March/April Issue – Lenten Illuminations: The Light of the Cross

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March/April Table of Contents

Sample Article

Woman of Israel: Authentic Femininity at the Foot of the Cross — Sr. Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP

In 1939, shortly before the Nazi invasion of Poland that would spark the Second World War, Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (St. Edith Stein) penned her final will and testament.

I joyfully accept in advance the death God has appointed for me, in perfect submission to His most holy will. May the Lord accept my life and death for the honor and glory of His name, for the needs of His holy Church—especially for the preservation, sanctification, and final perfecting of our holy Order, and in particular for Carmel—for the Jewish people, that the Lord may be received by His own and His King- dom come in glory, for the deliverance of Germany and peace throughout the world, and finally for all my relatives living and dead and all whom God has given me; may none of them be lost.

In a certain way, Edith Stein’s last will and testament is a culmination of all she had written and taught before. It is a true model of her understanding of feminine receptivity as well as self-gift. Most particularly, it is her understanding of femininity as she saw it in Mary, who, being the Mother of us all in the faith, was seen especially by Edith Stein as her mother and model in their common Jewish heritage. In Mary, Edith Stein would take her Jewish heritage and draw it to its fullness in her embrace of Mary’s Gift. But she did not limit her Marian imitation to embracing the Son of Israel; Edith Stein would follow Mary with every step to the Cross of the Jew.
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