Edith Stein

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Saint Teresia Benedicta of the Cross, sometimes also known as Saint Edith Stein (October 12, 1891 – August 9, 1942), was a German-Jewish philosopher, nun, and is a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church. Born into an observant Jewish family but an atheist by her teenage years, she converted to Christianity in 1922, was baptized into the Catholic Church and was received into the Discalced Carmelite Order as a postulant in 1934. Although she moved from Germany to the Netherlands to avoid Nazi persecution, in 1942 she was arrested and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where she died in the gas chamber. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1998.

She is one of the six patron saints of Europe, together with Saint Benedict of Nursia, Saints Cyril and Methodius, Saint Bridget of Sweden and Saint Catherine of Siena.



Stein was born in Breslau (Wrocław), in the German Empire's Prussian Province of Silesia, into an observant Jewish family. Born on October 12, 1891, Edith was a very gifted child who enjoyed learning. She greatly admired her mother's strong faith; however, by her teenage years Stein had become an atheist.

In 1916, she received a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Göttingen, with a dissertation under Edmund Husserl, Zum Problem der Einfühlung (On the Problem of Empathy). She then became a member of the faculty in Freiburg. In the previous year she had worked with Martin Heidegger in editing Husserl's papers for publication, Heidegger being appointed similarly as a teaching assistant to Husserl at Freiburg in October 1916. But she was rejected as a woman with further habilitational studies at the University of Freiburg [2] and failed to successfully reach in a habilitational study "Psychische Kausalität" (Psychic Causality) at the University of Göttingen in 1919.

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