Memorial of Edith Stein Known as

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891-1942)



“I am a very poor Esther, but the King who has chosen me is infinitely great and merciful.”  Reference to the Book of Esther C:14-16

“I believe that the Lord has called me on behalf of my (Jewish) people.”

Expose’ on Prayer

This is a story about how prayer can glory in the life of a person who longs for Truth.

Edith Stein was born on the Jewish Feast of Atonement Yom Kippur on October 12, 1891.  In her youth she lost Faith, saying “I consciously decided, of my volition, to give up praying.”  Instead she excelled in philosophy and women’s issues at German universities where she was influenced into the Science of Phenomenology (Empirical Research).  At the onset of World War I, Edith changed direction as a nurse tending the wounded on the battlefields.  After the war she returned to university and wrote “The Problem of Empathy” for her doctorate, hoping to secure a professorship but was denied because of her gender and roots.

Edith continued her search for Truth saying:  “Things were in God’s plan which I had not planned at all.  I am coming to the living faith and conviction that – from God’s point of view – there is no chance and that the whole of my life, down to every detail, has been mapped out in God’s divine providence and makes complete and perfect sense in God’s all-seeing eyes.”  This Truth stands for every one of us, too.

A turning point for Edith came in 1921 when she stayed with friends and there began reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Avila – “When I had finished the book, I said to myself:  this is the Truth.”

Shortly after her conversion to Catholicism, Edith joined the Discalced Carmelite Order as Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.   By 1933, Germany was seized by the dictates of the Aryan Law of the Nazis and she could no longer teach.  She began “pursuing scholarship as a service to God” by rewriting her earlier works and her main piece “Finite and Eternal Being.”  The Jewish persecution began.

New Year’s Eve 1938, Sister Teresa Benedicta and her sister, Rosa, were smuggled to the Dutch convent in Echt, the Netherlands.  “Even now I accept the death that God has prepared for me in complete submission and with joy as being his most holy will for me.”

Her final writings are prolific:  “The Science of the Cross and Father of the Carmelites, John of the Cross” and “The Life of a Jewish Family” recounts her own family.

Edith and Rosa were arrested by the Gestapo on August 2, 1942 and deported to Auschwitz.  On the way she said to Rosa:  “Come, we are going for our people.”  A week later Edith, Rosa and 987 of her people were led into the gas chambers.

Her lasting prayer is her testament:

“I ask the Lord to accept my life and death so that the Lord will be accepted by His people and that His Kingdom may come in glory, for the salvation of Germany and the peace of the world.”

On May 1, 1987, Pope John Paul II honored “a daughter of Israel” as martyred Saint of the Catholic Church and Co-Patroness of Europe.


Edith Stein left us with a tome full of her brilliant mind and in the sacrifice of her life of prayer found the Truth, namely that love for God encompasses suffering.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, pray for us






Purple Mountain Majesty by Pinot’s Palette

Conclusion to Expose’ on Prayer

The omnipotence of God surrounds the globe as evidenced by the images below of the  distinct monuments of prayer – worshipers seeking God.

the wailing wall

The Wailing Wall Jerusalem

mosque in jerusalem

Mosque Jerusalem

synagogue in jerusalem


Synagogue Jerusalem

Vatican Italy

Vatican Italy

My Thoughts:

Through prayer, God urges and helps his nations to live simply with ‘things’  hopefully not possessing us.  By emptying self into prayer, life is fulfilled with faith and hope.


“Be not afraid” is God’s echo through Isaiah 43:2-3

  “I go before you always, come follow me.” Luke 6:20

You, my Friends from around the world, in sharing your eclectic blogs with me, shower me with joy and enlightenment – thank you!

Henri Nouwen said it rightly – “The Only Necessary Thing in Life is Prayer” and my prayer for all of You is that:

“You shall see the face of God and live.”

sincerely, your scribe for love, truth and peace

lily of the valley





Family of Nations, let us pray together to preserve the goodness of the world and do our best to solve its problems…as it is in Heaven.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth…Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race…He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain (for) the old order has passed away.”

Revelation 21:1-4




It’s a Lonely Path – Painting by TomTC

Expose’ on Prayer

My Thoughts:

The Holy Spirit encounters me when I begin to pray.  Our moment is private, so I can be converted to a new self.  There we enter the wisdom of the desert dunes which is silence.  God dwelling in me, touching the busyness of life in my heart.  Like tending a garden to grow beautiful flowers, God helps to pull out my weeds, heals their sting and restores me to love purely with sanctifying graces.

Prayer is radical – I must let go of everything – everyone; die to self while He increases in me.  I must spend time – always – in solitude.

QUOTE from Henri Nouwen

” God breathes in us His Holy Spirit to work out prayer.”

holy spirit





Shinto Buddhist Temple Watercolor  by Ken Huxley

Expose’ on Prayer

My Thoughts:

All of us are on a pilgrimage with God.  He knows us through and through even before we think, say or do.  What I tend to forget is that He is always present, he’s new and different to us in prayer according to our respective needs.

Daily I rendezvous with Him, often feeling His burning love scathing my body; becoming sleepy yet happy, I return to life glowing, hopeful.

God pursues incessantly for our praying.  The need for Prayer is universal.

QUOTE from Henri Nouwen

“…without communion with God, the heart grows cold.”

good traveler lao tzu


Expose’ on Prayer





…of God…

My Thoughts:

When I traveled to the Holy Land, I was breathless at seeing ancient edifices of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim Faiths co-existing – searching for God.  Prayer is what keeps them cohesive even as the tug of war continues to flare up.

QUOTE from Shunryu Suzuki

“The true purpose of Zen is, to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let go everything go as it goes.”



Expose on Prayer





My Thoughts:

Eight months have passed since my very dear friend told me she had three weeks to live.  I almost went into shock thinking that can’t be; we are walking buddies and much more.  I cried and prayed ‘without ceasing’ until she took my hand and said, ‘I believe in God,  don’t worry.’

Praying for others who are suffering is a powerful gift from God in that the pray-er accepts the pray-ee’s pains to be touched by the Holy Spirit for that person to receive new light, new courage, as sweet Margit did receive.  You see, Margit had set aside her faith for many years but was given the grace to return to faith in the end.

Every day Margit inspires me to write from the heart.



Expose’ on Prayer






2 QUOTES from Henri Nouwen

“Prayer is not what is done by us, but rather what is done by the Holy Spirit in us.”

“The more we pray, in the sense of living a prayerful life, the more we desire to pray.”


My Thoughts:

Every day I must fashion out my desert with God through prayer, so I may be better prepared to live more fully in community with others.

When I cry out ‘Abba Father,’ I am claiming God’s Love.


praying hands

QUOTE from Rumi

“You that come to birth and bring the mysteries,

your voice-thunder makes us very happy.

Roar, lion of the heart

and tear me open!”