Living under the Mystery of the Cross

The Story of St. Edith Stein

Living under the Mystery of the Cross

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On August 2, 1942, the German S.S. stormed a Carmelite convent in Echt, Holland, and demanded that one of its nuns, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, be handed over immediately, along with her sister Rosa.

The convent was thrown into confusion: The prioress begged for more time, sisters threw together some belongings for the two women, and alarmed neighbors gathered outside. Only Sr. Teresa maintained her composure. “Come, Rosa,” she said calmly. “We are going for our people.”

Thus began the final chapter in the story of St. Edith Stein, who had taken the name Sr. Teresa when she became a Carmelite. And it’s this final chapter, including her death in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, that is the most familiar to us. But while the climax of Edith’s story is riveting, the entire journey of her life can speak to us even more powerfully. Edith Stein’s heroic death was in essence the culmination of a life lived under the cross of Christ, a life that had been “crucified” with him for years.


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