Monday, August 9, 2010
Edith Stein was born in Breslau on 12 October 1891, the youngest of 11, as her family were celebrating Yom Kippur, that most important Jewish festival, the Feast of Atonement. "More than anything else, this helped make the youngest child very precious to her mother." Being born on this day was like a foreshadowing to Edith, a future Carmelite nun. Before she reached her second birthday her father died suddenly, leaving Edith’s mother to raise the seven remaining children (four had died in childhood) and to manage the family business. Brought up on the Psalms and Proverbs, Stein considered her mother a living example of the strong woman of Proverbs 31, who rises early to care for her family and trade in the marketplace. By her teenage years, Stein no longer practiced her Jewish faith and considered herself an atheist, but she continued to admire her mother’s attitude of total openness toward God. Edith went on to teach philosophy for some years amid difficulties during she converted to Catholicism and received new life in Christ through baptism, and was pursued under the veil of a nun until, as an exile thrust into captivity under a nefarious regime hostile to the dignity both of men and of faith, she was killed by lethal gas at the death camp Oswiecim or Auschwitz near Cracow in Poland.
Posted by Paul Bernacchio at 5:47 PM