Readings & Reflections: Wednesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time & St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), August 9,2017
Edith was born to a Jewish family in Breslau, Germany (today part of Poland), in 1891 A.D. At fourteen, she became an atheist, but her sincere search for “eternal values as a scholar of philosophy led her to the threshold of the Church. After reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Avila at a friend’s house, she exclaimed: “This is the truth!” Ten years later she entered Carmel as Teresa Benedicta of the Cross at the age of forty-two. At her profession in 1938, in the face of growing German anti-Semitism, she told her prioress: “Human action cannot help us, but only the sufferings of Christ. My aspiration is to share them.” She was seized by Nazi soldiers at the Carmel in Echt, the Netherlands, on August 2,1942, and died in the gas chamber at the Auschwitz concentration camp seven days later. Pope John Paul II canonized her in 1998 as a “martyr for love.” Teresa is venerated as a “martyr for love” who consciously offered her life for the salvation of her people.