ROME, JULY 11, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Edith Stein, the Carmelite saint and co-patroness of Europe, could be a very engaging figure for some of the 800,000 expected to attend World Youth Day next month in Germany.
That is the opinion of Father Luis Aróstegui Gamboa, superior general of the Discalced Carmelites. “The search for Truth of Edith Stein — Teresa Benedicta of the Cross — could be a stimulus for young people who will go to Cologne, where she lived in the Carmel,” he told ZENIT.
“Edith Stein is a very different figure from Thérèse of Lisieux, also a Carmelite saint, who enthused young people at Paris’ World Youth Day,” Father Aróstegui said.
“In the same way,” he added, “I think that there are some young people, perhaps not all, who might be attracted by Stein’s figure, as she is modern and her biography is very interesting in the best sense of the term: Jewish, German, seeker, who lost her faith and found it.”
The Carmelite religious died in Auschwitz in August 1942.
“She accepted her death in the concentration camp as communion with the cross of Christ, for her people and for peace in the world,” said the superior general of the Order of Discalced Carmelites. “This is impressive.”
“Edith Stein was a person who was very committed to her faith and an exceptional personality; she was called to give lectures and classes when this was unusual, and she defended woman’s rights and dignity,” he said.
“This faith and fidelity, but at the same time reflection with freedom and responsibility, might be very attractive to young people,” Father Aróstegui added.
He continued: “Moreover, her continuity of life when she entered the Cologne Carmel is also very interesting, as it was not a rejection of the intellectual life but, on the contrary, an entering more intensely into contemplation, which isn’t inaction. In fact, her superiors asked her to continue with her intellectual work and she did so, in union with the Church and the needs of the world.
“Above all, the fact that she was a seeker and integrated values in her life and thought, and her profundity in the faith are very good for the world of young people who will meet in her native Germany.”