On this her feast day, I am thrilled to announce my new book, "Edith Stein: the Life and Legacy of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross," published by Sophia Institute Press.
Here are a few thoughts from this beautiful Carmelite saint, on what it means to be a woman and a mother:
Every woman is meant to develop what Edith calls a common sense of spiritual mothering, of companion and mother, in order to help others develop to their fullest potential.
“The body of woman is fashioned ‘to be one flesh’ with another
and to nurse new human life in itself."
“A well disciplined body is an accommodating instrument for the mind which animates it; at the same time, it is a source of power and a habitat for the mind. Just so, woman’s soul is… also fashioned to be a shelter in which other souls may unfold. Both spiritual companionship and spiritual motherliness are not limited to the physical spouse and mother relationships, but they extend to all people with whom woman comes into contact” (Woman 132).
Seeing motherhood as a universal calling for all women means it is not simply a duty to be exercised with one’s biological children. This has certainly been true to my experience. In Edith’s exposition, a woman’s concern for the good of persons must be universal, extending to all whose lives touch hers in some way.
“The soul of woman must therefore be expansive and open to all human beings... it must be quiet so that no small weak flame will be extinguished by stormy winds; warm so as not to be numb fragile buds; clear, so that no vermin will settle in dark corners and recesses; self-contained, so that no invasions from without can imperil the inner life; empty of itself, in order that extraneous life may have room in it; finally, mistress of itself and also of its body, so that the entire person is readily at the disposal of every call” (Woman 132-3).
Read more about this brilliant, inspiring woman in my new book, “Edith Stein: the Life and Legacy of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.”