Edith Stein is known for her scholarly work, as well as her lectures following her conversion, especially to women. Her lectures gave joyful and beautiful testimony to her faithful adherence to the teachings of the Church. Her writings vary in scope, from spiritual philosophy to simple biographies of saints, to warmly personal and affectionate letters.
Born October 12, 1891 in the city of Breslau, Poland, she was the youngest of 11 children. That year, the Day of Atonement, the most important religious holiday of the Hebrew calendar, which would be significant, in light of her sacrificial life as a Carmelite for the Church and for the Jewish people.
Although born into an observant Jewish family, she was an atheist by her teenage years, which deeply wounded her devout mother. Her university studies included psychology and philosophy, particularly phenomenology. But here, for the first time, she also encountered Catholicism, both through professors and fellow-students. Moved by the tragedies of World War I, in 1915 she became a nursing assistant and worked in an infectious Breslau diseases hospital. But she knew that her life was empty, for she remained, in her own words, “cold and unapproachable.” While working to arrange the papers of a friend who had been killed in the war, she was surprised to meet with, in those who mourned him, the spirit of Christian hope and submission to God’s will. She later wrote: “It was my first encounter with the Cross and the divine power that it bestows on those who carry it. That was the moment my disbelief collapsed and Christ shone forth – in the mystery of the Cross.” But not until four years later, when she read the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, that she was baptized, January 1, 1922 into the Roman Catholic Church.
She desired at that very time to become a Discalced Carmelite nun, but was dissuaded by her spiritual directors, who said she was too new in the faith to take such a step. She then taught at a Dominican Sisters Catholic school of education in Speyer. But by 1933, the Nazi non-Aryan decrees were enforced, and she was forced to resign this position. She was at last admitted to the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Cologne in October of that year and received the religious habit of the Order as a novice in April 1934, taking the religious name Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. In 1938, she and her sister Rosa, by then also a convert and an extern sister (tertiaries of the Order, who would handle the community′s needs outside the monastery), were sent to the Carmelite monastery in Echt, Netherlands, for their safety. Despite the Nazi invasion of that state in 1940, they remained undisturbed until they were arrested by the Nazis on August 2, 1942 and sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they died in the gas chamber on or about August 9, 1942.
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– D.M., Northern Ireland
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- Francis T Walsh
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- Ed Shimkus
“I have received my orders from you and again want to thank you for them. The Blessed Sacrament and Seven Dolors chaplets are beautiful and will be treasured by me for many years. As others have said, the pictures on the web site don’t do them justice. I also want to thank you for the books you carry. They are clearly selected with the goal of deepening faith. It is wonderful to find a place where I can go and know that I will receive quality, not only of merchandise, but of faith. Again, thank you for the work you do.”
– Mary, Minnesota, USA
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– David, Ohio, USA
“Your website is like an oasis of good spiritual things! You do such magnificent work, the chaplets are amazing! The badges are like having good friends near, and your books are so nourishing to the soul. I feel so blessed to have found you. Thank you again, and you are in my prayers.”
– Laura, California, USA
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– Linda, North Carolina, USA
“I wanted to let you know that I received the Rosary that you created for us just a short while ago. Sisters, it has to be without exception the most beautiful Rosary I have ever held. It is exactly how I envisioned it and the size is perfect. You were also right about the beads; the color is exceptional! Thank you, thank you, thank you each and every Sister for doing such a perfect job and for putting up with us throughout this whole process. While rersearching this project, every time I looked elsewhere, I always seemed to be guided back to the Sisters of Carmel, and now I know why...PERFECTION!
– A Catholic Church, New York, USA
“I just wanted to thank you for the exceptional care you took in packing/shipping the books and other items in my order.... It’s the little extra touches like this that go a long way with the customer and lets them know how much you value their business.”
– R.C., New York, USA
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“When I asked my priest to bless my new scapular, it took his breath away by its handmade beauty. I told him it had been made with loving hands by the Sisters of Carmel. I felt the Holy Spirit say to give it to him. I did. He was overwhelmed. I ordered another one for myself and it arrived today. I love it. It is so beautiful. I will kiss it every day. I am eager to have it blessed tomorrow and wear it immediately. Thank you.”
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“Once again the best. I appreciate you quickly sending me the scapular. I could have gone locally to purchase one, but I truly appreciate your craftsmanship and customer service.”
“This is the most beautiful rosary I have ever seen crafted. Combining high quality materials, skillful labor, and loving prayer, the Carmelite Sisters are hands down the best choice to go with when shopping for rosaries. Reasonably priced, quick delivery, and wonderful customer service, I will DEFINITELY be ordering all of my future rosary purchases from ”