Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.Isaiah 30:18
Waiting. It is so hard to wait. Yet, Edith Stein waited patiently while discerning her vocation to religious life. This was her heart’s passion and greatest dream. To enter the Carmelite order as her beloved St. Teresa of Avila, the saint who helped lead her into the Catholic Church.
As a Jewish convert to the Catholic faith, Saint Edith Stein knew right away that she wanted to be a nun. She tried a number of times to enter the convent, but each time she was denied. God knew it wasn’t time yet, and Saint Edith Stein never gave up on the dream that God placed in her heart.
After 11 long years, Saint Edith Stein was finally accepted as a Carmelite. Can you imagine how her heart must have ached during those eleven years? Not only had she accepted Christ and converted from Judaism to Catholicism, but God had also chosen her to serve Him as a religious sister. She was eager, but patient. She knew how to pray in the waiting and wanting and to stay close to the God that had called her to become a Catholic nun.
Much of the waiting came due to the circumstances surrounding her at the time. There was concern over her leaving her family after she had already become Catholic, there was concern for her as a Jewish believer in the middle of World War II in Nazi Germany and there was concern for her as an intellectual and academic who would have to attend to the often-mundane tasks of daily life in the convent.
But Saint Edith Stein did not grow weary in the wait. She held on to God and as God moved, so did she. Step by step she followed God’s call while waiting for him to answer the call of her heart.
Through this novena, we will learn from Saint Edith Stein how to wait well. This includes how to let go of our own plans for God’s, how to carry our crosses and how prayer can guide us through a waiting period.
While we pray each of the nine days, let us marry Saint Edith Stein’s words to the words of sacred scripture, using each day of prayer to draw us closer to Christ. May God be present in our thoughts and in our words as we pray this novena. Let us make this a beautiful time of waiting with God!
Carmelite Quotes welcomes author Melissa Presser, who prayerfully composed this year’s St. Edith Stein Novena. Melissa Presser is a Jewish girl who was led home to the Catholic Church by St. Edith Stein. Melissa writes about redemptive suffering and finding God in the dark at MissioDeiCatholic.org. Find out more about her conversion and ministry at MelissaPresser.com.
Pray each day with St. Edith Stein
“To suffer and be happy“
Love of the Cross:
Some Thoughts for the Feast of St. John of the Cross
“You can be at all fronts“
Elevation of the Cross, September 14, 1939:
Ave Crux, Spes Unica!
“A heavier cross”
Letter 230 to Elly Dursy,
25 November 1936
“God the Creator is present”
The Science of the Cross
“To discover a greater expanse”
Potency and Act
“Drawn into God”
Letter 45 to Sr. Callista Kopf, OP,
12 February 1928
“The ability to harmonize”
Essays on Woman
“God is truth”
Letter 259 to Sr. Adelgundis Jaegerschmid, OSB,
23 March 1938
“It is the twelfth hour”
Letter 296 to Mother Ottilia Thannisch, OCD,
26 March 1939
Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death
to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God, forever and ever.
All scripture references are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America as accessed from the Bible Gateway website.
Don’t become discouraged and give up prayer, says St. John of the Cross. We offer varying novenas to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, as well as novenas to St. Joseph, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Sts. Louis and Zélie Martin, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, and St. Edith Stein.Let us unite in prayer