Quote of the day, 27 February: St. Edith Stein

You have asked me twice, I believe, whether I have any connection to Gertrud von le Fort’s Carmelite novella. She hit upon the material without my having anything to do with it.

However, soon thereafter she came to see me in Munich, and one afternoon we spoke about Carmel, from which she was spiritually still rather distant at that time. She only became engrossed in it through her work on the novella. Naturally, she has also visited us when she was here [in Cologne], and was very happy to have the two hours at the grate.

Saint Edith Stein

Letter 196 to Mother Petra Brüning, O.S.U.
27 February 1935 (excerpt)

Note: Mother Teresa of St. Augustine and her fifteen companions were the subjects of Gertrud von Le Fort’s novella, “Die Letzte am Schafott” (English title: The Song at the Scaffold), a work of historical fiction published in 1931. The English translation appeared in 1933. In 1947, French author Georges Bernanos wrote a screenplay based on von Le Fort’s novella; the screenplay was produced as a film in 1960 under the title, “Dialogues des Carmélites.” But as early as 1951 Bernanos’ screenplay had been adapted for the theatre. This was the script that inspired Francis Poulenc to compose his opera, “Dialogues des Carmélites,” using the script for his libretto.

The Blessed Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne | Image credit: Le Mémorial des Carmélites Martyres, Carmel of Jonquières

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: Hélène Guilmette (left) appeared as Sister Constance and Isabel Bayrakdarian (right) as Blanche de la Force in the Canadian Opera Company’s 2013 production of Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites. Image credit: Michael Cooper/Canadian Opera Company via Flickr (Some rights reserved)

2 thoughts on “Quote of the day, 27 February: St. Edith Stein

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  1. Tengo entendido que es posible que canonicen pronto a las Mártires, me alegro mucho. Conozco su historia. Vi la película hace muchos años y me impresionó, luego compré el libro y el Oratorio de F. Poulenc con el mismo título de “Diálogos de Carmelitas”. Que ellas rueguen por todos, y sobre todo por los perseguidos y mártires por nuestra Fe. Gracias por compartir.

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