Quote of the day: 23 January

Surrender to Christ does not make us blind and deaf to the needs of others—on the contrary. We now seek for God’s image in each human being and want, above all, to help each human being win his freedom.

Accordingly, we can now also say: the intrinsic value of woman consists essentially in exceptional receptivity for God’s work in the soul, and this value comes to unalloyed development if we abandon ourselves confidently and unresistingly to this work.

Only now have we come to the second part of our theme—the significance of woman for national life. This significance presents itself as a simple conclusion from what has been said.

What is, then, the great sickness of our time and of our people?

There is an inner disunion, a complete deficiency of set convictions and strong principles, an aimless drifting. Therefore, the great mass of humanity seeks for an anesthetic in ever new, ever more refined delights.

Those who wish to maintain a sober level of life, in order to protect themselves from contemporary turmoil, frequently annihilate this level by one-sided professional work; but even they cannot do anything to escape the turmoil.

Only whole human beings as we have described them are immune to the contemporary sickness: such beings are steadfast on eternal first principles, unperturbed in their views and in their actions by the changing modes of thoughts, follies, and depravities surrounding them. Every such individual is like a pillar to which many can fasten themselves, thereby attaining a firm footing.

Consequently, when women themselves are once again whole persons and when they help others to become so, they create healthy, energetic spores supplying healthy energy to the entire national body.

Saint Edith Stein

The Significance of Woman’s Intrinsic Value in National Life (excerpt)
Lecture given at the 15th convention of the Bavarian Catholic Women Teachers in Ludwigshafen on the Rhine, 12 April 1928

 

mothers reaction davidswiftphotography flickr 2200020855
David Swift / Flickr

 

 

Stein, E 1996, Essays on Woman, 2nd edition, translated from the German by Oben, F, ICS Publications, Washington D.C.

Quote of the day: 4 July

Before considering the matter of the ordination of both women and men into the service of God, we must examine the following question. Are both men and women equally capable of, or entitled to, exercise all ministries and jobs in general, or are there ministries, professions and occupations which are exclusively for men and others for women?

I believe that this question also must be answered in the negative, considering strong individual differences between those women who have more masculine traits and those men who exhibit feminine traits. The most important thing is that those professions or jobs which are considered to be “masculine” should be available to women and vice versa. Both women and men can achieve the same degree of expertise at the same job.

Therefore I think it imperative that there should be no legal impediment on this matter…

Here we arrive at the very difficult and much-disputed question of the priesthood of women.

If we consider our Lord’s own conduct on this point, we can see that he readily accepts women in the loving service of himself and his family and that women are among his friends and also among his disciples and closest confidants. But to them, he has not conferred the priesthood. Not even given to his mother, the Queen of the Apostles, who was elevated above the whole of the human race; in human perfection as well as in the fullness of grace.

Saint Edith Stein
Beruf des Mannes und der Frau nach Natur- und Gnadenordnung
Die Frau: Fragestellungen und Reflexionen

 

Edith Stein 1931
Dr. Stein in 1931

Quote of the day: 19 May

Woman is suited to act in accordance with the concrete human circumstance

I would like to speak of the intrinsic value of woman in political life. In legislation, there is always danger that resolution “at the official level” will be based on the elaboration of the possibly most perfect paragraphs without their consideration of actual circumstances and consequences in practical life. Feminine singularity resists this abstract proceeding; woman is suited to act in accordance with the concrete human circumstance, and so she is able to serve as redress here. She has also already proved herself as a blessed counterbalance against another deterioration of masculine objectivity. The intention of the politician’s party is often the object which is of primary importance for him, one to which he has dedicated himself. And somehow, this can result in the highest unobjectivity by the manipulation of a bill’s draft. Thus, years ago on the deliberation of youth laws, the danger did exist that the project would end in failure by party opposition. The women of the differing parties at that time worked together and reached an agreement. The authentic feminine longing to remedy human need was thus victorious over the dilemma of party viewpoint. Just as in legislation, feminine singularity can also work beneficially in the application of the law in bureaucracy, provided it does not lead to abstract validation of the letter of the law but to the accomplishment of justice for humanity.

Saint Edith Stein
The Significance of Woman’s Intrinsic Value in National Life
Lecture to the Association of Bavarian Catholic Women Teachers
12 April 1928, Ludwigshafen on the Rhine

France 1949 Nat Farbman LIFE
A group of young apprentices are working in the spinnery section of a French rope factory. This photo by photographer Nat Farbman appeared in a 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.

 

Marie du Jour 2019: May 1

Ave Maris Stella is one of several traditional anthems to the Blessed Virgin Mary that may be sung or recited by Carmelites especially at the end of Night Prayer.

 

Our thanks to the producers at the Beautiful Classical Music channel for providing this exceptional new recording of a beloved Carmelite chant.

Edith Stein: A service to peace

JOHN PAUL II

ANGELUS

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, 26 February 1995

Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

Among the women who have served the cause of peace, I wish today to remember a “martyr” of our century, that I myself, in 1987, had the joy of raising to the honors of the altars: the Carmelite Edith Stein.

Like many other victims of Nazi savagery, she was killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp. For her, being of Jewish origin and educated according to the traditions of her parents, the choice of the Gospel, which came after painstaking research, did not mean the rejection of her cultural and religious roots. Christ, known in the footsteps of St. Teresa of Avila, helped her to read the history of her people more deeply. With her gaze fixed on the Redeemer, she learned the wisdom of the Cross, which made her capable of new solidarity with the sufferings of her sisters and brothers.

Uniting herself to the pain of God made man, offering her life for her people became her great aspiration. She faced deportation and the prospect of “martyrdom” with the intimate awareness of going to “die for her people”. Her sacrifice is a cry for, and a service to peace.

Edith Stein was also exemplary for the contribution she made to the promotion of women. I wrote in the Message for the World Day of Peace that the building of this fundamental value “cannot ignore the recognition and promotion of the personal dignity of women” (No. 4). Edith Stein played a significant role in this, dedicating herself for a long time, in the years that preceded her withdrawal to the monastery, to initiatives aimed at ensuring that women are recognized the rights of every human being and those specific to femininity. Speaking of women, she gladly emphasized her vocation as “bride and mother”, but together with this Edith exalted the role to which women are called in all areas of cultural and social life. She herself witnessed this socially active femininity, making herself appreciated as a researcher, lecturer, teacher. She was also esteemed as a woman of thought, able to use with wise discernment the contributions of contemporary philosophy to seek the “full truth of things”, in the constant effort to combine the needs of reason and those of faith.

To the Blessed Virgin we desire today particularly to entrust the harmony and peace among the believers of the different religions: God is love, and by his nature unites and does not divide those who believe in him. Above all, Jews and Christians cannot forget their unique fraternity, which is rooted in God’s providential plan that accompanies their history.

Mary, Daughter of Sion and Mother of the Church, pray for us!


To read the original text of this Angelus Address in Italian, click here
To read the text in the Vatican’s Spanish translation, click here
English translation by Elijah’s Breeze 

 

BAEZ - We must build bridges
The word of God came, then, over John, the son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. He is not the announcer who carries the announcement, it is the announcement who carries him, impels him, launches him onward: and he crossed the whole region of the Jordan. The word of God is always in flight in search of men and women, simple and true, to create new beginnings and processes. Straightening, smoothing, filling in empty spaces … This young and austere prophet paints a harsh and difficult landscape, which has the hard and violent features of history: all violence, exclusion, and injustice are a ravine that needs to be filled… We must build bridges with mercy, ask for forgiveness, repairing the damage caused. We have to smooth out the rough edges in our relationships.

Excerpt from a homily for the Second Sunday of Advent by Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D., Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua, Nicaragua. Translation by @carmelitequotes. Listen to the full audio of the Bishop Báez’s homily here.

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