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Saint Edith Stein (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

 Born: October 12, 1891 in Breslau, German Empire (Now Warsaw, Poland)

Died: August 9, 1942 in Aushwitz-Birkenau, German-occupied Poland

Venerated: Roman Catholicism

Beatified: May 1, 1987 by Pope John Paul II

Canonized: October 11, 1998 by Pope John Paul II

Feast Day: August 9

Patronages: Loss of Parents
Converted Jews
World Youth Day
: Europe

Edith Stein, born in 1891 in Breslau, Poland, was the youngest child of a large Jewish family. She was an outstanding student and was well versed in philosophy, with a particular interest in phenomenology. Eventually she became interested in the Catholic Faith, and in 1922 she was baptized at the cathedral church in Cologne, Germany.

Eleven years later Edith entered the Cologne Carmel. Because of the ramifications of politics in Germany, Edith, whose name in religion was Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, was sent to the Carmel at Echt, Holland. When the Nazis conquered Holland, Teresa was arrested, and, with her sister, Rose, was sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz.

Teresa died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942. In 1987, she was beatified in the Cologne cathedral by Pope John Paul II.

Reflection: Out of the unspeakable human suffering caused by the Nazis in western Europe in the 1930s and 1940s, there blossomed the beautiful life of dedication, consecration, prayer, fasting, and penance of Blessed Teresa. Even though her life was snuffed out by the satanic evil of genocide, her memory stands as a light dimmed in the midst of evil, darkness, and suffering.

Prayer: O God, through the intercession of Saint Teresa, bring light, consolation, and peace to those who suffer the effects of war. Watch over Your children with a gentle and loving care. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.