Our Patron Saint

Feast Day: August 9

Saint Edith Stein was born on Yom Kippur, October 12, 1891. She was the 11th child in a devout Jewish family. As a young child, Edith's family lived across the street from a Roman Catholic church. She would listen on Sundays as the bells would toll and she watched the people as they went to Mass. When Edith was a teenager, she became an atheist. She went on to college and became a professor and teacher of philosophy. She achieved remarkable success in her field; she was a profound "thinker" and she was always searching for answers.

A turning point in her life is when she picked up a book about St. Teresa of Avila. Edith was always searching for "truth" and she found it in the Roman Catholic Church. Edith was baptized at 30 years old in the Cathedral Church in Cologne, Germany. At 42, she took the name Sister Teresa Benedicta the Cross. Eventually, she was moved to Holland for safety during World War II; however, she was captured and sent to the gas chambers of Auschwitz when she was 51 years old. At St. Edith Stein, we often recall the words that she left behind for her Mother Superior that were scribbled on a scrap of paper and thrown from the train to Auschwitz: "Ave Cruz, Spec Unica" which translates to "Hail Cross, Our Only Hope."  Pope John Paul II beatified Teresa Benedicta in 1987 and canonized her in 1998.

Quote from Pope John Paul II at her canonization:

“Because she was Jewish, Edith Stein was taken with her sister Rosa and many other Catholics and Jews from the Netherlands to the concentration camp in Auschwitz, where she died with them in the gas chambers. Today we remember them all with deep respect. A few days before her deportation, the woman religious had dismissed the question about a possible rescue: ‘Do not do it! Why should I be spared? Is it not right that I should gain no advantage from my Baptism? If I cannot share the lot of my brothers and sisters, my life, in a certain sense, is destroyed.’”

Addressing himself to the young people gathered for the canonization, the pope said: “Your life is not an endless series of open doors! Listen to your heart! Do not stay on the surface but go to the heart of things! And when the time is right, have the courage to decide! The Lord is waiting for you to put your freedom in his good hands.”

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