Edith Stein was born, the eleventh child in an observant Jewish family, on the Feast of the Atonement, Yom Kippur, October 12, 1891, in Breslau, Germany, and she died, as a Carmelite nun, in the gas chamber at Auschwitz, Poland, August 9, 1942, because of her Jewish roots. I leave it to you to learn the details of her conversion. Edith was a brilliant student of philosophy.

She and Martin Heidegger were both graduate assistants to Edmund Husserl in Freiburg, where she received her doctorate in philosophy with the highest honors (summa cum laude). She dedicated much of her energy to the cause of the advancement of women. And, just because she was a woman, it was really impossible for her in those days to obtain a teaching position which matched her talents. There is an old saying that when one studies theology it is a matter of faith seeking understanding. The life of Edith Stein was, rather, a matter of understanding; that is, intelligence seeking faith. She is indeed a model and saintly intercessor for intelligent faith-filled women.

—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J., a Jesuit of the New England province, assists in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also minister of the Arrupe House Jesuit community.