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Edith Stein

From Academic Kids

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
Martyr
Born October 12, 1891, Breslau, Germany
Died August 9, 1942, Auschwitz concentration camp, Poland
Venerated in Roman Catholic Church
Beatified May 1, 1987, Cologne, Germany
Canonized October 11, 1998
Feast August 9
Attribute Yellow Star of David
Patronage Europe; orphans, martyrs

Edith Stein (October 12, 1891 - August 9, 1942), known after her reception into the Carmelite Order as Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and canonized under the latter name in 1998, was a philosopher, feminist, Carmelite nun, and martyr who died at Auschwitz.

Stein was born in Breslau (Wroclaw), Silesia (then in Germany), into an Orthodox Jewish family. In 1904 she renounced that faith and became an atheist. At the University of Gttingen, she became a student of Edmund Husserl, whom she followed to the University of Freiburg as his assistant. In 1916, she received her doctorate of philosophy there with a dissertation under Husserl, "On The Problem of Empathy". She then became a member of the faculty in Freiburg.

While she had earlier contacts with Roman Catholicism, it was her reading the autobiography of the mystic St. Theresa of Avila on a holiday in 1921 that caused her conversion. Baptized on January 1, 1922, she gave up her assistantship with Husserl to teach at a Dominican girls' school in Speyer (1922-1932). While there she translated into German Thomas Aquinas' De veritate (On Truth) and familiarized herself with Roman Catholic philosophy in general. In 1932 she became a lecturer at the Institute for Pedagogy at Mnster, but anti-Semitic legislation passed by the Nazi government forced her to resign the post in 1933.

She entered the Carmelite convent at Cologne in 1934 and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. There she wrote her metaphysical book Endliches und ewiges Sein which tries to combine the philosophies of Aquinas and Husserl.

To avoid the growing Nazi threat, her order transferred her to the Carmelite convent at Echt in the Netherlands. There she wrote Studie über Joannes a Cruce: Kreuzeswissenschaft ("The Science of the Cross: Studies on John of the Cross").

However, she was not safe in the Netherlands—the Dutch Bishops' Conference had a public statement read in all the churches of the country on July 20, 1942, condemning Nazi racism. In response, on July 26, 1942 Adolf Hitler ordered the arrest of Jewish converts (who had previously been spared) there. Edith and her sister Rosa, also a convert, were captured and shipped to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they died in the gas chambers on August 9, 1942.

Today, there is a school to tribute Edith Stein in Darmstadt, Germany. [1] (http://www.ess-darmstadt.de)

Some Jewish groups, including the Simon Wiesenthal Centre have challenged the beatification of Edith Stein. As they point out, a martyr is, according to Catholic doctrine, someone who died for his or her religion; whether Stein was killed for her Jewish ethnicity, her faith or both is open to debate. Detractors go on to suggest that Stein's memory is being used in a ploy to draw attention away from the Church's indifference to the Holocaust by subtly suggesting that Catholics suffered as harshly as the Jews did under the reign of the Nazis. The position of the Catholic Church in this matter is that Edith Stein also died because of the Church's condemnation of the Nazi racism in 1942.

See also

de:Edith Stein id:Edith Stein ja:エーディト・シュタイン pl:Edith Stein ru:Штайн, Эдит

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