The Church keeps the feast of St Benedicta of the Cross on 9th August, the best guess for the date of her death in a concentration camp in 1942. Her original name was Edith Stein, as the eleventh child of a Jewish family. She lost all apparent faith as she grew up and then, studying philosophy in her native Germany under a famous Christian philosopher, found her faith, becoming a Catholic, and in time a Carmelite nun. She wrote later that belief in the resurrection came to her as something quite new. She became a professor of philosophy but persecution of the Jews meant she lost her post. In the convent she entered, her mother superior soon decided Edith would be safer out of the country and in 1938 she went to a convent in Holland. The nationwide public protest of the Dutch bishops against persecution of the Jews resulted in a backlash where even nuns like Edith (and her sister) were seized. She gave great supportive example to the end, as others were able later to report. Our belief in the resurrection sheds light on the present life, to respect our neighbour, also called to the heavenly banquet. Saint Benedicta gives that supreme example.
Pastoral Notes 3rd August, 2014