Uploaded by srtmcmc

St Edith Stein: A Life seeking for truth

1. Early Years in a Jewish Background
1.1. Childhood experiences
1.2. Stopping classroom learning and prayer
1.3. Re-starting school study
1.4. Search for Truth
1.4.1. At the Academic level
1.4.2. Searching from the experience of others
1.4.3. Searching truth from Criticisms
2. Conversion experience
2.1. Encountering with the Truth
2.2. Embracing the Revealed Truth in the Catholic Church
2.3. Bearing witness to truth as a Teacher and Philosopher
2.4. Ordering her intellectual conceptions under the light of revealed Truth
3. Edith a model for the Christians
3.1. A model in the family
3.2. A model of quick response to the needs of time
3.3. A model at St Magdalena’s school
3.4. A model as a Catholic speaker
3.5. A model for prayer
3.6. A model for obedience
4. Entering to Carmel: An encounter with the Truth face to face
5. Entering to Gas chamber in the union with the Truth
“You will know the truth and the truth will make you free” (Jn 8,32). In the history,
only Jesus of Nazareth could say that “I am the way, and the Truth and the Life” (Jn
14,6). He himself assured that “Search, and you will find” (Mt 7,7). Edith Stein, being
born in a Jewish family, was a woman of searching, searching to begin anew as she
mastered the art of beginning1. Her life is a witness of searching and beginning. From
the given gifts of Jewish background, she sought for truth regarding all the realities of
life started with the meaning of being a person. She had made use of all her talents both
reason and faith. So, she could be a good philosopher and also a great mystic and saint.
She is a model for all men and women who search for truth whatever may their religion
or faith. As she encountered the truth in various situations of life, she was open to it.
She abandoned herself to be led and formed by it as she wrote “basically it is always a
small, simple truth that I have to express: How to go about living at the Lord’s hand” 2.
She conveyed the truth that she encountered in her lectures, writings and also in the
challenges of her everyday life in the sorrows and joys. She searched it not only in the
books but also in the daily human experiences of her own and every one she came
across. She says “All who seek truth seek God, whether this is clear to them or not”3.
1. Early Years in a Jewish Background
Edith Stein was born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Breslau, Germany on 12
October 1891 as the last of eleven children of Siegfried, her father who died when she
was not yet two and Frau Auguste Stein, her mother. Being born on the Jewish festival
of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, she was reminded often by her mother the
powerful significance of this day as she writes: “She laid great stress on my being born
on the day of Atonement”4. She was dear to her mother because of this reason “I believe
this contributed more than anything else to her youngest’s being especially dear to
her”5. Instead of celebrating her birthday on 12 October her mother celebrated it on the
Day of Atonement. Such an importance they have given to the Jewish liturgical
calendar6. They celebrated Jewish feasts and observed their religious responsibilities.
Her mother was a model for her in matters of faith in God: “on one occasion later, after
I had lost my childhood’s faith, she said to me, giving what she likewise considered a
proof of God’s existence: After all, I can’t imagine that I owe everything l’ve achieved
to my own ability”7.
1.1. Childhood experiences
Edith was an extremely bright and strong-willed child. From childhood onwards she
was convinced that she would have a great future, it is mainly because of the importance
of her birthday on the Day of Atonement. “In my dreams I always foresaw a brilliant
Cf. D.M. TRAFLET, Saint Edith Stein: A Spiritual Portrait, 1. (Hereafter using Spiritual Portrait).
E. STEIN, Life in a Jewish family: her unfinished autobiographical account, 74. (Hereafter using
Letter no. 259, to Sr. Adelgundis Jaegerschmid, in Self Portrait in Letters 1916-1942. (Hereafter
using Letter)
Life, 72.
Ibid., 72.
Ibid., 72.
Ibid., 60.
future for myself. I dreamed about happiness and fame for I was convinced that I was
destined for something great”8. She was lively, interesting and even entertaining yet at
times prone to outburst9. Her relatives observed a tantrums nature in her behavior but
she had a hidden inner world, where she pondered on the things that she saw, heard and
experienced throughout the days. The pain, sufferings, bad habits and illness of people
around her caused her inner turmoil. She was talented to sense other’s problems as she
had an extremely sensitive nature. She tried to seek the truth, truth of human being.
From childhood itself she was serious about the daily experiences of people around her,
both her relatives and also neighbors. It was enough to hear about a murder10 or a
suicide11 or to see a drunkard to lose her sleep: “the sight of a drunkard could haunt and
plague me for days and nights on end”12. This shows her very nature of search, search
for reality, a search for truth in the day-to-day life. Being talented with the habit of wide
reading she was able to talk about a broad range of topics. She was a responsible child
that she could abstain from anything that take off her freedom of spirit and human
1.2. Stopping classroom learning and prayer
Her teenage witnessed number of changes in her life. Among these two important are
leaving school study and religious practices. As all other teenagers, young Edith too
started question about the meaning of life, deep thinking about the various phases of
life. Capable of participating in weighty conversations, quoting great authors and poets
she moved easily in the world of adults. At her midteens she could converse about
history, literature, poetry, politics etc. and she was no longer interested in classroom
learning. She craved for independence14 and decided to leave school for she faced
discrimination at the school as a Jewish student and also the school system had changed
which demanded new requirement for the school curriculum of two more years for her
graduation. She was disappointed and discouraged. She asked permission of her mother
to leave school. Mother allowed her to do so if she wills, for mother sent her to school
when she wanted to go15. She did not simply stop school though she was desperate with
her school system rather her kindness and compassion moved her heart to people who
suffer and to ponder deeper questions regarding life that the school curriculum did not
address. Thus, she left school and went to Hamburg where her sister Else and family
settled and decided to help them by caring their children. Life at Hamburg changed her
views and life. She deliberately decided to stop praying and practicing religion16. She
declared herself an atheist at the age fifteen or sixteen17. Yet she continued to
experience spiritual confusion and emptiness.
Life, 77.
Ibid., 75.
Ibid., 74.
Ibid., 82.
Ibid., 74.
Ibid., 74.
Ibid., 138.
Ibid., 139.
Ibid., 148.
M.F. ANDREWS, «FAITH AND PHENOMENON: Edith Stein on the Paradox of Prayer ».
1.3. Re-starting school study
Edith stopped school when she found no more meaning to sit on a school bunch for
long time. And also she had an advanced knowledge than her age. Returned from
Hamburg Edith helped her sister, Erna in her study. Sharing in her study she thought to
go for higher studies for herself. When she found it is meaningful to start school and
there is something more to study, at her own decision she started it again. Thus, with the
help of a cousin she could recuperate all the missed material of three years with a short
period of time18.
Abandoned the faith, she tried to find out truth through her natural powers, reason.
When it came the decisive moment to take a decision for her higher studies, her family
members and relatives put in front of her very many options. Yet she was firm with her
decision that is to study philosophy.
I could not act unless I had an inner compulsion to do so. My decisions arose out of a depth
that was unknown even to myself. Once a matter was bathed in the full light of
consciousness and had acquired a definite form in my thoughts, I was no longer to be
deterred by anything; indeed, I found it an intriguing kind of sport to overcome hindrances
which were apparently insurmountable19.
1.4. Search for Truth
From childhood onwards she foresaw a brilliant future for herself and she had a
naïve conviction that she was perfect. Both convictions and criticism led her to be true
to herself and pursued the path to the truth. She explained about the first great
transformation in her life at the age of seven that was out of reason assumed command
within her20. When she was convinced that her mother and her sister Frieda had a better
knowledge of what was good for her than she had, she was ready to obey them. For any
kind of naughtiness or imprudent answer, she quickly sought forgiveness though it so
cost her. She was not ready to lose her dignity for her angry outbursts. So early in life
she arrived at such a degree of self-mastery.
1.4.1. At the Academic level
Her search for truth continues as she moves forward in the field of philosophy.
Starting “On the problem of Empathy” in her doctrinal research, Edith could do original
contributions. Her writings cover a broad range of topics such as the individual and the
community, the state, women’s issues, commonalities and differences between
Thomistic philosophy and phenomenology, ontology, the Trinity to name a few. She
dealt with history, politics, literature, psychology, philosophy etc. All her studies were
oriented to bring forth truth. She had an eminent capacity to relate, discuss and cooperate with others in the different situations of life and also at ideological realms. Even
though she did not find any way that leads to God in the beginning, slowly ways were
opened in front of her to lead her to God, the everlasting Truth. She says: “for the time
being, I did not embark on a systematic investigation of faith: I was far too busy with
other matters”21.
Life, 153.
Ibid., 152.
Ibid., 195.
Life, 260-261.
1.4.2. Searching from the experience of others
Though she stopped praying the questions regarding faith remained unarticulated.
Once she asked a friend if he believed in a personal God. It was evident that at the
bottom of her heart and mind a quench for faith in a personal God was still alive. Her
capacity to observe other’s faith experiences and life witnesses made her more confused
and she kept her struggle a secret. As we have seen, though she neglected prayer in her
personal life at her midteens, during her higher studies she was wondered and touched
by the prayer and faith convictions of others in their daily and tragic situations of life.
She explained in her autobiography the funeral service of her cousin Walter when she
was nineteen. Edith was deeply touched by the faith expression of the young Christian
widow who knelt down at the grave and prayed the Lord’s prayer aloud with her grief22.
Seeing a woman with a market basket kneeling in a quiet empty church to pray as if
there is someone who attends her, Edith started to ponder over the great significance of
faith and prayer. Found a good friend and an angel in Adolf Reinach in the distress
moments of her life, Edith was raised further to the realm of faith in her dealings with
Anna, widow of Reinach, who was strong and full of hope after the unexpected death of
Adolf. Living in the Catholic friends’ circle, she observed their inner joy, intimate and
inner relationship with God. Daily events, persons, frustrations, depressions etc.
everything paved the way to faith without her assent. More than returning to Jewish
faith she could recognize the fullness of truth revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
1.4.3. Searching truth from Criticisms
At home hardly anyone dared to criticize her, friends showed her only affection and
admiration. Thus, with a high self-esteem she dared to make remarks about everything
that she found negative. She considered it her privilege to point out other person’s
weakness, mistakes, or faults of which she became aware, with a ridiculing tone of
voice. Once on a farewell occasion, one of her classmates made a comment on her
critical nature. Instead getting angry with him, it caused her a deep reflection about her
own harsh judgments. It made a tremendous change in her life. Things made her to be
humble. Edith took her friend’s words to heart. She blamed her inflated view of herself
on “ethical idealism”, typical of those “without any faith”. Because one is enthused
about what is good, one believes oneself to be good23. She became alert in her words
and its tone. She disciplined her spirit so that she lacks the impulse to criticize and
reject; rather, she is open to truth wherever it is to be found24.
2. Conversion experience
Many things paved the way to faith again. As she observed many of her friends and
co-workers in their faith living, she could experience their inner joy and peace. As we
have seen she was deeply moved by Anna Reinach, a woman carrying a market basket
praying at Frankfurt Cathedral, Christian widow of her cousin, lectures of the
philosopher Max Scheler, quite full of Catholic ideas especially on the topic of faith and
holiness, Spiritual exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola etc.
Ibid., 183.
Ibid., 195.
K. HANEY, Listening to Edith Stein: Wisdom for a new century, 18.
the saint
2.1. Encountering with the Truth
A visit to her friend in the year 1921 completed her way back to faith where she
found the Autobiography of St Teresa of Avila in the library and read the entire book
quickly overnight. At the end of reading, she exclaimed “This is the Truth”. Thus, she
entered not to the same Jewish faith but to the fulfillment of it, the faith in the Christ, an
encounter with the Messiah, the world of Christian faith. Edith’s quick response to the
truth is revealed in her further actions. Immediately after the encounter with the truth,
she bought a prayer book and a catechism. She studied both thoroughly and met the
local parish priest and asked to be baptized. Though the parish priest was reluctant to do
so, he tested her at her own request and was convinced about her genuine desire.
2.2. Embracing the Revealed Truth in the Catholic Church
1 January 1922 was not simply a new year for Edith but the beginning a new life in
Christ as she was baptized in the Catholic Church. Being a Catholic faithful, she desired
to live apart from secular society:
Immediately before, and for a good while after my conversion, I was of the opinion that to
lead a religious life meant one had to give up all that was secular and to live totally
immersed in thoughts of the Divine. But gradually I realized that something else is asked of
us in this world and that, even in the contemplative life, one may not sever the connection
with the world. I even believe that the deeper one is drawn into God, the more one must “go
out of oneself”; that is, one must go to the world in order to carry the divine life into it25.
After the model of St Teresa of Avila, she wanted immediately to join the Discalced
Carmelites. But at the advice of her spiritual director Fr Joseph Schwind, she was ready
to share her talents with the world, in writing, teaching and lecturing. With his
assistance she secured a position at St. Magdalen’s school for girls in Speyer as a
teacher and a mentor of young women.
2.3. Bearing witness to truth as a Teacher and Philosopher
Teaching at St. Magdalen’s school, run by the Dominican sisters, was a help to grow
in her relationship with Christ for she lived with the sisters and joined them in their
daily prayer. Also there she could do many things, she translated the letters of John
Henry Cardinal Newman from English to German and St Thomas’ work Disputed
Questions on Truth from Latin into German. These helped her to be acquainted with the
Christian philosophy and teachings. Yet more she realized that even her academic work
could glorify God: “That it is possible to worship God by doing scholarly research is
something I learned, actually, only when I was busy with [the translation of] St. Thomas
[Aquinas’ Quaestiones de Veritate from Latin into German]... Only thereafter could I
decide to resume serious scholarly research”26. Later in her life she confessed “The way
of faith gives us more than the way of philosophic knowledge. Faith reveals to us the
God of personal nearness, the loving and merciful God27”
Letter no. 45, to Sr Callista Kopf.
Spiritual Portrait, 34.
2.4. Ordering her intellectual conceptions under the light of revealed Truth
The acquaintance with the works of St Thomas Aquinas, John Henry Cardinal
Newman, St Augustine etc. and the teachings of the Catholic Church introduced her into
the world of Catholic understanding of divine mysteries. New identity as a Catholic
faithful with her baptism was evident in her very personality especially in her lectures,
teachings and writings. After conversion Edith could resume serious scholarly research
with the conviction that through these she can worship and glorify God28. She became a
well-known public speaker in many Catholic audiences. Slowly she could impress, as a
popular speaker on the topic of Christian spirituality, her young students, scholars,
priests, religious and lay men and women. She spoke particularly on the topic of
vocation of women. By the time she became esteemed as an expert on matters of faith 29.
As a teacher she could engage in lively conversation with her students, listening to their
problems and their dreams. She encouraged them on their unique journey. She tried her
best to give her students a moral foundation grounded in Christian virtue. She wrote on
topics such as women, Act and Potency and also an essay comparing the thought of
Husserl and St Thomas Aquinas.
3. Edith a model for the Christians
Being baptized on 1 January 1922, she bore witness to the Catholic faith and
remained in the secular world though she wished to join Carmel. Her spiritual director
reminded her that she is to contribute much to the secular world through her teaching,
lectures and writings. She obeyed him and she could influence her students, her catholic
audiences and readers. Young philosopher now turned to an authentic Catholic teacher,
confident yet humble. Her words and life were in harmony with the newly encountered
faith. She did not have any extraordinary vision or supernatural gifts, but she made use
of her God-given natural talents of mind and soul to search the truth and to lead others
to the same. She was a docile and courageous woman who learned to learn from the
experiences of life. She observed the persons and the world around her. There she could
sense the presence of a personal God, whom once she doubted and questioned, in the
life of others especially amidst the tragic situations of their life as a strengthening and
life-giving source.
Being a Christian, being a daughter of Catholic Church Edith hold on the opinion
that “Religion is not something to be relegated to a quiet corner or for a few festive
hours, but rather… it must be the root and basis of all life: and that, not merely for a few
chosen ones, but for every true Christian”30. She challenges those who are Christians for
name sake, Christians who do not know Christ and His cross. She invites all the
Christian faithful to be responsible and committed to their vocation.
3.1. A model in the family
Grown up in a Jewish family, soon after Baptism she did not cut off her relationship
with Jewish background or family. Rather she witnessed for the Catholic faith in her
Letter no. 45.
Spiritual Portrait, 50.
Letter no. 45.
family circle. Every day she attended Holy Eucharist even without making notice to her
family members especially her mother except her sister Rosa. At the beginning of her
life as a Catholic, she engaged herself in the Catholic faith, studying Church history,
reading Scripture and the lives of saints, and praying daily for long periods of time31.
Yet she attended synagogue along with her mother to support her. She tried her best to
console her family members who could not accept her decision through her serene
presence with them.
3.2. A model of quick response to the needs of time
She was very sensitive to the needs of persons and situations and responded quickly
with responsibility and empathy. Even before Baptism, her commitment to the
immediate situations around her is inspiring. As she proceeded her doctoral research,
she was invited by Herr Professor Lengert to her former school to teach Latin as a
substitute. She replied “Herr Professor, I have never stood in front of a class” 32. Also
she had no certificate for teaching classical languages. Considering her situation
Professor Lengert asked her to find out qualified former students yet he personally
preferred her presence in the school and said laying both hands on his chest: “I am ill
with tuberculosis and need to get complete bed rest”. Hearing him no further need for
deliberation to take a favorable decision.
When the advent of the World War I was announced in July of 1914 she was ready to
serve as a Red Cross nurse. Thinking back on her decision later she wrote “I have no
private life anymore…All my energy must be devoted to this great happening. Only
when the war is over, if I am alive then, will I be permitted to think of my private affairs
once more”33. Such was her commitment to the world around her and its daily needs.
She attended a short training programme and helped as an assistant nurse at All Saints
Hospital. Helping at All Saints Hospital, she says: “I got the impression that the sick
were not used to getting loving attention…34. She signed on with the Red Cross for
unconditional service to be sent wherever there was need. In October of 1914 she
returned to Gottingen, still awaiting the call to service. She was ever ready to serve the
people with love, concern, understanding and patience who suffer from sickness.
Openness and the quickness of her response to the truth is well noticeable after the
reading and encountering with the truth in the Autobiography of St Teresa of Avila. As
she finished her reading in the early morning, the same day itself she bought a prayer
book and a catechism and studied both well35.
3.3. A model at St Magdalena’s school
Though she tried for a professor position at University level it was a failure. With the
assistance of her spiritual director, she got a teaching position at St Magdalena’s school
for girls, a training institute for teachers in Speyer, run by Dominican sisters. Among
her students she bore witness to Christ and focused to handover the spirit of Christ to
them. She had the opinion that “Surely the children who attend convent schools should
gain there the strength to form their lives in the spirit of Christ. Surely it is most
Spiritual Portrait, 47.
Life, 388.
Ibid., 297.
Ibid., 292.
Spiritual Portrait, 44.
important that the teachers truly have this spirit themselves and vividly exemplify it”36.
Students were inspired by her teacher who prays in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Also
her dealings, moral support and friendly approach were indelible for them. She tried to
know life as the children will find it37. Her circle of relationships increased and many
approached her to find consolation. She was convinced that she was instrument of God
so she welcomed everyone who sought her help and led them to God.
3.4. A model as a Catholic speaker
After her conversion she spent around six years for studying Catholic doctrines and
teachings and became a popular speaker on the topic of Christian spirituality. She
impressed her catholic audiences by one of her first talks, “Ethos of Women’s
profession”. She got more invitations to speak at Catholic circle. Audience could detect
her authenticity and consistency in her words and actions from her confident and
humble presentations38. She delivered many lectures on various subjects, being humble
she could speak on humility, following God’s will she spoke on doing God’s will.
Proud of being a woman, she spoke and wrote about education, vocation and role of
women in the Church, academic and national level. She propagated Eucharistic and
Marian spirituality. She was sensitive to the needs of her immediate environment and to
the larger world. Her concern and freedom towards Catholic Church at the time of antiSemitic attitudes in Germany led her to write a letter with her filial affection to Pope
Pius XI requesting “Church of Christ to raise its voice to put a stop to this abuse of
Christ’s name”39.
3.5. A model for prayer
Deliberately stopped prayer at the age of fifteen or sixteen, Edith started again to
pray more consciously and devotedly as she encountered Jesus Christ, the Truth. Later
she said that searching for truth is prayer in itself40. She spent hours in front of the
Eucharistic Lord for His intimate relationship. Many witnessed for her fervent and
ardent prayer. Others saw her as she “so completely absorbed in God that nothing could
disturb or distract her”41. Stay with Dominican sisters at Speyer offered her favorable
atmosphere to deepen in prayer life. Following a convent time table and life style she
used to get up early morning and engaged in conversation with the Lord, entrusting
every cares of life for His blessing and sought His will. She brought to Him in prayer all
the crisis of the world around her and sought her role and responsibilities in His project.
She had a special devotion to Mother Mary for she considered Mary as the model for
Christian life and model for women.
3.6. A model for obedience
Edith Stein is a perfect model for obedience. Though she was baptized in the year
1922 and ardently wished to join Carmel she had to wait till 1933 to make her dream
Letter no. 123, to Sr Callista Kopf.
Spiritual portrait, 50.
Spiritual portrait, 34.
Ibid., 66.
fulfill. At the advice of her spiritual director, Father Joseph Schwind she patiently
waited and prepared herself to enter Carmel. He convinced her that her many scholarly
talents could benefit the Church and society and encouraged to continue her teaching
career. Even though she felt it is difficult to follow his advice she entrusted herself
completely to his guidance. Yet she respected and obeyed him with full freedom. The
great importance she gave for obedience is well evident in her words as she writes to
Rose Magold “The question of vocation cannot be solved merely through selfexamination plus a scrutiny of the available possibilities. One must pray for the
answer—you know that—and, in many cases, it must be sought by way of obedience”42.
4. Entering to Carmel: An encounter with the Truth face to face
Though she desired and discerned to enter Carmel soon after her Baptism she bore
witness to Christ, the Truth in the secular world for eleven years. She contributed much
to the Church and society through her Academic studies and researches. After ending
the teaching at St Magdalena’s school, she was invited to the German Institute for
Scientific Pedagogy in Münster in the year 1931. She had to end her lecturing and
teaching career in Germany because of Nazi persecution in the year 1933. Every time
she stops to begin something more beautiful. She applied to enter Carmel with the
permission of her spiritual director. Carmel welcomed her and she entered Carmel 1933
October 14.
She bore witness to the glory of Christ’s cross and sacrifice as she wished to be a
sacrifice for the world to be offered along with the sacrifice of her Beloved. Well aware
of the meaning of the Cross of Christ she took the name Sr Teresa Benedicta of the
Cross. Being a Carmelite nun, she could contemplate the beauty of her call and thus she
wrote Before the Face of God on the history and spirit of Carmel. After the example of
the holy prophet Elijah, she proclaimed “to stand before the face of the living God—that
is our vocation”43. She wished to be before the face of God in great love, intercede and
offer sacrifices for the world which is under the threat of evil.
5. Entering to Gas chamber in the union with the Truth
Though she embraced Catholic Church with full freedom and giving life witness to
the world being in the Carmel she was not exempted from the brutal persecutions of
Nazis that started by the summer of 1942. She was well aware of her union with her
Lord, the Way, the Truth and the Life, as she will be offered as a Holocaust. The Nazis
arrested both Edith and her sister Rosa and took them to two internment camps at
Auschwitz. As she had prepared herself for her great suffering that God allowed, she
was serene. Her presence in the Carmelite habit was a real support and strength to other
Jewish people who suffered along with her. She approached them with prayer, smiling
and consoling words. She was certain that she is not alone but the loving God is with
her in her suffering to suffer once again with her. She extended the loving presence and
maternal love to the children in the camp.
Even before her baptism she encountered the power of the cross of Christ. As she
allowed love to enter the picture of human suffering, she recognized the image of
suffering Christ came alive in her by a penetrating gaze in to the Crucified Christ. She
Letter no. 104.
E. STEIN, «Before the Face of God» in The Hidden Life.
followed the Truth, Jesus Christ, as she entered a terror-filled chamber of death. She
embraced her martyrdom as the fulfillment of her vocation and a gift from God. She
was offered and fulfilled the meaning of her birthday on 9 August 1942.
Edith’s life was full of adventures as she was convinced that she will have a great
future. As a child she is a model for children. Her life was active at the same time
cultivated the habit of pondering to the realities of life. She decided to stop school and
prayer at her midteens. But she did not stop search for truth. As she was encountered
slowly by the truth, she started again school and prayer. At last, when she encountered
the fullness of truth in the person of Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior, as she encountered
Him in the experience of others, she believed in Him and was baptized and bore witness
to Him in all the areas of her life, in family, society, Church etc. Thus, she becomes a
model for youth to make use of their given talents and work for a better world through
responsible study and profession. Her service as a Red Cross nurse is a challenge and a
model to this time of pandemic to dedicate oneself for the service of sick and suffering
with empathy. She invites scholars to be catalysts. She is the best model for modern
women as she lived and gave model for them to live their vocation with full vigor and
enthusiasm. She gave more emphasize for the education of girls in accordance with their
dignity and she brought forth fundamental principles of women’s education. She wrote
much about the vocation of women in the family as a wife, mother and in professional
field as a committed person who respond to her vocation for she considers profession as
an authentic vocation not as a mere source of income44. She had the opinion that women
can contribute much for a better country and further a better world. She is also a best
model for religious people in their commitment. Being in the Carmel she continued her
study and research and writing with great conviction. Just before her arrest she
concluded the work Science of the Cross. She inspires nuns to be more near to the world
as they become more near to God.
In the Second Vatican Council, the Council Fathers depicts the extensive role of each
faithful in the Church. Edith is a model for discernment, living witness of Catholic faith
in the person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity. She inspires Christians to be in
search and following the Truth through extensive reading, study, pondering and rational
reflections. She challenges our time, people to seek worthwhile living not to be
deceived by senses rather to be guided by our potentialities in the pursuit of truth. Pope
John Paul II reminded the assembly of Canonization Eucharist “For a long time Edith
Stein was a seeker. Her mind never tired of searching and her heart always yearned for
hope…she seized the truth. Or better: she was seized by it. Then she discovered that
truth had a name: Jesus Christ”45
E. STEIN, Essays on women, 44.
JOHN PAUL II, «Homily at Canonization Eucharist ».
ANDREWS, M.F., «FAITH AND PHENOMENON: Edith Stein on the Paradox
of Prayer», in K. HANEY, ed., Listening to Edith Stein: Wisdom for a
new century, Washington, 2018.
STEIN, E., Edith Stein: Life in a Jewish family (1891-1916), Washington, 1986.
————, Self Portrait in Letters 1916-1942 tr. J. Koeppel, Washington, 1993.
————, Essays on Women, Washington, 1996.
————, The Hidden Life, Washington, 1992, 20142.
JOHN PAUL II, «Homily at Canonization Eucharist », in J. SULLIVAN, ed.,
Holiness Befits your House, Washington, 2000.
TRAFLET, D.M., Saint Edith Stein: A Spiritual Portrait, Boston, 2008.