Quote of the day, 15 February: St. Edith Stein

I ask urgently for prayers in the coming weeks, for I know I will have to earn the holy habit with some severe trials. They have already started in that my mother has begun with renewed vigor to oppose the forthcoming decision. It is so hard to witness the pain and the pangs of conscience of such a mother and to be unable to help with any human means.

Saint Edith Stein

Letter 165 to Mother Petra Brüning, O.S.U. (excerpt)

Note: The “forthcoming decision” was Edith’s formal request to receive the holy habit of Carmel and begin her novitiate in the Carmel of Cologne-Lindenthal. Her novice mistress, Mother Teresia Renata Posselt, O.C.D., describes the events in her biography of St. Edith Stein:

Edith’s six months of probation passed quickly. On 15 February 1934, following the custom of the Order, she knelt before the assembled community and asked to receive the habit of Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel. She was granted her request on 15 April.

During the two months that she was preparing for her clothing, she grew in love and gratitude toward her superiors and her sisters. It was not easy for her to grasp that, as the “bride-to-be,” she should be the object of so much attention and solicitude on the part of her Sisters.

Everyone was busy helping her to prepare for her clothing as it drew nearer.

Besides the bridal dress, all the clothes she would need in the convent had to be made – a long white tunic of wool, a pair of rope sandals, a rosary with big beads, and a coarse brown handkerchief.

She had to go from one workroom to another to try on first one thing and then another; and though nothing more was done for her than for anyone else, she accepted each service as though it were a special token of love for herself.

Posselt, T 2005, Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite, translated from the German by Batzdorff S, Koeppel J, and Sullivan J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

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.

Featured image: An excerpt from the rite of clothing of the Discalced Carmelite friars found in the 1931 Manuale OCD (Publisher: Typis societatis S. Joannis Evangelistae, Desclée, Paris, 1949 edition).

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