Saint Edith Stein
St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross
By Debbie Thompson

Edith Stein, also known as St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, was born in Breslau to a Jewish family on
Oct 12, 1891. She was the youngest of eleven children in a devout Jewish family. By her teenage years, she no longer practiced her Jewish faith and considered herself an atheist. She also became one of the first women to be admitted to University Studies in Germany. Stein's philosophical studies encouraged her openness to the possibility of transcendent realities, and her atheism began to crumble under the influence of her friends who had converted to Christianity. Through her passionate study of philosophy she searched often for the truth and found it in reading the autobiography of St. Theresa of Jesus. In 1922, she was baptized a Catholic and eventually became a leading voice in the Catholic Woman's Movement in Germany.

In 1933, Hitler rose to power, and Stein became well-known in the German academic community. She urged a group of Catholic women to fight for these very truths: "Perhaps the moment has almost come for the Catholic woman to stand with Mary and with the Church under the cross." By this time, Hitler placed pressure on the Jewish people which prompted her to request an audience with the pope. In the fall of 1933 she entered Carmel of Cologne where she took the name St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross.

After the terror of Kristallnacht in 1938, the nuns in Cologne feared for St. Theresa Benedicta of the
Cross's safety so they secretly transferred her several times. Before one of her transfer's to Switzerland could be finalized the Gestapo started rounding up all Roman Catholic Jews to be sent to the death camps in which she was one of them.  In 1942, during the Nazi persecution she died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel.

St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross left behind her writings which were notable for their doctrinal
richness and profound spirituality. On May 1, 1987 she was beautified by Pope John Paul II at Cologne.

Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death to the covenant of
love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

If you would like to write Debbie Thompson, she welcomes your comments:
email:Debbie Thompson

If you would like to write Medjugorje USA