Edith Stein was born into the Jewish faith in October of 1891. Her father died when she was two years old, and she gave up Judaism in her teens. Edith was incredibly smart, and studied philosophy under Edmund Husserl. She served as a nurse in Austria during World War I, and after the war, she earned a doctorate, writing her thesis on the phenomenon of empathy.
In 1921, she read the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, and was moved to convert. She was baptized as a Catholic on January 1, 1922, and began teaching at a Dominican school.
In 1934, Edith entered a Carmelite convent, and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She prayed especially for Jews in Germany, who were being persecuted under Hitler during World War II.
Teresa Benedicta was arrested, along with her sister Rosa, who had also converted, and the other sisters in her religious community. St. Teresa Benedicta died in the concentration camp at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942. She was canonized in 1998, and is the co-patroness of Europe.
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