The Holocaustum of Edith Stein

Edith Stein, a soulful modern thinker, was murdered in Auschwitz in August 1942. Born to a Jewish family in 1891, she was baptized into the Catholic faith on New Year’s Day 1922. In October 1933, she began the process of becoming a Carmelite nun, in which capacity she would take the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross on May 1, 1987 and eleven years later, on October 11, 1998, he canonized her. One year later he declared Saint Teresa Benedicta a patron saint of the European Union.  Despite her conversion, or perhaps she would have said by way of her conversion, Stein continued to see herself as a Jew. On Easter in 1933, with a deep foreboding of the tragedies to come, Stein, as she described it, “spoke with the Savior to tell him that I realized it was his Cross that was now being laid upon the Jewish people, that the few who understood this had the responsibility of carrying it in the name of all, and that I myself was willing to do this, if he would only show me how. I left the service with the inner conviction that I had been heard, but uncertain as ever as to what ‘carrying the Cross’ would mean for me.” In his homily on the occasion of her canonization, John Paul II described Stein and her beatification as opening “a new encounter with her God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He further prayed that “her witness [would] constantly strengthen the bridge of mutual understanding between Jews and Christians.”  In the thirty-five years since he uttered these words, John Paul’s vision has not come to pass. After the Nazi genocide, in the wake

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