the spiritual faculties to each other. The feminine species expresses a unity and wholeness of the toal psychosomatic personality and a harmonious development of faculties. The masculine species strives to enhance individual abilities in order that they may attain their highest achievements.
  • The true Christian is not obliged to renounce the things of this world or to lessen his natural abilities. On the contrary, inasmuch as he incorporates them into his normal life in a disciplined manner, he develops and perfects them; he thereby ennobles the natural life itself, supplying efficacious values to it not only of the spiritual and eternal world but also of the material and earthly world.
  • And who would deny the intellect and will of girls? That would be questioning their full humanity. On the average, abstract and mere intellectual activity is not suitable for them; they want to understand reality completely, and they want to comprehend not merely with the intellect but also with the heart.

The Significance of Woman's Intrinsic Value in National Life (1928)

  • To be a mother is to nourish and protect true humanity and bring it to development. But again, this necessitates that she possess true humanity herself, and that she is clear as to what it means; otherwise, she cannot lead others to it. One can become suitable for this double duty if one has the correct personal attitude.
  • Excess of interest in both her own and in the stranger‚Äôs personality merge in feminine surrender, the urge to lose herself completely in a human being; but in so doing, she does justice neither to self nor to the humanity of another, and, at the same time, becomes unfit for exercising other duties.
    Also connected to the false pursuit of prestige is a perverted desire for totality and inclusiveness, a mania to know everything and thereby to skim the surface of everything and to plunge deeply into nothing. However, such superficiality can never be true humanity.
  • The intrinsic value of woman consists essentially in exceptional receptivity for God's work in the soul, and this value comes to unalloyed development if we abandon ourselves confidently and unresistingly to this work.
  • The teacher thus needs a basic education in dogma and asceticism. Apologetics is certainly also good, but the former seems more important to me: ready arguments, as right as they may be, often do not have penetrating force. But she whose soul is formed through the truths of faith ‚ÄĒ and I call this ascetic formation ‚ÄĒ finds words which are proper for this human being and for this moment respectively.
  • Everywhere the need exists for maternal sympathy and help, and thus we are able to recapitulate in the one word motherliness that which we have developed as the characteristic value of woman. Only, the motherliness must be that which does not remain within the narrow circle of blood relations or of personal friends; but in accordance with the model of the Mother of Mercy, it must have its root in universal divine love for all who are there, belabored and burdened.

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