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#2575 - Tuesday, September 5, 2006 - Editor: Jerry Katz
Two related articles from the Catholic tradition. The first one is about Carmelite studies and mentions the Carmelite philospher, and saint, Edith Stein, gassed in Auschwitz n 1942.
The second article tells about Edith Stein's life.
Finally a poem written by Edith Stein who is
Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, St. Benedicta of the Cross.
DUBLIN - 5 September 2006 - 223 words
New Carmelite Institute of Spirituality
A new Institute of Carmelite Studies is to be launched in Dublin on 11 September. Its aim is to promote the study of the Carmelite tradition.
The Carmelite heritage is much appreciated around the world, not only amongst Catholics, but also Anglicans and other Christians. Scholars of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism are now giving more attention to this spirituality, which has it origins on Mount Carmel (near Haifa) in the 13th century.
Particularly appreciated by Christians and world religions are the two Spanish mystics, St Teresa of Avila, St John of the Cross, and the French saint Thérèse of Lisieux. In recent decades there is growing interest in the Carmelite philosopher, and saint, Edith Stein, who was gassed in Auschwitz in 1942.
There is no centre in Britain or Ireland where this tradition can be comprehensively studied. The newly established Institute will provide distance learning at introductory and degree levels.
The Carmelite Institute and its awards are accredited by the Milltown Institute Dublin, a recognised College of the National University of Ireland.
The Carmelite Institute is sponsored by the Carmelite Provincials (O.Carm and OCD) of Britain and Ireland. The tutors are experts from among Carmelite friars, Carmelite nuns, sisters and lay people, mostly, but not exclusively from Britain and Ireland.
Information on the Institute, is available on www.cibi.ie.
© Independent Catholic News 2006
Edith Stein: An Historical Perspective
Edith Stein, saintly Carmelite, profound
philosopher and brilliant writer, had a great influence on
the women of her time, and is having a growing influence in the intellectual and philosophical
circles of todays Germany and of the whole world. She is an inspiration to all Christians whose
heritage is the Cross, and her life was offered for her own Jewish people in their sufferings and
Born on October 12, 1891, of Jewish parents,
Siegried Stein and Auguste Courant, in Breslau,
Germany, Edith Stein from her earliest years showed a great aptitude for learning, and by the time
of the outbreak of World War I, she had studied philology and philosophy at the universities of
Breslau and Goettingen.
After the war, she resumed her higher studies at
the University of Freiburg and was awarded her
doctorate in philosophy Suma Cum Laude. She later became the assistant and collaborator of
Professor Husserl, the famous founder of phenomenology, who greatly appreciated her brilliant mind.
In the midst of all her studies, Edith Stein was
searching not only for the truth, but for Truth
itself and she found both in the Catholic Church, after reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa
of Avila. She was baptized on New Years Day, 1922.
After her conversion, Edith spent her days
teaching, lecturing, writing and translating, and she
soon became known as a celebrated philosopher and author, but her own great longing was for the
solitude and contemplation of Carmel, in which she could offer herself to God for her people. It
was not until the Nazi persecution of the Jews brought her public activities and her influence in
the Catholic world to a sudden close that her Benedictine spiritual director gave his approval to
her entering the Discalced Carmelie Nuns cloistered community at Cologne-Lindenthal on 14 October
1933. The following April, Edith received the Habit of Carmel and the religious name of "Teresia
Benedicta ac Cruce," and on Easter Sunday, 21 April 1935, she made her Profession of Vows.
When the Jewish persecution increased in violence
and fanaticism, Sister Teresa Benedicta soon
realized the danger that her presence was to the Cologne Carmel, and she asked and received
permission to transfer to a foreign monastery. On the night of 31 December 1938, she secretly
crossed the border into Holland where she was warmly received in the Carmel of Echt. There she
wrote her last work, The Science of the Cross.
Her own Cross was just ahead of her, for the
Nazis had invaded neutral Holland, and when the Dutch
bishops issued a pastoral letter protesting the deportation of the Jews and the expulsion of Jewish
children from the Catholic school system, the Nazis arrested all Catholics of Jewish extraction in
Holland. Edith was taken from the Echt Carmel on 2 August 1942, and transported by cattle train to
the death camp of Auschwitz, the conditions in the box cars being so inhuman that many died or went
insane on the four day trip. She died in the gas chambers at Auschwitz on 9 August 1942.
We no longer seek her on earth, but with God Who
accepted her sacrifice and will give its fruit to
the people for whom she prayed, suffered, and died. In her own words: "Once can only learn the
science of the Cross by feeling the Cross in ones own person." We can say that in the fullest
sense of the word, Sister Teresa was "Benedicta a Cruce" -- blessed by the Cross.
Pope John Paul II beatified Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross on 1 May 1987, and canonizes her
on 11 October 1998.
~ ~ ~
"God is there in these moments of rest and
can give us in a single instant exactly what we need.
Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in
peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has
been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed
and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in Gods hands and leave it with Him.
Then you will be able to rest in Him -- really rest -- and start the next day as a new life."
"O my God, fill my soul with holy joy,
courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me
and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but
when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will prospect will open
before me, and I shall meet it with peace.
"Learn from St. Thérèse to depend on God
alone and serve Him with a wholly pure and detached heart.
Then, like her, you will be able to say I do not regret that I have given myself up to Love."
~ ~ ~
Of The Holy Spirit
by St. Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
Who are you, sweet light, that fills me
And illumines the darkness of my heart?
You lead me like a mother's hand,
And should you let go of me,
I would not know how to take another step.
You are the space
That embraces my being and buries it in yourself.
Away from you it sinks into the abyss
Of nothingness, from which you raised it to the light.
You, nearer to me than I to myself
And more interior than my most interior
And still impalpable and intangible
And beyond any name:
Holy Spirit eternal love!
Are you not the sweet manna
That from the Son's heart
Overflows into my heart,
The food of angels and the blessed?
He who raised himself from death to life,
He has also awakened me to new life
From the sleep of death.
And he gives me new life from day to day,
And at some time his fullness is to stream through me,
Life of your life indeed, you yourself:
Holy Spirit eternal life!
Are you the ray
That flashes down from the eternal Judge's throne
And breaks into the night of the soul
That had never known itself?
It penetrates hidden folds.
Alarmed at seeing itself,
The self makes space for holy fear,
The beginning of that wisdom
That comes from on high
And anchors us firmly in the heights,
That creates us anew:
Holy Spirit ray that penetrates everything!
Are you the spirit's fullness and the power
By which the Lamb releases the seal
Of God's eternal decree?
Driven by you
The messengers of judgment ride through the world
And separate with a sharp sword
The kingdom of light from the kingdom of night.
Then heaven becomes new and new the earth,
And all finds its proper place
Through your breath:
Holy Spirit victorious power!
Are you the master who builds the eternal cathedral,
Which towers from the earth through the heavens?
Animated by you, the columns are raised high
And stand immovably firm.
Marked with the eternal name of God,
They stretch up to the light,
Bearing the dome,
Which crowns the holy cathedral,
Your work that encircles the world:
Holy Spirit God's molding hand!
Are you the one who created the unclouded mirror
Next to the Almighty's throne,
Like a crystal sea,
In which Divinity lovingly looks at itself?
You bend over the fairest work of your creation,
And radiantly your own gaze
Is illumined in return.
And of all creatures the pure beauty
Is joined in one in the dear form
Of the Virgin, your immaculate bride:
Holy Spirit Creator of all!
Are you the sweet song of love
And of holy awe
That eternally resounds around the triune throne,
That weds in itself the clear chimes of each and every being?
That joins together the members to the Head,
In which each one
Finds the mysterious meaning of his being blessed
And joyously surges forth,
Freely dissolved in your surging:
Holy Spirit eternal jubilation!
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