St. Edith Stein
Edith was born in Breslau (then Germany, now Poland) in a Jewish family, but she lost her faith. When she read the works of Teresa of Avila she was touched by them. She became a Catholic and entered the Order of the Carmelite sisters, in which her religious name was Theresia Benedicta of the Cross.

Because of the persecution of Jews in Germany she moved to the Netherlands, where she lived in Echt. During the war the Dutch bishops protested against the persecution of Jews, and subsequently the Nazis decided to also persecute the Catholics who were of Jewish descendance. Edith Stein and her sister, who also had become a nun, died in the gas chamber of Auschwitz-Birkenau, 1942.

Pope John Paul II announced Edith as a saint in 1998 (feast on August, 9th). On October 1st, 1999, she was announced as co-patron saint to Europe. Jesus, Mary, Peter, Paul and all the apostles were born a Jew. And they never finish to be members of the Jewish people. But - as far as we know - after the apostles in the whole history of the church nobody was declared as saint who was born in a Jewish family, who was living in the Jewish faith and became later a Christian. So it was a big first step from the church in our time to announce her as Blessed and in 1998 as Saint.

text: Laszlo Gorove