Today is the feast of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, formerly Edith Stein, a Jewish convert. This Sunday is the feast of another martyr who died at the hands of the Nazis, St. Maximilian Kolbe, formerly Raymond Kolbe.
One saint's search for the truth led her from the life of a secular Jew, to atheist to Catholic nun and finally to being canonized a saint.
The other saint knew the truth from a very early age. In fact in a vision, when the Immaculata presented him with the choice of either virgin or martyr, chose both.
These two saints loved God and His most holy mother with their whole hearts, especially St. Maximilian Kolbe. His love for the Immaculata is still evident today with the many members of the Militia Immaculata.
Edith Stein was an intellectual. She was a philosopher who could call many famous intellectuals in Germany, friends. It was her love of philosophy that ultimately lead her home to the true Church.
It is very tragic that this nun and priest had to have their lives taken so cruelly and maliciously and so prematurely by evil men.
The following document is from the Netherlands Red Cross.
BUREAU OF INFORMATION OF THE NETHERLANDS RED CROSS
9 Jan Everts Street, 's-Gravenhage, 2 June 1958
Settlement Bureaur for Jewish Affairs
Dossier Nol 108796
Your Letter of May 16, 1958
The undersigned, Chief of the Settlement Bureau for Jewish Affairs of the Netherlands Red Cross Bureau of Information confirms hereby that according to the papers kept in our archives
Edith Teresa Hedwig Stein
Born on: October 12, 1891 in: Breslau
Last Residence: Monastery of the Carmelite Nuns,
Bovenstrestraat 48, Echt (Holland)
For Reasons of Race, and specifically because of Jewish Descent
on 2 August, 1942, arrested in Echt, via K.L. (Concentration Camp)
On 5 August, 1942, handed over in KI.L. Westerbork and
on 7 August, 1942 deported from K.L. Westerbork to K.L. Auschwitz,
The, above named person is to be considered as having died on 9 August, 1942* in Auschwitz.
Notice to this effect is given on 15 February, 1950 in Echt
...(conditions are given regarding legal procedures)...
(Signed, official seal applied by Chief of the Bureau)
*For official purposes this date of death was established as deduced from various available facts. Individual statements regarding the exact time of death are not available.
Source: Edith Stein: Life in a Jewish Family 1891-1916, An Autobiography
"Thus two weeks passed..." (fellow Pole Bruno Borgowiec's personal testimony.)..."Meanwhile, the prisoners died one after the other, so much so that at the end of the third week only four remained, among whom was Father Kolbe. To the authorities it seemed that they lived on too long. The cell was needed for other victims.
For this reason, on August 14, the criminal Bloch, a German and the director of the hall of the sick, was brought in. He gave everyone an injection of poisonous acid in the left arm. With a prayer on his lips, Father Kolbe held out his arm to the killer. Being unable to stand what my eyes beheld, under the pretext of having to work in the office, I went away.
After the guard and the executioner left, I returned to the cell, where I found Father Maximilian Kolbe sitting down, leaning against the wall, with eyes opened and his head bent to the left side. (It was his usual position.) His serene face was beautifully radiant.
Together with the barber of the block, Mr. Chelbik from Karwina, I took the body of the hero to the bath. Here it was placed in a box and taken to the mortuary cell of the prison.
Thus died the priest, the hero of the camp of Auschwitz, offering himself voluntarily for the father of a family, quiet and tranquil, praying until the last moment.
Source: Saint Maximilian Kolbe: Apostle of Our Difficutl Age, Antonio Ricciardi, OFM Conv.
Father Kolbe died on the vigil of the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. How appropriate!