9 August: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

August 9
SAINT TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS
Virgin and Martyr

Memorial

Edith Stein was born to a Jewish family at Breslau on October 12, 1891. Through her passionate study of philosophy, she searched after truth and found it in reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Jesus. In 1922 she was baptized a Catholic and in 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne, where she took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942, during the Nazi persecution, and died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel. A woman of singular intelligence and learning, she left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II at Cologne on May 1, 1987.

From the common of martyrs or of virgins

THE SECOND READING

(Edith Stein Werke (Freiburg, 1987), 11:124-126)

From the spiritual writings of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Ave Crux, spes unica!

We greet you, Holy Cross, our only hope! The church puts these words on our lips during the time of the passion, which is dedicated to the contemplation of the bitter sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world is in flames. The struggle between Christ and antichrist rages openly, and so if you decide for Christ you can even be asked to sacrifice your life.

Contemplate the Lord who hangs before you on the wood, because he was obedient even to the death of the cross. He came into the world not to do his own will but that of the Father. And if you wish to be the spouse of the Crucified, you must renounce completely your own will and have no other aspiration than to do the will of God.

Before you, the Redeemer hangs on the cross stripped and naked, because he chose poverty. Those who would follow him must renounce every earthly possession.

Stand before the Lord who hangs from the cross with his heart torn open. He poured out the blood of his heart in order to win your heart. In order to follow him in holy chastity, your heart must be free from every earthly aspiration. Jesus Crucified must be the object of your every longing, of your every desire, of your every thought.

The world is in flames: the fire can spread even to our house, but above all the flames the cross stands on high, and it cannot be burnt. The cross is the way which leads from earth to heaven. Those who embrace it with faith, love, and hope are taken up, right into the heart of the Trinity.

The world is in flames: do you wish to put them out? Contemplate the cross: from his open heart, the blood of the Redeemer pours, blood which can put out even the flames of hell. Through the faithful observance of the vows, you make your heart open; and then the floods of that divine love will be able to flow into it, making it overflow and bear fruit to the furthest reaches of the earth.

Through the power of the cross, you can be present wherever there is pain, carried there by your compassionate charity, by that very charity which you draw from the divine heart. That charity enables you to spread everywhere the most precious blood in order to ease pain, save and redeem.

The eyes of the Crucified gaze upon you. They question you and appeal to you. Do you wish seriously to renew your alliance with him? What will your response be? Lord, where shall I go? You alone have the words of life. Ave Crux, spes unica!

RESPONSORY

We preach Christ Crucified, a scandal to the Jews
and foolishness to the pagans,
but for those who are called, whether they be Jews or Greeks,
we preach Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.

The desire of my heart and my prayer
rises to God for their salvation;
but for those who are called, whether they be Jews or Greeks,
we preach Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.

PRAYER

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,
one God, forever and ever.

 

Auschwitz_main-gate
On the main gate for visitors to Auschwitz, the Nazis affixed this motto: WORK SETS YOU FREE. But for the millions who passed through the railway entrance, there was no freedom to be found and no truth in the motto.
As St. Teresa Benedicta wrote of the Nazis in a letter dated July 10, 1940:
“one must, after all, tell those poor people the real truth for once.”

Quote of the day: 3 August

The testimony of Dr. Lenig

 

I met Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, known in the camp as Edith Stein, on the 2nd of August 1942, in the transit camp at Amersfoort, in barracks No. 9, if I am not mistaken.

[Nota Bene: Other sources clarified that Edith and Rosa arrived at Camp Amersfoort on August 3 after processing in Roermond]

On that Sunday all Catholics of Jewish, or partly Jewish, ancestry were arrested by the German hangmen’s helpers as a reprisal for a pastoral letter that had been read from the pulpits of all Dutch churches the previous Sunday. They were taken away and at first assembled at Amersfoort before being deported from there to the gas chambers and crematoria…

 

Amersfoort-Camp-entry
Entrance, Camp Amersfoort | faceme / Flickr

 

When your Sister, together with about three hundred men, women and children had been driven behind the barbed wire fence of the camp, they had to stand for hours on the barrack-square, where they could watch, just as a pleasant welcome, a roll call that had been in progress for two or three days. It was to punish the entire camp, so far as I rememberone of the starving internees who had “stolen” some dry bread that had been thrown away. That is to say, some of them were still standing, the rest had collapsed and were being variously mishandled to get them on their feet again.

Among those still standing I noticed an inflexible opponent of the Third Reich, Ministerial Director Dr. Lazarus, who, like the new arrivals, was a courageous and avowed Catholic. Nor can I forget how the day was one long series of kickings and beatings, although these were tolerable.

More upsetting was the condition of most of the women… It was at this moment that Edith Stein courageously showed her commitment.

It must be mentioned that, to begin with, all were released who had been brought in by mistake, Protestants, Greek (Bulgarian) Orthodox, etc., and then the monotony of camp life set in. Roll calls and nightly deportations.

With diligence, they read the Imitation of Christ that someone had smuggled in; a Trappist faithfully said Holy Mass for themhis six brothers and sisters who had all joined the same Order were with him [the Loeb family], all prepared for transport. Holy Communion was distributed diligently, and despite the harassment by the SS, every one of this flock destined for death steadfastly sang the Confiteor daily, until the last of them had gone their way…

 

Loeb Family Trappists Koningshoeven Abbey website
The martyrs of the Loeb family, Dutch Trappists who were deported from the Netherlands on the same date and in the same transport as Edith and Rosa Stein. Read the Trappist generalate’s tribute to the Loeb family martyrs here. | Photo credit: Koningshoeven Abbey

 

It was also very moving to see the response of this brave flock of believers when they heard that there were priests somewhere in the camp; immediately they gave up some of their meager rations, their tobacco, their money, etc., that were now useless to them but might help the priests to placate their torturers and so hope to experience the day of liberation.


 

Doctor Fritz Lenig  (Friedrich Moritz Levinsohn) was a native of Gelsenkirchen, Germany;  he was a physician, entrepreneur, and a refugee in the Netherlands like Edith, Rosa, and so many others. He had been arrested and was interned at Camp Amersfoort at the same time that the transport arrived carrying the Carmelite Stein sisters and the Trappist Loeb family, as well as the Dominican Sister Judith Mendes Da Costa and other Catholics of Jewish ancestry.

Saint Edith Stein’s first biographerher Cologne novice mistress and prioress Mother Teresia Renata Posselt, O.C.D.indicates that after the war the Sisters in Cologne, Echt, the friars at the Discalced Carmelite General Curia, as well as family and friends of Edith worldwide were anxiously searching for news of the whereabouts of Edith and Rosa. As far as the Order, family, and friends were concerned, the Stein sisters were still considered to be missing persons and everyone held out hope for their return:

“Neither the office of the Father General of the Carmelite Order in Rome, nor the relatives in America, nor the Carmelite convents in either Germany, Holland or Switzerland were able to discover any trace of them.”

An unexpected article published in l’Osservatore Romano at the Vatican in 1947 prompted a new flurry of activity and inquiries. Written in a very authoritative tone, the biographical article entitled “From Judaism to the University and Thence to Carmel” indicated that Edith and her sister were beaten, imprisoned, and then killed “either in a gas chamber or as some think, by being thrown down into a salt-mine.”

Mother Teresia Renata states that the source of the announcement was untraceable. Nevertheless, coming from a publication as authoritative as l’Osservatore Romano, the news item was reprinted in diocesan newspapers around the world despite errors in Sister Teresa Benedicta’s biography.

 

Mother Teresia Renata Posselt - Edith Stein Archiv
Mother Teresia Renata Posselt, O.C.D. | Edith Stein-Archiv

 

The Cologne Carmelites decided to send a circular letter, as is the custom of Discalced Carmelite nuns; except they decided to distribute thousands of copies across the globe to enlighten, edify, and correct any previous misstatements concerning Edith and Rosa.

As a direct result of the dissemination of that circular letter, the noted German physician, Professor Max Budde from Gelsenkirchen, contacted the nuns in Cologne to tell them that one of his friends from Gelsenkirchen days, Dr. Fritz Lenig was at Camp Amersfoort when Sr. Benedicta and Rosa arrived, but he had been able to escape death.

The nuns in Cologne wasted no time in contacting Dr. Lenig.

The excerpt published here presents the salient points of Dr. Lenig’s response to the inquiry from the Carmel of Cologne concerning the whereabouts of Edith and Rosa, in particular as it pertains to their arrival at Camp Amersfoort on the 3rd of August 1942.

 

Posselt, Teresia Renata. Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite (p. 212). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.

Quote of the day: 3 May

Pacelli in Lisieux posing in the cloister
Apostolic Nuncio Eugenio Pacelli makes an official visitation to the Carmel of Lisieux, 12 July 1937 | Photo: Regina.Pacelli / Facebook

PIUS XII
Apostolic Letter
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Virgin, Carmelite of Lisieux
Secondary Patron of All of France

As the very noble French nation already, for several centuries, has had for principal patroness the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and for secondary patroness, Saint Joan of Arc, since her canonization, the bishops, by mutual agreement considered it opportune, especially in these times of distress, to arrange for the faithful of France to have another special intercession with God, that of the holy Carmelite of Lisieux who, so that the Catholic faith may always and firmly be preserved among her compatriots, has testified to her country a great love by commending it to God as much as possible…

Given at Rome, near St. Peter, under the ring of the Fisherman, the third day of May in the year 1944, the sixth of Our Pontificate.

Read the original text of the Apostolic Letter in Latin here

Read a French translation of the Apostolic Letter here

Learn more about Cardinal Pacelli’s 1937 visit to the Carmel here

 

Quote of the day: 7 April

At another time while I was at prayer, my spirit was carried off to where it seemed to be in a large field in which many were in combat, and those belonging to this order were fighting with great fervor. Their faces were beautiful and very much aglow. They conquered many, throwing them to the ground; others, they killed. It seemed to me this battle was against the heretics.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Life: Chapter 40

Cole, George Vicat, 1833-1893; The Summons to Surrender (An Incident in the Spanish Armada)
The Summons to Surrender (An Incident in the Spanish Armada) | George Vicat Cole (1833–1893) | Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery

 

The second expedition of Discalced Carmelite missionary friars, composed of Fathers Pedro de los Angeles, Sebastián de S. Andrés, Bartolomé de S. Miguel, Luis de S. Pablo, and a lay-friar left Lisbon on this date in the fleet that went to the Portuguese colony of Angola. Off the Cape Verde coast, the ship on which the missionaries were sailing was left behind, which was then trapped by four English galleons captained by privateers. Father Pedro de los Apóstoles, the superior of the friars, exhorted the Portuguese to fight and die for the Catholic faith against the anti-papist English; while he was carrying on, an English sailor slashed his neck with a knife to make all the captive Spaniards and Portuguese fear for their lives; thank God, the wound was not deadly. Thus began the dispossession of the missionaries. The English took everything the priests had brought of value — books, chalices, vestments, etc. — and they roundly mocked the friars; the privateers locked the Carmelites in the galleon’s dungeon, which was a veritable portrait of hell. They continued like this for three days in the virtual belly of the whale, eating but a few crusts of hard bread dipped in seawater. The English were going to torment everyone. But seeing the so-called Spanish “heretics” — the Discalced Carmelites — singing for joy at the opportunity to suffer for Christ, the English galleon abandoned them on one of Cape Verde’s secluded islands. Fr. Sebastián de S. Andrés died on the island. The other four friars took advantage of a Spanish ship to return to Seville. So, the second expedition to Africa failed. [Source: Efemérides Carmelitanas]

The Book of Her Life: Chapter 40; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

ROME – Almost a year since a political and social crisis exploded in Nicaragua, the government and opposition forces along with the local Catholic bishops are still trying to figure out how to sit down to work out a negotiated settlement.

President Daniel Ortega appears determined to remain in power, as he, together with his wife and Vice President Rosario Murillo, were reelected in 2016 to lead the country until 2021.

Yet after a student-led revolt that began in April 2018, both the opposition and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church have called for a series of measures that go from putting an end to violent repression to Ortega calling for early elections.

An earlier attempt at dialogue failed last May-June, and efforts recommenced with the new year.

Bishop-Baez-Vida-Religiosa-Symposium_3Mar19
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. addresses the March 3, 2019 session of the symposium celebrating the 75th anniversary of Religious Life Review (Vida Religiosa) in Madrid, Spain. The topic of his conference was “In Internal and External Conflicts, Mediation and Reconciliation”.

Bishop Silvio Jose Baez, auxiliary of Managua, will stay out of the dialogue efforts this time around, at least officially. He rose last year as a strong voice against the Ortega, often going to Twitter to denounce the repression against protesters. He’s currently in Madrid, where he spoke on Sunday at a conference for the 75th anniversary of the magazine [Vida Religiosa].

During his talk, available on YouTube, Baez said he comes from a country with a “very conflictive history, marked by caudillismo, corruption, electoral fraud. We go from conflict to conflict.”

Yet, he said, Nicaragua is once again trying to find a “peaceful and dialogic solution to the conflict. It’s the hardest one, but the only one that can guarantee…”

Read more from Ines San Martin on CRUX

LAFISE’S Roberto Zamora Says Dialogue Starts Soon — Dr. Minúscula

Special Meeting of the Permanent Council, November 20, 2013
Special Meeting of the OAS Permanent Council, November 20, 2013 | Juan Manuel Herrera/OAS

Roberto Zamora, president of the Lafise financial group, is in Madrid on business. He granted an interview to EFE press agency, in which he spoke about the ongoing crisis in Nicaragua, its economic and financial ramifications, and the need for a dialogue. Zamora is one of the five Nicaraguan businessmen who met with OrMu over the weekend. The Catholic Church, represented by Cardinal Brenes and Apostolic Nuncio Somertag, was also present.

Zamora told EFE that the “dialogue starts tomorrow…”

via LAFISE’S Roberto Zamora Says Dialogue Starts Soon — Dr. Minúscula

Denis Moncada’s Friday at the OAS — Dr. Minúscula

Note from Elijah’s Breeze: From time to time we share images and quotes from Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D., the Discalced Carmelite friar who is the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua, Nicaragua. Agenzia Fides, Crux, and other Catholic news services continue to report on the unfolding drama in that troubled nation as the Church and Catholic laity are violently oppressed. Blogger Dr. Minuscula offers great insight into the situation, particularly from her academic background as a university professor.

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States took the first step towards the application of the OAS Democratic Charter this morning. The PC met today at the request of Secretary General Luis Almagro, who invoked Article 20 of the Democratic Charter. Article 20 states that when the constitutional order in a member state…

via Denis Moncada’s Friday at the OAS — Dr. Minúscula

A prayer of comfort in time of mourning

We seem to give them back to Thee, O God

We seem to give them back to Thee, O God, who gavest them to us. Yet as Thou didst not lose them in giving, so we do not lose them by their return. Not as the world giveth, givest Thou, O lover of souls. What Thou givest, thou takest not away, for what is Thine is ours also, if we are Thine. And life is eternal and love is immortal and death is only an horizon, and an horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.

Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further; cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly; draw us closer to Thyself that we may know ourselves to be nearer our loved ones who are with Thee. And while Thou dost prepare a place for us, prepare us also for that happy place, that where Thou art we may be also forevermore.

1929.6.127_1.tif
Stevenson Memorial, Abbott Handerson Thayer, 1903, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum

“As Thou didst not lose them in giving, so we do not lose them by their return.”

Prayer attributed to Bede Jarrett, O.P.

 

Love for the Divine Office

The Divine Office is so good; I love it with a passion.

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Aachen Carmel
A Discalced Carmelite nun prays the Divine Office in the Carmel of Aachen, Germany
Letter 235 to her Rolland aunts, 1 August 1905 (excerpt)
The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (p. 226)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Rollin’ on the river

Let us come now to speak of the third water by which this garden is irrigated, that is, the water flowing from a river or spring. By this means the garden is irrigated with much less labor, although some labor is required to direct the flow of the water. The Lord so desires to help the gardener here that He Himself becomes practically the gardener and the one who does everything.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Ohio River sunset
The mighty Ohio River
The Book of Her Life: Chapter 16
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Photo: Abigail King/Flickr

 

 

Remain in my love

I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

(John 15:9-10)

MARIAM - CR5 - Lord if you keep me in your love

Follow the Lamb

These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.
(Revelation 14:4)

SABETH - I must follow my lamb

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑