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Catholic World News News Feature

Canonization decree published for Edith Stein February 17, 1998

VATICAN (CWN) -- The formal decree of the canonization of Edith Stein, the noted Jewish philosopher who after her conversion became a Carmelite nun, was published yesterday in Acta Apolostica Sedis, the official record of actions of the Holy See.

Blessed Theresa Benedicta, as she was known to her Carmelite sisters, was beatified by Pope John Paul II on May 1, 1987. In May of 1997 the cause for her canonization cleared its last hurdle when the Holy Father-- on the recommendation of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints-- formally recognized that a miracle had occurred as a result of her intercession. The miracle involved the healing of a young Massachusetts girl who had been named in her honor: Theresa Benedicta McCarthy-- the daughter of a married Eastern-rite Catholic priest.

No date has been set for formal canonization ceremonies, although an unofficial source suggested that it could be October 11, 1998.

Born in 1891 in what was then the German city of Breslau (and is now known as Wroclaw, Poland), Edith Stein became a brilliant student of the noted philosopher Edmund Husserl. After reading the autobiography of St. Theresa of Avila she converted to Catholicism, and devoted herself to the study of Sts. Thomas Aquinas and John of the Cross. As the Nazi drive to eliminate Judaism became more pronounced, her superiors moved her from Germany to Echt, in Holland-- along with her sister Rosa, who had joined her in the Carmelite community, although she (Rosa) had not yet made vows. However, after the Dutch bishops protested against the persecution of Jews, the Nazi occupying forces responded by arresting thousands of Jews in Holland, the Stein sisters among them. Edith Stein-- Sister Theresa Benedicta-- died in an Auschwitz gas chamber on August 9, 1942.

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