Holy Cross Celebrates Canonization of Edith Stein

WORCESTER, Mass. – The Holy Cross community is celebrating and participating in the canonization of Edith Stein, who will be made a saint by Pope John Paul II, in Rome on Sunday, October 11, 1998.

The event has special meaning for Holy Cross because the College is the first American educational institution to name a building for Edith Stein.  This is also the first time in the history of Holy Cross that a person for whom a campus building has been named, is being made a saint.  (Loyola Hall is named after St. Ignatius Loyola, however, the building was named long after his canonization.)

In celebration of the canonization, two banners have been hung in honor of Edith Stein.  One is suspended over the porch of O'Kane Hall, indicating that the College rejoices in the canonization.  The other hangs in the entrance to the Saint Joseph Memorial Chapel, asking for Saint Edith Stein's intercession.

Holy Cross will be represented at the canonization in Rome by Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J., president emeritus, and Rev. Francis X. Miller, S.J., vice president emeritus.  Fr. Brooks was instrumental in the naming of the classroom building for Edith Stein.

Edith Stein was born in Breslau, Germany, on October 12, 1891, and died on August 9, 1942, at Auschwitz.  She was born of Jewish parents and converted to Catholicism on January 1, 1922.  Eleven years later, she entered the Carmelite Order and took the name Sister Benedicta of the Cross.

She lived the life of a scholar and teacher before she became a nun and continued to research and write even while living a contemplative life.  Circumstances in her native Germany forced her to seek refuge among the Carmelites in Holland, where she was arrested after the Catholic bishops of Holland had protested against the Nazi persecution of the Jews.  In retaliation for that protest, the Nazis arrested Catholics of Jewish background.  Edith Stein was arrested by the Nazis on August 2, 1942.