"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)


St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein, OCD): "Hail Cross, Our Only Hope" (August 9, 1942)

12 October 1891–She was born into an observant Jewish family, but had become an atheist by her teenage years.

1914–Moved by the tragedies of World War I, she took lessons to become a Red Cross nursing assistant and worked in an infectious diseases hospital.
“My life isn’t my own anymore. All my energies belong to this great undertaking. When the war is over, if I’m still alive, then there will be plenty of time to think about my own affairs again... Naturally I offered my services without restriction. If there is anything I wanted, it was to be sent out as soon and as far as possible... preferably to a field hospital on the front.”–Letter
1919–She underwent a profound faith experience when she went inside the cathedral for a few minutes. As she stood there moved in reverential silence, she saw a woman, with her shopping basket, who knelt down in one of the pews to say a prayer. "That was something completely new to me," Edith recounted. "In a synagogue, as in Protestant churches I had visited, people only went in at the time of the service. But here was someone coming into the empty church in the middle of the day’s work as if to talk with a friend. I have never been able to forget that.”–Life in a Jewish Family

1921–One summer holidays in 1921, as a guest in her friend’s house she was urged to read anything she wanted from the bookcase, while her friends were at a business meeting.
“I reached in at random and brought out a hefty volume. It carried the title: Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila written by herself. I began to read, was captivated immediately, and did not stop until I had read to the end. As I closed the book, I told myself: “This is Truth.” From that moment on Carmel was my goal..."–Life in a Jewish Family
1 January 1922–Baptized a Catholic. Her Spiritual Director asked her to wait and become "at home" in the Catholic Faith before entering the cloistered life in the monastery of Discalced Carmelites.

1933 Letter To Pope Pius XI
[...] Everything that happened and continues to happen on a daily basis originates with a government that calls itself "Christian." For weeks not only Jews but also thousands of faithful Catholics in Germany, and, I believe, all over the world, have been waiting and hoping for the Church of Christ to raise its voice to put a stop to this abuse of Christ's name. Is not this idolization of race and governmental power, which is being pounded into the public consciousness by the radio open heresy? Isn't the effort to destroy Jewish blood an abuse of the holiest humanity of our Savior, of the most blessed Virgin and the apostles? Is not all this diametrically opposed to the conduct of our Lord and Savior, who, even on the cross, still prayed for his persecutors? And isn't this a black mark on the record of this Holy Year which was intended to be a year of peace and reconciliation? [...]
14 March 1937, anti-Nazi ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI “MIT BRENNENDER SORGE,” was circulated drawing the ire of Adolf Hitler. It is easy for us to ask why such a document took so long to be issued? But before we move towards a certain path of judging history, we keep in mind it was not so easy to live in that time of great oppression. The lives of tens of thousands were put on the line. Some wanted the Pope to excommunicate Hitler but one has to keep in mind that there is always a collateral damage with each top-level decision. As expected, after “MIT BRENNENDER SORGE,”  Hitler's retaliation was swift and brutal.

2 August 1942–The arrest of all Jewish Catholics in the Netherlands. Edith Stein and companions boarded the train to Auschwitz concentration camp. She left behind this message scribbled on a scrap of paper and thrown from the train for her Mother Superior: "Ave Crux, Spes Unica" which translates to "Hail Cross, Our Only Hope."

9 August 1942–She was martyred in the gas chambers.

1998–Quote at her canonization by Pope John Paul II who also was the Pope to beatify her in 1987. She was canonized as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church, and declared as one of six co-patron saints of Europe.
“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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