Following Mary’s example, the contemplative is a person centred in God. (VDQ 10)

Edith Stein: Her message

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Edith is a faithful exponent of contemporary man's quest; her passage from unbelief to faith makes her close to all who seek the truth. In her experience this same searching was already a prayer.

She knew how to reconcile reason and faith, showing a healthy humanism. Her concern for women and her sense of the other, which she developed especially in her doctoral thesis on empathy, evidences a correct anthropology.

In terms of spirituality, despite her rich training, her great masters are the Carmelite saints, Teresa and John of the Cross and also Therese of Lisieux. These three left their imprint on the soul of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross: Prayer as the foundation of her life, the experience of the cross as the source of all action in the Church and trust and abandonment in God's hands. Edith had a strong consciousness of being an instrument. She said: "Whoever comes to me, I desire to guide that person to Him."

When she chose her religious name she wanted to express her filial bond with Teresa, her mother in Carmel; Benedict of Nurcia because of all she received due to  her proximity to both the Abbey of Beuron as in Spira; and the mystery of the cross, to which she felt a special vocation. She wrote: "I thought that all those who understand what the Cross of Christ was, had to take it upon themselves on behalf of all." And in another passage she stated the following about the Carmelite way of life: "You're not a doctor, nor nurse, nor can you bind up their wounds. You are recollected in your cell and you can not go to them. You hear the agonizing cry of the dying and you want to be a priest and be at their side ... Look to the Crucified One. If you are attached to Him, like a bride in the faithful observance of your holy vows, is your/his precious blood that is spilled. United to Him, you are like the omnipresent ... and in the power of the Cross you can be everywhere, in all places of sorrow.”

On the human level, besides the features already mentioned, the testimonies are unanimous in noting Edith exquisite gentleness, which made her close to all those who came into contact with her. She had an open mind, strong, disciplined and tenacious, along with great balance and stability of spirit.

In summary, Edith is a woman of our time. She by the grace of God, grew into the fullness of her stature in Christ, becoming a guide, a shining star leading men and women of all ages to THE TRUTH which is Christ. She teaches us with her life that the righteousness and truth with which we assume our duties and our relationships are already a form of union with God even if we are not aware of it. She teaches us the value of the complete gift of self, the audacity to go all the way until the end, even to martyrdom itself, if that is the way God disposes. She also teaches us an unwavering confidence in the designs of Divine Providence, designs that we will know only in heaven with its mysterious intertwining of all of  us, one with the other.

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