Quote of the day: 21 April

J.M.+J.T.

Cologne-Lindenthal, April 25, 1935

Pax Christi!

Very Reverend and dear Mother Petra,

The Bridegroom sends you the little wreath of myrtle with which your love decorated him, him as well as the bridal candle, the candles on the table, the napkin, cutlery, etc. The Bride wore a wreath of white roses. I was very happy to hear where the adornments came from. Heartfelt thanks for them. We have not yet finished discussing what else I am to receive from you. I thought of an emblem and lining for a vestment since the silk of the bridal dress has not yet been used and has been waiting for the necessary accessories since the Clothing Day. But perhaps our dear Mother [Mother Josepha, the prioress] will think of something more urgent.

When you visit us again — after all, we’ve been anticipating it with joy all winter — we will recount everything that happened from the first hours of the morning until night on this beautiful Easter Sunday. One cannot write about it in such detail. The Veiling ceremony will come only three years from now, after perpetual profession. For us, the preparation consists primarily of a ten-day retreat made in total silence and solitude. During that time we are allowed to live like hermits. I will tell you about the daily schedule when I see you.

The Bride wore a wreath of white roses

For my meditation, I had our Holy Father John’s Dark Night and the Gospel of John. Usually, on the day before Profession, before dinner, one makes a public admission of one’s faults. I was allowed to do that at noon on the Wednesday of Holy Week so that it would not interrupt the silence of the Holy Triduum. I found it especially good [to comply with that custom] before the first of the Tenebrae offices — once they begin one wants to leave off all occupation with oneself. On Saturday evening I was called [to come for a few minutes to see the community] during recreation time; I received from each Sister the promise of a spiritual bouquet and a commendation of intentions.

Richly laden I then returned to the choir. Of course, out of the great riches of grace on this Easter day, I let all those have a share who have given me something of their heart to take along into Carmel.

Once more, sincere thanks for all your goodness and love. In caritate Christi, your Sister

Teresa Benedicta a Cruce, OCD

Saint Edith Stein’s Letter 198 to Mother Petra Brüning, OSU
Self-Portrait In Letters, 1916-1942 (The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)


Notes:

  • It was customary to place a small statue of the Infant Jesus on the head table in the refectory where the newly-professed is seated next to the prioress. Myrtle is used to create a small wreath for the statue of the Infant, the “Bridegroom”, who faces his “Bride”, wearing a garland of white roses. Edith sent the myrtle wreath that had been used on the statue to Mother Petra, who had provided it and all the flowers and decorations for the celebration.
  • Edith refers to the Chapter of Faults, where even to this day in many Discalced Carmelite monasteries, nuns will gather in the Chapter Room of the monastery to listen to the prioress give a brief spiritual reflection on an aspect of community life and how it applies to the Carmelite Rule and their Constitutions. The nuns then take a spiritual and moral inventory, reviewing their life together; each one admits her public faults and begs forgiveness of her sisters. On occasions like religious profession, a nun will individually and publicly admit her faults and ask for forgiveness outside of the community Chapter of Faults. Since her profession rite took place on Easter Sunday, Edith made her public admission on Holy Wednesday; she gives the reasons why.
  • During the retreat days prior to her profession on Easter Sunday, Edith would have assisted at the Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours in the nuns’ choir. However, she would have veiled her face with her great veil (grand Voile) when in the presence of the community so as to maintain the spirit of solitude where the Discalced Carmelites “are allowed to live like hermits,” as Edith describes above. In the photo below, the veil that you see extending over her shoulders is the great veil, while the small veil (petit Voile) tucks inside her scapular. In her hermit days while on retreat, we see that Edith preferred to spend extra hours of solitary prayer in the choir near Christ in the tabernacle while the rest of the community was occupied at recreation.

[Sources: Leuven, Stinissen & Gelber; Carmel of Haifa]

First Profession_Easter 21 April 1935

Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 15 April

J.M.+J.T.

Cologne-Lindenthal, <Easter Week, 1934>

Pax Christi!

Reverend and dear Mother Petra,

Before I go into holy silence, I feel compelled to send you heartfelt thanks for the charming Easter package. Our dear Mother <M. Josefa>, Mother Subprioress <Teresa Renata> and I happily unpacked it together, and on Holy Saturday night, an Easter rabbit and an Easter candle were stationed in every cell of the novices. I received the beautiful wooden candlestick with the large Easter candle, although I surmise this large light was intended for the Novice Mistress <Teresa 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, 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 [with this letter] 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.

May I beg you, together with your community, to help us with a very important intention? On the 11th, the General Chapter of the Congregation of Beuron will begin in Gerleve. We know there are very important questions to solve. Will you join us in prayers to the Holy Spirit for a successful outcome? I am also a bit interested in it personally. If Father Archabbot <Raphael Walzer> can close the Chapter on the 14th, he will be on time here to conduct the Clothing. But that, of course, is a small matter compared to all that is at stake there. I hardly need to say that I tell you this in confidence. I believe you will be happy to help because of your love for the Benedictine way of life.

Particular thanks for the Easter Prefaces: they are helping me celebrate the beautiful octave. And above all, thank you again for your love that I have in no way earned.

Always faithfully mindful of you, your grateful

Edith Stein

Letter 168 to Mother Petra Brüning, OSU, Dorsten
Original in Convent Archive of Ursuline Sisters, Dorsten

Edith-Stein_clothing-bridal-
Edith Stein on her clothing day, 15 April 1934 | Photo: Discalced Carmelite Order

 

Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

 

Quote of the day: 29 March

So far we still live in deep peace, entirely unmolested within our cloister walls. But the fate of our Spanish sisters tells us, all the same, what we must be prepared for. And when such profound upheaval takes place in such close proximity, it is a salutary warning.

Saint Edith Stein

Letter 283 to Sister Callista Kopf, O.P. (excerpt)
Cologne-Lindenthal, 7 May 1937

Guadalajara_portrait
The Discalced Carmelite Martyrs of Guadalajara

“The fate of our Spanish sisters” refers to the assassination on 24 July 1936 at Guadalajara, Spain, of three Discalced Carmelite nuns who were killed for their fidelity to the faith. Sisters María Pilar de San Francisco de Borja, María Ángeles de San José, and Teresa del Niño Jesús y de San Juan de la Cruz were beatified by Saint John Paul II on 29 March 1987, 33 days before he beatified Edith Stein.

Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

 

 

Quote of the day: March 22

Whoever knows God (in the measure in which knowledge of God is possible through natural and supernatural light) cannot do other than love Him; whoever loves Him cannot do other than serve Him.

Thus, matters of mind and heart, achievement and act of will are living faith. He who knows how to awaken faith trains all faculties. But one can only awaken it when one also summons up all the faculties. This cannot be done through tedious intellectual instruction, but it also cannot be done through fanatic instruction which “appeals to the emotions”; on the contrary, this can be done only through a religious instruction which leads from the fullness of one’s own religious life to the depths of the Godhead, an instruction which is able to present God in His kindness; such instruction enkindles love and exacts proof through deed, and it may so challenge because one achieves this by oneself. Wherever the soul is enkindled, that soul itself longs for action; and it eagerly grasps the forms of practical life for which God and Holy Church have provided: participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, a participation which consummates the holy sacrifice as an offering in union with the Eucharistic Lord, festive praise of God, and all works of love in which Christ is served in the members of His Mystical Body. The entire abundance of the supernatural world of the spirit is opened to the soul thereby, and an inexhaustible abundance of formative material which enters into it is thus able to build up and transform it.

Saint Edith Stein

Excerpt from Fundamental Principles of Women’s Education
Published in Stimmen der Zeit, monthly review of contemporary intellectual life, March 1931, No. 6

Nat Farbman_BessonneauChildcare_LifeMagazine_Feb19449
Child care is provided by nuns from Catholic Sisters of Charity for the women workers of Bessonneau factory. This photo by photographer Nat Farbman appeared in a February, 1949 issue of LIFE magazine. Nat Farbman was born in 1907 in Poland and he arrived in the United States at the age of four. He began working as a freelance photographer while studying electrical engineering at the University of Santa Clara. During his fifteen years as a LIFE Magazine staff photographer, he was considered one of its most versatile practitioners. He died in 1988. | Kristine / Flickr 
Essays On Woman
Edited by Dr. Lucy Gelber and Romaeus Leuven, OCD; Translated by Freda Mary Oben, Ph.D.
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 2 (p. 29)
ICS Publications, Washington D.C. © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

See more photos from LIFE magazine photographer Nat Farbman here

EDITH - You reign on the Almighty's throne transfigured
Excerpt from I Will Remain With You . . . an undated poem by St. Edith Stein; the original manuscript is preserved in the archives of the Carmel of Cologne. It is assumed that the origin of the poem was Edith’s departure from the Cologne Carmel for the Carmel of Echt, Holland, 31 December 1938. [Source: Dr. Lucy Gelber, The Hidden Life: Hagiographic Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, p. 146]

Quote of the day: 2 February

“The Christian mysteries are an indivisible whole. If we become immersed in one, we are led to all the Others. Thus the way from Bethlehem leads inevitably to Golgotha, from the crib to the Cross. When the blessed Virgin brought the Child to the temple, Simeon prophesied that her soul would be pierced by a sword, that this Child was set for the fall and the resurrection of many, for a sign that would be contradicted. His prophecy announced the Passion, the light between light and darkness that already showed itself before the crib.

“In some years Candlemas and Septuagesima are celebrated almost together, the feast of the Incarnation and the preparation of the Passion. The star of Bethlehem shines in the night of sin. The shadow of the Cross falls on the light that shines from the crib. The light is extinguished in the darkness of Good Friday, but it rises all the more brilliantly as the sun of grace on the morning of the Resurrection. The way of the incarnate Son of God leads through the Cross and Passion to the glory of the Resurrection. In his company the way of every one of us, indeed of all mankind, leads through suffering and death to this same glorious goal.”

Saint Edith Stein
The Mystery of Christmas

 

Edith Stein was confirmed on 2 February 1922: On Candlemas Day 1922 she had received the Sacrament of Confirmation in the house chapel of His Excellency Dr. Ludwig Sebastian.” (Mother Teresia Renata Posselt, OCD)

 

Quote of the Day: 17 January

For a long while now I have hardly been able to do any work. From the beginning of September until the middle of December, I took care of our good, eldest lay sister, Sr. Clara (cancer of the liver, as far as the doctors can tell). Then I got the office of turn-sister [portress], which means being a contact between the cloister and the outside world. You can imagine that for this one needs a serviceable walking apparatus. I hope to be allowed to make my perpetual profession on April 21. Soon thereafter follows the Veiling Ceremony. That is, again, a big public celebration that the beloved baptismal sponsor [Hedwig Conrad-Martius] should not miss. Hopefully the League of Academics will again cover the cost of travel. We celebrated the 300th Jubilee Year of the Cologne Carmel for four days at the end of September/beginning of October. Our dear Mother <Teresa Renata> wrote a beautiful commemorative booklet for the occasion. I believe you will receive it as a gift when you next visit us.

Do you know that Husserl’s health is very poor? This summer he suffered a severe recurrence of pleurisy and is not recovering well from it. Would you write to him sometime perhaps? They now live in Freiburg-Herdern, at Schöneck 6.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein
Letter 257 to Hedwig Conrad-Martius, 17 January 1938

Quote of the day: 6 January

Today we live again in a time that urgently needs to be renewed at the hidden springs of God-fearing souls… It is not necessary that we experience the epiphany in our lives. We may live in confident certainty that what the Spirit of God secretly effects in us bears its fruits in the kingdom of God. We will see them in eternity.

St Teresa Benedicta
(The Hidden Life and Epiphany)

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 9

SCRIPTURE READING
Hosea 2:2-17

Denounce your mother, denounce her,
for she is not my wife
nor am I her husband.
Let her rid her face of her whoring,
and her breasts of her adultery,
or else I will strip her naked,
expose her as on the day she was born;
I will make a wilderness of her,
turn her into an arid land,
and leave her to die of thirst.
I will not love her children,
since they are the children of whoring.
Yes, their mother has played the whore,
she who conceived them has disgraced herself.
“I am going to court my lovers,” she said,
“who give me my bread and water,
my wool, my flax, my oil and my drink.”
She would not acknowledge, not she,
that I was the one who was giving her
the corn, the wine, the oil,
and who freely gave her that silver and gold
of which they have made Baals.

That is why, when the time comes, I mean to withdraw my corn,
and my wine, when the season for it comes.
I will retrieve my wool, my flax,
that were intended to cover her nakedness;
so will I display her shame before her lovers’ eyes
and no one shall rescue her from my power.
I will Jay her vines and fig trees waste,
those of which she used to say,
“These are the pay my lovers gave me”;
I am going to make them into thickets
for the wild beasts to ravage.
I will put an end to all her rejoicing,
her feasts, her New Moons, her sabbaths
and all her solemn festivals.
I mean to make her pay for all the days
when she burned offerings to the Baals
and decked herself with rings and necklaces
to court her lovers,
forgetting me.
It is Yahweh who is speaking.

That is why I am going to block her way with thorns,
and wall her in so that she cannot find her way;
she will chase after her lovers and never catch up with them,
she will search for them and never find them.
Then she will say, “I will go back to my first husband,
I was happier then than I am today.”

That is why I am going to lure her
and lead her out into the wilderness
and speak to her heart.
I am going to give her back her vineyards,
and make the Valley of Achor a gateway of hope.
There she will respond to me as she did when she was young,
as she did when she came out of the land of Egypt.

When that day comes – it is Yahweh who speaks she
will call me “My husband,”
no longer will she call me “My Baal.”
I will take the names of the Baals off her lips,
their names shall never be uttered again.

MEDITATION
The Science of the Cross 12.C.

The secret ladder

Dark contemplation is the secret ladder: secret as is mystical theology that is communicated and infused into the soul through love.

The mystical wisdom is therefore also called secret because it has the characteristic of hiding the soul within itself. . . . Occasionally, it so engulfs the soul in its secret abyss that she has the keen awareness of being brought into a place far removed from every creature. She accordingly feels that she has been led into a remarkably deep and vast wilderness unattainable by any human being, into an immense, unbounded desert. And this, for her, is the more delightful, pleasant, and lovely, the deeper, vaster, and more solitary it is. She is conscious of being so much more hidden, the more she is raised above every created being. This abyss of wisdom elevates and enriches the soul to a high degree: it engulfs her in the veins of the science of love and lets her know in this way how base are creatures in comparison with the lofty, divine knowledge and feelings, and gives her an insight into how lowly, inadequate, and entirely incapable all images and words are with which one speaks of divine things in this life.

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.

Wadi Rum_Julien Lavallee-93746-unsplash
Wadi Rum, Aqaba, Jordan | Photo by Julien Lavallée on Unsplash

 

August 9: 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.”

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 4

SCRIPTURE READING
John 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said, ‘Woman why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water,’ and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now,’ he told them, ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said, ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink, but you have kept the best wine till now.’

This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.

MEDITATION
A Chosen Vessel of Divine Wisdom:

Sr. Marie-Aimée de Jésus of the Carmel of the Avenue de Saxe in Paris 1839–1874

Nazareth

“A page from the great book of God’s mercy” is what Sister Marie-Aimée called her life. This life is very simple in its external course, but has an inner richness that can only be hinted at in a short biography. Those who would like to know more about it must refer to her own writings.

A delicate face of angelic purity and spirituality, big, soft, and deeply penetrating eyes that have knowledge of the supernatural world as well as of their natural home—this is Dorothea Quoniam, who in Carmel received the name of Marie-Aimée de Jésus. This name tells the secret of her life: “loved by Jesus” with an overwhelming, jealous love that laid total claim to her from her very first day.

Occasionally, [Jesus] revealed himself to her in human form and each time corresponding to her age, so that he seemed to grow up with her. When she was nineteen, her relatives wanted to arrange her future. One day they introduced a young man to her, and, after an opening conversation, let her know that he came as a suitor. Dorothea said not a word. She only smiled, but this smile was of a kind that made the poor fellow lower his eyes, blush, and wish that he had never come. The Lord had revealed himself beside this young man “in the full radiance of his virginal beauty” and said, “Compare!” At the same time, a smile of divine irony played about his lips and evoked its reflection in the face of his bride. The first attempt of this kind was rejected, and she knew how to refuse all thereafter with calm firmness.

She had already known when she moved to her “Nazareth” that her aim was the “desert” of Carmel. But she had to await the Lord’s hour.

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.

Sports for peace
Community members from El Sereif, North Darfur, perform traditional wedding songs in a cultural and sports event organized by UNAMID as part of the campaign “We need peace now”.
Learn more about this photo by Alberto Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID
The Hidden Life: hagiographic essays, meditations, spiritual texts
Edited by L. Gelber and Michael Linssen; translated by Waltraut Stein
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4 
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.
Peyerstraat sidewalk tile
This plaque marks the spot on Peyerstraat in Echt, Holland where Edith and Rosa Stein were arrested at 5:00 p.m. in the evening

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 3

Scripture – Wisdom 6:14-16

Get up early in the morning to find her, and you will have no problem; you will find her sitting at your door. To fasten your attention on Wisdom is to gain perfect understanding. If you look for her, you will soon find peace of mind, because she will be looking for those who are worthy of her, and she will find you wherever you are. She is kind and will be with you in your every thought.

Reading – Saint Edith Stein, Letter 309 to Sr. Maria Electa Sommer, O.C.D.

With all my heart I join in the celebration of Your Charity’s big feast. Two years ago [February 11, 1938] Our Lady of Lourdes brought me acceptance for my perpetual profession. So it is a very special day to remember for me, too. We will unite our petitions and our thanks, won’t we? It is a joy for heaven and earth when another soul gives herself completely to the Lord. May our dear Queen of Peace make Your Charity an angel of peace for the beloved Cologne Carmel and for all of troubled humanity.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

The Marie du jour – May 6

 

Divine virginity has a characteristic aversion to sin as the contrary of divine holiness. However, this aversion to sin gives rise to an indomitable love for sinners. Christ has come to tear sinners away from sin and to restore the divine image in defiled souls. He comes as the child of sin—his genealogy and the entire history of the Old Covenant show this—and he seeks the company of sinners so as to take all the sins of the world upon himself and carry them away to the infamous wood of the cross, which thereby precisely becomes the sign of his victory. This is precisely why virginal souls do not repulse sinners. The strength of their supernatural purity knows no fear of being sullied. The love of Christ impels them to descend into the darkest night. And no earthly maternal joy resembles the bliss of a soul permitted to enkindle the light of grace in the night of sins. The way to this is the cross. Beneath the cross the Virgin of virgins becomes the Mother of Grace.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Beneath the cross the Virgin of virgins becomes the Mother of Grace.
2018-05-06 (2)
The Crucifixion with Saints and a Donor (detail)
Joos van Cleve (Netherlandish, ca. 1485–1540/41) and a collaborator
Oil on wood, ca. 1520
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Text
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 4, (pp. 113-114)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

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