Edith Stein was born in 1891 in Germany. Her spiritual journey brought her from the Observant Jewish faith of her childhood, through a period of atheism in her teen and young adult years, and finally to conversion to Catholicism when she was 30 years old. She was an intellectual who earned a doctorate in philosophy and was a university professor. Her academic career was impeded, however, because she was a woman and a Jew. She was drawn to the Catholic faith after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, and she later became a Carmelite sister. She was a vocal critic of the Nazi regime, and publicly urged the church to take a stand against it. Edith Stein died in the gas chamber at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942, along with her sister. She is the patron saint of World Youth Day. Her feast day is August 9. At her canonization Mass in 1998, Pope John Paul II told the young people gathered:
“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.”
Questions for Reflection:
- How has your own spiritual journey taken your life in unexpected directions?
- Looking back at where you started, what twists and turns have brought you to where you are today? Where might God be calling you to go from here?