Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Christian Female Role Model of the Day: Edith Stein

Welcome to my celebration of Women's History Month! You can read more about this month and why I am writing about admirable Christian women here. For now, let's jump in!

The Forgiven Former Feminist's Female Christian Role Model of the Day is... Edith Stein!

Edith Stein was the eleventh child born to a Polish Jewish family in 1891. She was raised Jewish but eventually became an atheist. While she was studying at university Edith met Max Scheler, the philosopher who helped her to find the Roman Catholic faith. During WWI Stein became a nurse caring for the sick and wounded. In 1922 Stein was baptized and joined a Carmelite convent. Stein wrote papers, books, and articles about her faith, even translating some from Greek to German. When the Nazis anti-Semitism became apparent to the world on November 9, 1938 (the Crystal Night) Stein moved with her sister Rose (also a nun) to the Netherlands. On August 2, 1942 Edith and her sister were taken by the Nazis to the camp at Amersfoot and then moved to Westerbork. There Edith cared for and fed children whose parents were unable to, she also cleaned the living quarters as best as possible. On August 9, 1942, Edith and her sister Rose arrived at Auschwitz. Edith, Rose and 262 other Jews were told to move to the shower where they would be cleaned up and deloused. Once in the building, they were murdered with Zyklon-B poison. In October of 1988, Pope John Paul II canonized Stein as a saint.  

So why is Edith Stein on my list? Stein stood tall for what she believed in. She could have fled German much earlier in order to get away from the Nazis. She did not. She stayed and did the work that God called her to. Even in the worst of situations (Amersfoot and Westerbork) Edith Stein took the time to put the needs of others before her own.

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