Quote of the day 15 April: St. Edith Stein

I received the beautiful wooden candlestick with the large Easter candle, although I surmise this large light was intended for the Novice Mistress [Teresia Renata]. It will burn for me now during my retreat, when I make my meditation in the solitude of my cell, away from the community.

Our holy Father John of the Cross will be my guide: the Ascent of Mount Carmel. Probably, I will be allowed to begin early on Friday. I would like most of all to remain in solitude until the morning of the Clothing [15 April 1934, Good Shepherd Sunday], but there is a possibility that I will be called out the day before at the request of guests from out of town.

I look forward with so much joy to the silence. As much as I love the Divine Office and as loath as I am to be away from the choir even for the shortest of the Hours—the basis of our life, after all, is the two hours of meditation provided by our schedule. Only since I’ve been enjoying this privilege do I know how much I missed by not having it outside.

Our Reverend Mother will surely be glad to send along the ritual for the Clothing ceremony. It will be so much better if you can read it before it takes place—even though you cannot be present yourself.

Saint Edith Stein

Letter 168 to Mother Petra Brüning (excerpts)
Easter week 1934

An excerpt from the rite of clothing of the Discalced Carmelite friars found in the 1931 Manuale OCD. The rite of clothing for the Discalced Carmelite nuns in 1934 would have been very similar.(Publisher: Typis societatis S. Joannis Evangelistae, Desclée, Paris, 1949 edition).

“Edith Stein rose, took the lighted candle in her hand, and approached the convent door as it opened before her.” #StEdithStein #OnThisDay

An hour before the ceremony began she left the enclosure “as a Bride adorned for her Husband” (Rev 21:2) to receive the guests of honor in the reception room […] For each one of them she had a friendly word, but when the ringing of bells signaled the beginning of the ceremony, she breathed with relief.

At the head of the procession of clergy coming from the sacristy, dressed in his liturgical attire, was the Most Rev. Archabbot [Raphael Walzer of St. Martin’s Benedictine Archabbey in Beuron, Germany] who received Edith at the church door and led her toward the altar. There she knelt at the prie-dieu to follow the liturgy of the Mass that was rendered even more beautiful by the singing of a choir of Third Order Dominicans.

After the High Mass, the celebrant delivered an address that again severely tried the humility of our unassuming Bride of Christ. Then her Carmelite superior, Fr. Theodore [of St. Francis from Regensburg], moved toward her, and there followed a dialogue that has remained unchanged for centuries, in which the postulant bears witness in clear, unambiguous words, before Holy Church and the whole world, to the strength and freedom of the incomparable love that has drawn her and will keep her forever behind the high convent walls in that “enclosure” valued above all else.

Edith Stein rose, took the lighted candle in her hand, and approached the convent door as it opened before her. Awaiting her inside the enclosure were the veiled nuns standing in two ranks, each of them holding a lighted candleOne of the Sisters, stepping forward, held up the crucifix. Edith sank on her knees before it and kissed it. She crossed the threshold and the door closed behind her.

Sister Teresia Renata Posselt, O.C.D.

Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite
15. The Novitiate (excerpts)

Every monastery of Discalced Carmelite nuns is totally autonomous, thus each monastery has its own customs for the entry of postulants and the clothing of novices. Below are two examples from Mexico of the entry of a postulant and the clothing of a novice.

Here we have an example of a new postulant entering the Discalced Carmelite monastery in Puebla, Mexico.
In the Carmel of San José in Tlacopac, Mexico, the clothing of a new novice is a private event among the nuns in the community.

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: Close-up photo of St. Edith Stein on the day of her clothing as a Discalced Carmelite novice in the Carmel of Regina Pacis, Cologne. Image credit: Discalced Carmelites

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