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Edith Stein: Could she be the next Doctor of the Church?

Imagine being known for your quest for truth. Edith Stein, also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, might soon be recognized for just that.

The Discalced Carmelites have asked Pope Francis to declare her a doctor of the Church, with the title "doctor veritatis," which means "doctor of truth."

Credit: Public Domain

Credit: Public Domain


By Catholic Online
5/4/2024 (2 weeks ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: Edith Stein, Doctors of the Church, Pope Francis

Who was Edith Stein? She was born in 1891 into a Jewish family in what is now southwestern Poland. Despite declaring herself an atheist at age 20, she pursued higher education and earned a doctorate in philosophy.

But her life took a turn after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite nun, in 1921. Something in the book spoke deeply to her, and she found herself drawn to the Catholic faith. She was baptized at the age of 30 and later became a Carmelite nun, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

But her journey didn't end there. Ten years after joining the convent, Edith, along with her sister Rosa and fellow sisters, was arrested by the Nazis. Even in the face of persecution, she continued her intellectual pursuits, writing about the spiritual teachings of St. John of the Cross.

Tragically, Edith Stein died in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942. But her legacy lived on. She was canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II in 1998 and proclaimed a co-patroness of Europe the next year.

Now, the Discalced Carmelites are pushing for her to be recognized as a doctor of the Church. This title is reserved for those who have made significant contributions to the Church's theology and moral teachings. If accepted, Edith Stein would be only the fifth woman to receive this honor.

Why "doctor of truth"? Edith Stein's life was marked by a relentless pursuit of truth, which she found in her Catholic faith. As she once wrote, "God is truth. Anyone who seeks truth seeks God, whether or not he is aware of it."

So, as we await the decision from Pope Francis, let's remember the inspiring story of Edith Stein. A woman who found truth in the darkest of times and whose legacy continues to shine brightly today.

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