The photograph above shows Edith Stein as a student at Gottingen University (1913-1916). She moved from Breslau to Gottingen to study philosophy( in the school of phenomenology) under Edmund Husserl . This period of her life can be characterised as a “search for the truth”, and it was this sense of what phenomenology was about that drew Edith to Gottingen. Edith herself, arriving at Gottingen without any living faith of her own though she was from a Jewish family, describes her encounter with religious phenomena recognised as an area worthy of phenomenological study. She also met people who commanded her respect and were religious believers (generally Protestant Christians). And in a particular encounter with the widow of one of here colleagues, she describes her first encounter with the power of the Cross. After reading the autobiography of St Teresa of Avila, Edith was received into the Catholic Church.
EDITH STEIN AS A MODEL OF OUR ROLE AS TEACHERS
This second photo shows Edith Stein while on the staff of the Dominican Convent in Speyer (photo taken in 1931, at the end of her time on the staff of the Convent). Edith taught there for eight years after becoming a Catholic, working with trainee teachers at the school as well as teaching the pupils; she lived an almost religious life with the nuns. These are the memories of two of Edith's students from this time:
"With very few words - just by her personality and everything which emanated from her - she set me on my way, not only in my studies but in my whole moral life. With her you felt that you were in an atmosphere of everything noble, pure and sublime which simply carried you up with it”.
“She really gave us everything. We were still very young, but none of us has forgotten the charm of her personality…Her heart stood wide open for everything noble and beautiful to take its place beside her union with God. That is how she stands before us still”.