“O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will open before me and I shall meet with peace.”
Edith Stein was born October 12, 1891 (the Feast of Atonement) to a Jewish family in Breslau, Germany. Though she became agnostic in her teen years, through her passionate study of philosophy as an adult she searched after truth and found it in reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Jesus. In 1922, she was baptized a Catholic, and in 1933 entered the Discalaced Carmel of Cologne where she took the name of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
During the Nazi occupation she was sent to the Carmel in Echt, Netherlands. When the Nazis occupied the Netherlands all Jews and Jewish converts were arrested. Sr. Teresa Benedicta and her sister Rosa were arrested at this time. She said to Rosa, “Come. Let us go and die for our people.”
Sister Teresa Benedicta was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942 and died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered herself as a holocaust for the people of Israel. A woman of singular intelligence and learning, she left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II at Cologne, Germany on May 1, 1987 and canonized on October 11, 1998.