Edith Stein was a pioneer in encouraging women to become involved in both the family and professional and political life. Who are the women in your life and community that are witnesses for the Gospel?
Edith was born to a Jewish family at Breslau on October 12, 1891, but she declared herself to be an atheist in her early teens. Through her passionate study of philosophy she searched after truth and found it in reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Jesus. In 1922 she was baptized a Catholic, though she honored her mother’s Jewish heritage throughout her life. A woman of singular intelligence and learning, she left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality. In her writings, Edith Stein affirmed the dignity of women, and encouraged every woman to seek to live out in her own life and circumstances the ideal of true womanhood. In 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne where she took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. During the Nazi persecution, she was arrested with others of Jewish heritage and gassed at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942, offering up her sufferings for the people of Israel. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II at Cologne on May 1, 1987.
• The Catholic bishops of the United States offer guidance for us to act in today's politically confusing times in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the teaching document on the political responsibility of Catholics. This statement represents guidance for Catholics in the exercise of their rights and duties as participants in our democracy.
• How has your own family heritage prepared you to recognize the dignity of every person? Who influenced you to become a more generous and compassionate person?