MEMORIAL: AUGUST 9
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was born Edith Stein in 1891. A Jew born in Poland, Edith was the youngest of a large Jewish family. As a girl, she fell out of Jewish practice but excelled in academics. As a young woman, she studied philosophy at Gottingen University where she got her doctorate for her work in empathy. She also took a break from her studies to serve as a field nurse in the first World War.
At the age of 30, she read the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila and decided to become Catholic. She studied the faith and became a teacher in catholicism, specifically focusing on women’s issues. The rise of Nazism ended her teaching career in the early 1930s, so she entered the Carmelites as Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross in Cologne, Germany. She continued to write, and developed her last work, “The Science of the Cross.” Sr. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross was moved to Holland during the second World War, but when the Nazis invaded Germany, she was arrested with her sister. She was sent to Auschwitz and died in the concentration camp. She was canonized in 1998 and is the co-patroness of Europe.