Conversion of Edith Stein, The

Cloth $13; Paper $10
Translation and Preface by Ralph McInerny, 112 pages, introduction, notes, index 4" x 7"

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Conversion of Edith Stein, The

Gaboriau, Florent

One fateful day Edith Stein took from a friend’s bookshelf the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Avila. In it she found the simple truth about human existence. Shortly afterward, she became a Catholic, but her desire to become a Carmelite like Teresa was delayed for some time. Eventually she entered the convent in Cologne. Because of the Nazi persecution of Jews, converted or not, endangered others in her convent, she ask to be moved to a convent in the Netherlands. The German armies of occupation soon followed. It was from the Carmelite convent at Echt that she was taken in 1942, shipped to Auschwitz and executed.

Florent Gaboriau sees Edith Stein’s conversion under three aspects: first the conversion of a Jew, then the conversion of a feminist, finally the conversion of a philosopher. Edith saw her conversion as the fulfillment of herself as Jewish; she saw the uniqueness of woman in the light of the faith; she saw her phenomenology as finding its home within Christian philosophy.

One of the most brilliant women of her generation, she became a model of sanctity. Her canonization by Pope John Paul II was the occasion for strange reactions. Gaboriau’s account of her conversion, and of the saint she became, puts it all into perspective.

"O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You. Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will open before me, and I shall meet it with peace."

– Teresa Benedicta of the Cross