Thursday, August 9, 2018

Edith Stein, August 9, 1942

On August 9, 1942, Edith Stein, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite nun, was killed in a gas chamber of the German II-Birkenau camp.

Born on the 12 of October, 1891, Edith Stein was a German Jew from Wroclaw, doctor of philosophy specializing in phenomenology. A teacher of the girls' colleges in Speyer and later in Munster. She converted to Christianity in 1922 and joined the Carmelite convent in Cologne in 1933. With the attacks on the Jews intensifying in Germany, Sr. Teresa Benedicta was moved to the Carmelite convent in Echt in the Netherlands. There she studied the works of St. John of the Cross. In 1942, after the protests of the Roman Catholic Church against the persecution of Jewish citizens in the Netherlands, the German occupying powers ordered detaining Catholic clergy of Jewish origin. Edith Stein was arrested on August 2, 1942, and taken to Amersdoort and later to Westerbork. A few days later 987 Jews from Westerbork were sent to Auschwitz. This transport included Edith Stein and her older sister, Rosa Stein. After a selection on the ramp in Birkenau, both were sent to the gas chamber where they were killed, probably on August 9, 1942.

Pope John Paul II beatified Edith Stein in 1987, and canonized her in 1988. A year later the nun became one of 6 patron saints of Europe.

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