Convert. Philosopher. Professor. Carmelite. Martyr. Saint.
All of these words describe the amazing, inspiring life of Saint Edith Stein, whose feast day the Church celebrates on August 9th. Her writings inspired future saints, her thoughts on womanhood define the New Feminism encouraged by Saint Pope John Paul II and the story of her life tells of a woman who would not be silenced.
At a young age, Edith left behind her family’s Jewish faith, and became an avowed atheist during her teenage years. The writings of Saint Theresa of Avila sparked Edith’s interest in the Catholic Church. She was baptized a Catholic at the age of 31.
Breaking gender stereotypes of her era, she then became a Catholic professor in Germany. But when the Nazi Regime’s requirement for the “Aryan certificate” was enforced, she gave up her position and discerned into the Carmelite order.
Her writings on women and philosophy inspired Saint Pope John Paul II. At her canonization Mass in 1998, Pope John Paul II said, “This woman had to face the challenges of such a radically changing century as our own.”
Saint Edith Stein is a saint for the modern woman. She lived her life boldly, and to this day inspires women to do the same. Here are six quotes that Saint Edith Stein wrote on the dignity of women, the new feminism, and the feminine genius.
1. “The world doesn’t need what women have, it needs what women are.”
2. “Each woman who lives in the light of eternity can fulfill her vocation, no matter if it is in marriage, in a religious order, or in a worldly profession.”
3. “Women comprehend not merely with the intellect but also with the heart.”
4. “The woman’s soul is fashioned as a shelter in which other souls may unfold.”
5. “When you seek truth, you seek God whether you know it or not.”
6. “Woman naturally seeks to embrace that which is living, personal, and whole. To cherish, guard, protect, nourish and advance growth is her natural, maternal yearning.”