Edith Stein (Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), Philosopher, Monastic, and Martyr 1942
Pour out your grace upon thy church, O God; that, like your servant Edith Stein, we may always seek what is true, defend what is right, reprove what is evil, and forgive those who sin against us, even as your Son commanded; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be all honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
Edith Stein (religious name Teresia Benedicta a Cruce OCD or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross; 12 October 1891 – 9 August 1942), was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun. She is canonized as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church.
She was born into an observant Jewish family, but was an atheist by her teenage years.
In April 1913 Stein arrived in Göttingen and, by the end of the summer she had decided to pursue her degree in philosophy under Edmund Husserl. Her studies were interrupted in July 1914 because of the outbreak of World War I. She then served as a volunteer wartime Red Cross nurse in an infectious diseases hospital at Märisch-Weisskirchen in 1915. In 1916, Stein moved with Hussrerl to Freiburg in order to complete her dissertation, entitled Zum Problem der Einfühlung (On the Problem of Empathy), which made her a doctor of philosophy, summa cum laude. Because she was a woman, Husserl did not support her submitting her habilitation thesis (a prerequisite for an academic chair) to the University of Freiburg in 1918.
From reading the works of the reformer of the Carmelite Order, Teresa of Ávila, she was drawn to the Catholic faith. She was baptized on 1 January 1922 into the Roman Catholic Church. At that point, she wanted to become a Discalced Carmelite nun, but was dissuaded by her spiritual mentors. She then taught at a Catholic school of education in Speyer. As a result of the requirement of an "Aryan certificate" for civil servants promulgated by the Nazi government in April 1933 as part of its Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, she had to quit her teaching position.
She was admitted to the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Cologne the following October. She received the religious habit of the Order as a novice in April 1934, taking the religious name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. In 1938, she and her sister Rosa, by then also a convert and a tertiary of the Order, were sent to the Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands, for their safety. Ultimately, she was not safe in the Netherlands. The Dutch Bishops' Conference had a public statement read in all the churches of the nation on 20 July 1942 condemning Nazi racism. In a retaliatory response on 26 July 1942 the Reichskommissar of the Netherlands, Arthur Seyss-Inquart ordered the arrest of all Jewish converts who had previously been spared. Along with two hundred and forty-three baptized Jews living in the Netherlands, Stein was arrested by the SS on 2 August 1942. On 7 August 1942, early in the morning, 987 Jews were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. It was probably on 9 August that Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, her sister, and many more of her people were killed in a mass gas chamber. *
* The Lectionary, via Wikipedia, http://www.satucket.com/lectionary/Edith_Strein.html