Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Edith Stein, whose name in the Carmelite religious order she entered was Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, was born on October 12th, 1891, and died August 9th, 1942. A convert from Judaism to Catholicism, Saint Theresa Benedicta was a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism. She was a brilliant woman, devoted totally to God, and is an exemplary hero and champion for women. Saint Pope John Paul II beatified Sr. Teresa Benedicta on May 1st, 1987 and canonized her on October 11th, 1998.

Saint Teresa Benedicta wrote: 

"The burden of the cross that Christ assumed is that of corrupted human nature, with all its consequences in sin and suffering to which fallen humanity is subject. The meaning of the way of the cross is to carry this burden out of the world." 

A beautiful message and image for us to follow-carrying the burden of the cross out of the world. How can we do this? Perhaps by:

  • Simply listening to the troubles of a friend
  • Doing a good deed for a stranger
  • Recording books for the sight impaired
  • Visiting a person confined to a nursing home
  • Sending an encouraging note to a discouraged person 
  • Sending some money to a good cause

Every little, good deed we accomplish helps to carry the burden of the cross out of the world.  

Saint Teresa Benedicta's life is a fascinating story, more of which can be found here

"At the Carmel of Echt, while she was writing her book on the doctrine of St John of the Cross, titled The Science of the Cross, two officials of the German occupation forces came to the monastery. She had to go with them, together with her sister Rose, also a convert, who had joined her in Echt. Edith and Rose Stein were deported to Auschwitz. On August 9th, 1942, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, in a white house filled with Zyklon-B gas, went to heaven." 

May the good news of her life beautifully lived, and the lessons of the horrific tragedy of her death, continue to inspire us and propel us forward to carrying the burden of the cross out of the world. Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, pray, pray for us!

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