Edith Stein is honored with a service to mark her 70th birthday. The day of the death in the former Nazi extermination camp has been commemorated. It preached Joachim Cardinal Meisner. In the our site-interview honors Renovabis CEO Father Stefan Dartmann the saint as a bridge builder and women's rights activist. Stein had been thinking about the involvement of women in the church.
Interviewer: Is it an exaggeration to say that Edith Stein was a bridge builder between East and West, between Christians and Jews??
Father Stefan Dartmann SJ: It has become so through the person that it is. But she also consciously took it upon herself, and I believe she very much likes to see herself in her current position as Patroness of Europe, as such a bridge builder.
Interviewer: Edith Stein's strong commitment to the emancipation of women in society and in the Church has been somewhat overlooked. Was she a women's rights activist of the time?
P. Dartmann: Yes, it was. In the German context, it has to be put like this. She was an early advocate of women's suffrage. As a philosopher, she has addressed the ie of the integration of women into working life outside the home, has given many lectures on the subject, has also thought about the commitment of women in the church, has considered the diaconate of women, and herself saw no difficulty in pursuing the idea of a priesthood for women.
She certainly has great significance when it comes to the history of women and the women's movement.
For us at Renovabis, this means taking up precisely this ie of the enslavement of women in Europe, for example, trafficking in women and prostitution. This is a big problem in Eastern Europe and affects us in their spirit, so to speak.
Interviewer: What is the importance of Edith Stein for an Eastern European relief organization like Renovabis??
P. Dartmann: She died as a Jew and a Christian, and there is of course a theme connected with it: that of anti-Semitism, the whole problem of the Holocaust, which accompanies us in the encounters between East and West to this day.
When today a large church service and a whole program take place in Auschwitz, a prayer walk along the ramp of the Birkenau extermination camp, Cardinal Erdo celebrates the service, he is Primate of Hungary and at the same time also the president of the European Bishops' Conferences, Cardinal Meisner holds the sermon, then that is a sign. Here one does justice to this obligation to counter anti-Semitic tendencies also today and to administer this inheritance of Edith Stein, well to our time.
Interviewer: She was a courageous woman, because back in the Nazi era, Pope Pius XI. I also strongly urged him to speak out clearly against this regime. Is that also something exemplary?
P. Dartmann: Yes, without doubt. I notice that the three women we have as European patron saints, i.e. Catherine of Siena, Birgitta of Sweden and Edith Stein, Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, are all women who spoke to the conscience of the popes. The former was about the question of the return from Avignon, that the popes return to Rome, and here Sister Teresa Benedicta was about saying that it will only get worse if the Church remains silent longer.
Interviewer: Edith Stein certainly has a meaning for evangelization, also for the new evangelization. This is their mission of Renovabis in the Eastern European countries. How does she stand there as an example for you?
P. Dartmann: She was, after all, a philosopher who declared herself an atheist at the age of 15 and, as she writes in her notes, systematically stopped praying – even though she had been raised Jewish. She then found her way back to the faith through an encounter with a widow, but also through encounters with Teresa of Avila, and this path, on which she gave herself nothing, on which she did not simply accept things unchecked, but wanted to be convinced, is, I think, also very comprehensible for today's people. And when we at Renovabis will have a big congress with almost 400 participants from all over Eastern, Central and Western Europe on the topic of new evangelization at the end of this month, Edith Stein will certainly be there in spirit.
The interview was conducted by Stephan Baur (our site)
The catholic saint Edith Stein was killed in the night of 8 September. to the 9. Murdered in the gas chambers of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in August 1942. On the occasion of the 70. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of the philosopher and Carmelite nun, who bore the religious name Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, a service was held in Auschwitz . The sermon was given by the Archbishop of Cologne, Joachim Cardinal Meisner. The main celebrant was Hungarian Archbishop Peter Cardinal Erdo, the president of the Council of European Bishops' Conferences.
Stein, who was born Jewish in Wroclaw, had later turned to philosophy and Catholic faith ies. After her Catholic baptism in 1922, she entered the Carmelite order in Cologne eleven years later. Stein belonged to the elite of German intellectual life, she was committed against the persecution of Jews and stands for the fate of German assimilation Jewry. In 1998 John Paul II spoke. she saint.