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Who is Saint Edith Stein, Martyr of Auschwitz?
Saint Edith Stein

Saint, Carmelite Sister, Convert from Judaism, Author, Philosopher, Scholar, Humanitarian.

[The following is from the life of Edith Stein, from Bob and Penny Lord's book, "Martyrs - They died for Christ)Saint Edith Stein Martyr of Auschwitz

            Saint Edith Stein was born in Poland on October 12, 1891.  Her parent were Jewish.  She was a brilliant student.  When she turned seventeen, she entered a Girl's High School in Breslau.  At the same time, in another part of Germany, another teenager - Adolph Hitler was failing an entrance exam to the Academy of Arts and already blaming it all on the Jews.  Two teenagers - one a Saint and the other damned to Hell for all eternity.

            God placed her (Edith) among Jewish intellectuals who had become Christians.  Although she considered herself an atheist, she found herself seeking truth, and she later wrote that anyone seeking truth is in reality longing to find God, whether he knows it or not. 

            Meanwhile, Hitler in 1919 was writing, in his first manifesto: Because of the crimes the Jews had committed, they were to be removed from their midst.  [On January 20, 1942, in Berlin there was a conference attended by high ranking officials of the Third Reich.  It was decided 11,000,000 Jews were to be exterminated.]

            Most of her friends had converted to the Lutheran Faith, and it is believed what held her up from converting was, she really did not know which Church she should join.  When she read Saint Teresa of Avila's autobiography, she said that she knew this was the truth, that the Catholic Church contained the Truth, our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself.  Edith walked the difficult path between her loyalty to her mother and Judaism, and her growing awareness of this God Who was growing inside her.  January 1, 1922, Edith Stein was baptized. 

            January 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler became Reich Chancellor of Germany.  Edith Stein could have fled from Germany, as many German Jews had.  Instead, she chose to go to the Cross for her people.  She had spoken to her Savior and told Him that she recognized it was His Cross that the Jewish people were being made to carry.  She wrote:"Those who understand must accept it with all their heart, for those who do not understand." 

            On the Feast Day of Saint Teresa of Avila, October 14, 1933, Edith Stein entered the Carmel in Cologne.  She took the Religious name "Teresa Benedicta a Cruce", Teresa Blessed by the Cross.  She shared with her Spiritual Director that she chose the name because it represented the one who had led her into the Church and the Carmel, Saint Teresa, and the role that she chose: to her Lord through the Cross.  She offered up her life for not only the persecuted (the Jews) but the persecutors (the Nazis).  She felt that if she did not pray and offer her life for the immortal souls of the Nazis, and for the remission of their sins, as the Savior had done for all mankind, who would? 

            Saint Edith Stein took her first vows in 1935.  When asked how she felt, she replied "Like the Bride of the Lamb". The Nazis marched into the Rhineland, and with them Hell!

            1936 was to be a year of pain and joy.  When her mother died of cancer, and Edith could not be with her, she thought surely she too would die.  Not even the joy of celebrating the Feast Day of the Exaltation of the Cross and her renewing her vows, could stop the ache in  her heart.  Her sister Rosa was baptized that Christmas. 

            As Hitler and his forces of destruction spread to Austria in March of 1938 and on to the Sudetenland in September, Edith Stein was taking her final vows.  In April of 1938, when she stood before the altar of God and her whole community, she abandoned herself totally to our Lord through His Mother. 

            Often SSaint Edith Stein minibookaint Edith Stein was spotted praying before the picture of Our Lady of Sorrows.  It was not that she was praying for suffering.  We believe that she knew that one day she was to walk that Way of the Cross with Mother Mary and her Son.  She believed that only by standing with Mother Mary at the foot of the Cross, your eyes on the Crucified, can you win souls for Jesus.  

Would you like to know more about Saint Edith Stein?

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