St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, aka Edith Stein, was a remarkable woman that not only broke barriers in the world of academia but also in her personal life. She faced countless challenges as a Jewish philosopher in a male-dominated field and as a woman, but she still managed to make a name for herself. Her story is one that is not only inspiring but also deeply touching. Here are four things that you should know about her.
First, Edith Stein was a Jewish philosopher that, unfortunately, wasn't permitted to teach college because of her gender. She believed that it was a woman's right to pursue education just like men, and this became one of the core beliefs of her life. Despite being turned down from teaching jobs purely because of being female, she continued with her love for philosophy and went on to write many important works.
Second, she underwent a religious conversion and became a Catholic, much to the dismay of her family. Stein's spiritual journey began after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, and her interest in Christianity grew. Despite her family's disappointment and the backlash from society, she converted in 1922. Stein's conversion was indicative of the deep bonds she formed with her faith and her relentless pursuit of personal and spiritual growth.
Third, she eventually joined a religious order to further develop her faith and spiritual journey. Stein became a Discalced Carmelite, a Catholic nun, in 1933, years after her conversion to Catholicism. Her decision to become a nun was another significant turning point in her life and brought her immense joy and fulfillment. Her monastic life was cut short, however, when she was taken captive and sent to Auschwitz.
Last, Stein was among the many victims of the horror that was the Holocaust. From the world's perspective, her death was a significant loss for the world of philosophy and religion, especially given her contributions to both fields. However, her death reflected her love of Jesus and her name in religion, "Teresa Benedicta of the Cross" which means "Blessed of the Cross."
Edith Stein was a woman ahead of her time, who not only broke barriers with her amazing intellect but also with her unwavering pursuit of her spirituality. While her death was undoubtedly a great loss to society, her legacy continues to live on through her works, which serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration to us all.