“Modern Day Martyrdom – St. Teresea Benedicta of the Cross” Homily for Mass Aug 9, 2013

stteresabenedicta

Gospel According to St. Matthew (16:24-28)
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? Or what has a man to offer in exchange for his life?
  ‘For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and, when he does, he will reward each one according to his behaviour. I tell you solemnly, there are some of these standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming with his kingdom.’
St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (1891 – 1942)
She was born into a practising Jewish family. She had a distinguished career as a philosopher and received a doctorate at the University of Freiburg, but her academic career was impeded because she was a woman.
  Reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Ávila brought about her conversion to Catholicism and she was baptized on 1 January 1922. She taught at a Dominican girls’ school and studied Catholic philosophy. She became a lecturer at the Institute for Pedagogy at Münster but was thrown out of her post in 1933 as a result of the Nazi régime’s anti-Semitic legislation.
  She entered a Carmelite monastery in Cologne and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her order moved her to the Netherlands to keep her safe from the growing Nazi threat. While a Carmelite she wrote an important philosophical book, seeking to combine the phenomenology of her former teacher Edmund Husserl with the philosophy of Aquinas, and she also wrote on St John of the Cross.
  On 20 July 1942 the Dutch Bishops’ Conference had a statement read in all churches condemning Nazi racism. In retaliation the authorities ordered the arrest of all Jewish converts to Christianity. Teresa Benedicta was taken to Auschwitz and killed on 9 August 1942.

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