Center for Carmelite Studies

80th Anniversary of Edith Stein’s Death

ROME – On Tuesday, the 80th anniversary of Edith Stein’s death, a cardinal close to Pope Francis celebrated Mass in a Carmelite convent in Auschwitz, saying that he shares with the saint his own Jewish origins, his Catholic faith and his vocation to religious life.

Canadian Jesuit Cardinal Michael Czerny, who heads the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development, visited the grounds of the former concentration camp Tuesday. He then said Mass in a nearby Carmelite convent in Oswiecim, a Polish town that was under Nazi German occupation during World War II, to mark the anniversary of Stein’s “birth to heaven.”

Stein, a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Catholicism, joined the Carmelite sisters, took the name Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and was put to death in a gas chamber in Auschwitz on Aug. 9, 1942.

Pope John Paul II declared her a martyr in 1987 and a saint in 1998. 

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