Thursday, August 9, 2007

St. Teresa Benedicta, aka Edith Stein

And August continues its slough of saint-days in the Catholic Church. Today is another patron(ess) of philosophy: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, OCD.

Born in Germany to a large Jewish family as Edith Stein, she grew into a brilliant student of philosophy and worked closely with Husserl. Husserl founded a particular school of phenomenology, which attempts to overcome the abyss of modern thought.

Like many of the members of Husserl's school of thought, Edith converted to Catholicism. Because she was Jewish, however, she was never allowed to teach at the university level in Germany. In her early forties, she entered the Carmel at Cologne. She and her sister, also a Carmelite and convert, fled to Holland early in the war but were arrested by the SS and sent to Auschwitz, where they died in the gas chambers.

Great reads from her life work:
The Science of the Cross (written from within Carmel just before her arrest)
Self-Portrait in Letters (letters to others from before her conversion until her arrest)
Essays on Woman (a series of lectures given in Germany before she entered Carmel)

"Learn from St. Thérèse to depend on God alone and serve Him with a wholly pure and detached heart. Then, like her, you will be able to say ‘I do not regret that I have given myself up to Love’." ~St. Edith Stein

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