Words of Wisdom: St. Edith Stein


One of my all-time favorite quotes, from one of my all-time favorite saints. Edith Stein (her religious name was Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, but she is still called by her birth name more often than not) is an incredible saint, and if you don’t know her story, I strongly suggest you learn more about her. Her teachings on women strongly influenced Pope St. John Paul II as he formulated his own thought on the nature and dignity of women. This quote epitomizes one of her major insights: the value of women lies not just in our doing, but in our being. Too often, society places so much emphasis on what we have and do, and not enough on who we are. Of course, having and doing are important, but they do not define us. Rather, they stem from who we are as creatures made in God’s image. Men and women both image God, each in their own unique way, and the world desperately needs both kinds of being. For much of history, women’s contributions have been ignored or underestimated (I would argue that they still are, in the sense that we have lost sight of what it even means to be a woman). In a single sentence, St. Edith Stein neatly sums up the situation. We need to stop worrying so much about what job we have, where we live, how we look, how much money we make, etc., and start embracing what it means to BE a woman. Only then will we be able to help transform our broken, sinful world into a world of life and love.


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