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EDITH STEIN CONNECTS – Invitation 2021 – Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim

In August 9, 2021, we will commemorate the death of Edith Stein, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Patroness of Europe.

Our churches and societies are in deep crisis in many parts of Europe today.

We want to use this day of remembrance to come together and search for common paths. We will not be able to meet in Oswiecim / Auschwitz on August 9, 2021. But we can meet differently. This is why we invite you to share short videos with each other about how Edith Stein inspires us.


Edith Stein was born in 1891 into a Jewish family in Wroclaw, Poland (formerly Breslau, a German city). She studied philosophy in various German cities. In WWI she was a Red Cross nurse. After completing her studies, she was baptized in the Catholic Church. She became a well-known lecturer. When the Nazis came to power in Germany, she entered the Carmelite Order of nuns. In 1942 she was murdered in Auschwitz because of her Jewish descent.

Edith Stein lived in a very troubled time. She was a seeker and she found her home in God. “It has always been far from me to think that God’s mercy allows itself to be circumscribed by the visible church’s boundaries. God is truth. All who seek truth seek God, whether this is clear to them or not” (ESGA 3, letter 542). She prayed a lot, sometimes all night long, already before she entered the convent. She presented to God all her fears about her personal life, the fate of the Jewish people, the future of Germany, peace for Europe and other matters. In His Love she found peace, clarity and inner certainty about the path she had to follow.

From this perspective she has tried to give an answer to the horrors of the First World War, the growth of totalitarian ideologies, the increasingly aggressive anti-Semitism and the weakness of the churches. She wanted to influence thinking in universities, pedagogy in schools, the engagement of Christians in the world, and even the behaviour of the Pope. When she could no longer act in public, she led a prayer life in a convent and entrusted her fate to Divine Providence – until her death in Auschwitz.

WE …

Today we live in different times, also with great uncertainty. We are seekers too. We try to understand our time, we search for God and for our mission in this world.

We feel how true these words of Edith Stein are for us also: “Today we are again living in a time that urgently needs renewal from the hidden sources of godly souls” (ESGA 20, 120).

We therefore invite you to send us a video of three minutes on the topics (these questions are for guidance only, feel free to come up with your own design) :

How does Edith Stein inspire me? Hardly anyone knows all the richness of Edith Stein’s life and texts. But maybe some aspect about which you discovered moves you, gives food for thought, changes the perspective and motivates you. (We encourage you to visit our website where you can find articles about Edith Stein, e.g. a collection of quotes.)

Where do I see the greatest need today? We live in another world than Edith Stein, we have different problems and challenges. What is the world we want to talk to God about?

What should I do? Maybe we don’t know yet, maybe that’s what we want to ask God about, maybe we already know, but don’t have the courage, maybe we’re already doing …

What do I want to ask God for? Will it be possible to formulate a few words of prayer?

We want to gather many voices together, from different countries in Europe, from different churches and even from outside the churches. If we share our needs, challenges and hopes, a path may emerge that we can then continue on together.

Please post your videos on your website and send us a link to this page. On our website, we will publish the list of project participants along with the relevant links. We are already on the spiritual path of preparation, you can publish your video immediately, the sooner the better. We hope that all posts will be online on Edith Stein’s commemoration day August 9, 2021 at the latest. If you have any questions, please contact: Manfred Deselaers, email: .

Trusting in the intercession of the Saint Patroness of Europe

With best regards

Fr. Dr Manfred Deselaers Pastor abroad of the German Bishops’ Conference at the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim, PolandFr. Jan Nowak Director of the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oswiecim