St. Edith Stein as Modern Witness

As her deportation car travelled to Auschwitz, St. Edith Stein’s last recorded words were: “We are heading East.” Stein’s undaunted hope in the Resurrection, amidst the darkness of evil, inspires us to follow her journey of love.  St. Edith Stein as Modern Witness follows the footsteps of a modern saint, from childhood to conversion to contemplative to martyr for Christ against the Nazi persecution, calling each of us to give a fearless witness for the Truth today.

This course includes:

  • Five 1.5 hours video lectures
  • Extra reading material related to the course (optional)
  • Unlimited access to the course

We are living in a new era of martyrdom for the Truth.

As Pope John Paul II proclaims in Tertio Millennio Adveniente, “The Church of the first millennium was born of the blood of the martyrs: “Sanguis martyrum – semen christianorum.” … At the end of the second millennium, the Church has once again become a Church of martyrs. The persecutions of believers —priests, Religious and laity—has caused a great sowing of martyrdom in different parts of the world. …This witness must not be forgotten. … In our own century the martyrs have returned, many of them nameless, “unknown soldiers” as it were of God’s great cause.”

How does one become a martyr?  What life-story leads up to this supreme act of witness?

St. Edith Stein as Modern Witness, takes an in-depth look at the life’s journey of a powerful witness to the Truth against the darkness of the Nazi persecution.  As a convert, philosopher, Carmelite, and martyr in the death camp of Auschwitz, Stein shows us the path of surrender to Christ and unflinching resistance to evil.

In our own day and age, the Truth is under assault.  We can draw strength for our own fearless witness from the heroic community of the saints.  As Robert Royal has written, “Such charges have to be met by a fearless witness and public presence.  The kind that gave us Stephen, Polycarp, Lucy, Becket, More, Fisher, Pro, Stein, and many more.  The witness that says, we’re here. We follow the Truth, and – do what you will – we’re not going away.”

Course book: For this course we recommend all students obtain a copy of the course books. We will be using:

  • Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite, Teresia Renata Posselt, O.C.D., ed. Susanne Batzdorff, Josephine Koeppel, and John Sullivan. Available at Amazon or at ICS Publications. This biography is written by Stein’s own Novice Director, then Mother Prioress of the Cologne Carmel when Stein lived there.
  • Suggested secondary text: Edith Stein: Her Life in Photos and Documents, Maria Amata Neyer, O.C.D., trans. Waltraut Stein, Ph.D. Available at Amazon or ICS Publications.

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What course participants say

" Thank you for offering this course of study about St. Edith Stein and for instructing us so well. It has been like an intellectual and spiritual pilgrimage for me, in a way mirroring how St. Edith’s life unfolded during her journey. You are an excellent instructor, and I love how you so seamlessly combined the academic and the spiritual aspects of our study."

- Patricia S.

Elizabeth A. Mitchell, S.C.D


Elizabeth A. Mitchell, S.C.D. is the author of Artist and Image: Artistic Creativity and Personal Formation in the Thought of Edith Stein.

Mitchell received her doctorate in Institutional Social Communications from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, where she worked as a translator for the Holy See Press Office and L’Osservatore Romano.  She is an adviser to the St. Gianna and Pietro Molla International Center for Family and Life and a regular contributor to The Catholic Thing.