Quote of the day, 26 December: St. Edith Stein

Dear Anneliese,

From the cloistered solitude (at the Ursulines in Westphalia, with whom I have been allowed to celebrate Christmas) I return your good wishes most cordially. Before all else, I would like to answer your question.

There is a vocation to suffer with Christ and thereby to cooperate with him in his work of salvation.

When we are united with the Lord, we are members of the mystical body of Christ: Christ lives on in his members and continues to suffer in them. And the suffering borne in union with the Lord is his suffering, incorporated in the great work of salvation and fruitful therein.

That is a fundamental premise of all religious life, above all of the life of Carmel, to stand proxy for sinners through voluntary and joyous suffering, and to cooperate in the salvation of humankind.

With cordial wishes and greetings, your
Edith Stein

Saint Edith Stein

Letter 129
The second day of Christmas [26 December] 1932

Note: Anneliese Lichtenburger was a student of Edith Stein’s at the teachers college of the Dominican Sisters, St. Magdalena, Speyer.

Manuscript Illumination with the Martyrdom of Saint Stephen in an Initial E
Niccolò di Giacomo da Bologna (Italian, 15th c.)
Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment, ca. 1394 –1402
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (via Wikimedia Commons, public domain)

Gallery label: An archbishop of Lucca, whose family served as bankers to the pope, commissioned Niccolò da Bologna, a renowned illuminator, to create a set of choir books for the Carthusian monastery in nearby Farneta. In the nineteenth century, the monks had to sell the books, which eventually were cut up and divided among collectors. From this single initial, it is easy to understand Niccolò’s fame. He infused the harrowing scene of the stoning of Stephen with elegance—in the lines of flowing drapery, touches of gold, and vibrant color. At the same time, he intensified the drama by compressing five figures and an outsized throne into the confines of the letter and then, after the scene was painted, emphatically separating the evil men from the saint with the finishing pink stroke of the crossbar of the E.

Stein, E. 1993, Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated from the German by Koeppel, J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

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