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Discalced Carmelites ask for Edith Stein to be declared 'Doctor of Truth'

The Discalced Carmelites have formally requested that Pope Francis bestow the title of "doctor Veritatis," or "doctor of truth," on Edith Stein, also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. This request was presented to the Pope by Father Miguel Marquez Calle, the superior general of the Discalced Carmelites, during a private audience at the Vatican on April 18.

Edith Stein

Edith Stein

Highlights

By Catholic Online (California Network)
5/6/2024 (2 weeks ago)

Published in Christian Saints & Heroes

Keywords: Edith Stein, doctor veritatis, Catholic Church, Auschwitz, Discalced Carmelites, theology

Should this request be granted, Stein would become the fifth woman to be declared a Doctor of the Church, joining an esteemed group that includes saints like Teresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena. The title of Doctor of the Church is not lightly given; it honors individuals who have made a significant theological impact on the moral and spiritual life of the Church.

The process to confer this title on Stein has been formally initiated by the Vatican Dicastery for the Causes of Saints, following the establishment of an international commission by the Carmelites in 2022. This commission was tasked with gathering the essential documentation to support their petition. The timing of this initiative coincided with dual anniversaries: the 100th anniversary of Stein's baptism and the 80th anniversary of her martyrdom.

Edith Stein's journey of faith and intellect is both profound and inspiring. Born into a Jewish family in 1891 in Breslau, then part of the German Empire (now Poland), Stein declared herself an atheist by age 20. Her academic prowess led her to earn a doctorate in philosophy. However, her life took a dramatic turn after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, which led her to declare, "This is the truth," and subsequently convert to Catholicism in 1921.

Stein was baptized on January 1, 1922, and later joined the Carmelite order, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her religious life, however, was tragically cut short. In 1942, during the Holocaust, she was arrested along with her sister Rosa and eventually died in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Her legacy, however, continued to grow, leading to her canonization by Pope John Paul II in 1998, who also named her a co-patroness of Europe the following year.

Stein's theological insights, particularly through her work "The Science of the Cross" on St. John of the Cross, and her profound belief that "Anyone who seeks truth seeks God, whether or not he is aware of it," underscore her potential contribution as a Doctor of the Church. Her intellectual rigor and spiritual journey exemplify a pursuit of truth that resonates deeply within the Catholic faith, making her a compelling candidate for the title of "doctor veritatis."

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