"The Academic Saint and
the Science of the Cross:
The Life and Works of Edith Stein/
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross"
Fr. John Sullivan, O.C.D.
Friar and Provincial for the Washington Province of the Discalced Carmelites
Beatified in 1987 for her 1942 martyrdom at Auschwitz, canonized as a saint in 1998, and named Co-Patroness of Europe by Pope John Paul II in 1999, the formal legacy of St. Edith Stein/Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891-1942) could not be more widely identified and secured within the Church. But despite the trumpet blasts heralding her import, her extensive writings and the story of her all too human and later truly exemplary saintly life are only now beginning to peak and command the interest and serious intellectual time of inquisitive academic audiences. And rightly so, for the intellectual weight and inspiring narrative of Edith Stein's journey does not disappoint. It includes not only the hardships of her father's death when she was a young child, the abandonment of her Jewish faith for a rebellious but self-proclaimed atheism in her teenage years, her educational pursuits of, first,
psychology, and then philosophy as a brilliant doctoral student under the tutelage of the renowned phenomenologists Edmund Husserl and Max Scheler, and her final turn and embrace of the Church after reading St. Teresa of Avila's autobiography, to which she concluded: "This is the truth."
For Edith Stein, the Truth continued to unfold in fascinating and multiple ways after her Baptism, Confirmation, and later entrance into the Carmelite Order, informing not only her philosophical works on empathy, personalism, Catholic feminism, the role of the state, the nature of Being, and various pedagogical concerns; but also her deeply moving and very accesible reflections on the Church, the Epiphany, the Sacraments, the Saints, and, most especially, her understanding of the experience and knowledge of the Cross (the scientia crucis), which she welcomed into her open heart with the memorable words "'Ave, Crux, Spes unica"' (Hail, the Cross, our only hope).
To view the video of Fr. John Sullivan's account of this most remarkable, most modern--and yet ever ancient--of saints: St. Edith Stein/Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, please click here.