Edith Stein Our house patron

Edith Stein

Edith Stein, the patron of our house, was a philosopher, feminist, catholic nun of Jewish descent, and a martyr. Pope John Paul II beatified her as the first catholic martyr of Jewish descent in May 1987 and canonized her in October 1998. In 1999, Edith Stein was declared as the patron of Europe. Her fest day is August 9th

Edith Stein studied philosophy, psychology and history at the universities of Breslau, Göttingen and Freiburg. Even though she earned her doctorate with honours (“On the Problem of Empathy”), she was not permitted for habilitation as she was a Jewish woman.

Conversion and Admission to the Convent
Edith Stein converted to the Roman-Catholicism after reading Saint Teresa of Avila´s autobiography. She became a teacher at a Dominican girls’ school. In 1932, she became a lecturer at the institute for pedagogy in Münster, where she immersed herself in the teachings of Thomas Aquinas. She gave lectures on the question of women’s rights and the problems faced in girls’ education. In 1933, she entered the Discalced Carmelite Monastery of Our Lady of Peace in Cologne and took the name Teresia Benedicta a cruce (Teresia Benedicta of the Cross).

Persecution and Assassination
In 1933, the anti-semitic legislation passed by the Nazi government forced the Jewish-born Stein to give up her teaching position in Münster. In 1938, Edith Stein moved together with her sister Rosa, also a convert to the Carmelite monastery in Echt in the Netherlands. However, following the German occupation of the Netherlands, the Stein sisters were deported on August 2nd 1942. On August 9th 1942, the Stein sisters were killed in the gas chambers of the extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.