Image credit:  Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr 1891 – 1942

Image credit: Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Virgin and Martyr 1891 – 1942

She was born Edith Stein in 1891 in Poland to a family of practising Jews. She had become an agnostic by her teenage years.

She had a distinguished career as a philosopher and received a doctorate from the University of Freiburg.
After reading the autobiography of St Teresa of Avila she became a Catholic and was baptised in 1922.

She taught in a Catholic school and continued her academic studies which were interrupted by the anti-Semitic policies of the Nazis which were on the rise in Germany.

She became a Carmelite nun and to protect her from the Nazi regime her order moved her to the Netherlands.

Holland was occupied by the German army.

When the Dutch Catholic bishops put out a strongly worded letter which was read in all the churches condemning the actions of the Nazi regime the Germans retaliated.

Not only did they transport all the Jews they also transported all Jewish converts to Catholicism.

Edith, now Sister Benedicta of the Cross, was one of those transported to Auschwitz.

Survivors record that she assisted with great compassion many of the prisoners in that concentration camp.

It is there she died.

Edith questioned as we all do.

She persisted in her quest for meaning.

In her search, she discovered Faith again this time as a Catholic.

She also had great skills in nursing and the academics surrounding nursing.

Her quest for knowledge was lifelong. She is still a respected philosopher.

She combined Faith, the pursuit of knowledge, compassion and great courage.

There is much that we can learn from her.


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