The police van drove our Saint Edith and her sister, Rosa, from the Carmel of Echt to the police headquarters in Roermond, first station on their way of the cross. Late the same day, they were transported to the Amersfoort transit camp.
That Sunday, August 2nd, the Nazis raffled about three hundred Hebrew Catholics throughout Holland, bringing them to Amersfoort, from the north and the south of the country. The transport from Roermond in the south was composed of two police vans, one packed with thirteen, the other with seventeen persons. The one in which our Edith travelled, was taking, apart from Rosa, six other female religious, all Hebrew Catholics. These included Sister Judith Mendez da Costa, a Dominican nun, and two Trappistines, sisters germain, from the remarkable family, Löb; of their three brothers, arrested with them, two were Trappists priests and one, a lay brother of the same Order. The wife and children of the writer Herman de Man travelled in the same transport.
The journey from Roermond to Amersfoort was usually a matter of three to four hours; but, on this occasion, the driver lost his way on account of the blackout and brought the prisoners to Amersfoort only at three o’clock the next morning, Monday August 3rd.
“And Jesus said to them: ‘The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized.’” Mark 10:39
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be
(Any suitable prayer may be said here)
Saint Edith, Pray For Us!
Saint Edith Stein, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, offered herself as a victim of expiation and died in Auschwitz – Birkenau. This novena follows her last nine days of life as she prepares to die for her Jewish brothers and sisters and for all mankind. She gave her life during one of the darkest periods of human history – when genocide became industrialised. Ask St Edith to protect us at this time of instability.
Saint Edith pray for us at this dangerous time…
The novena was composed by Elias Friedman, O.C.D., founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics (AHC), who recommends it to all devotees of Saint Edith. The most suitable time to observe it would be from August 1 to August 9, in annual remembrance of the days spent by our saintly martyr in the death train, accompanied by her sister, Rosa, and many other Hebrew Catholics, on the way to the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Novena – Day 1, Sat. Aug. 1, 1942
Novena to Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
Day 1 – Saturday, August 1st, 1942
Carmel of Echt, Holland
It was the last day of freedom for Saint Edith and her sister, Rosa. By then Saint Edith had reached a clear perception of the eschatological nature of the crisis affecting the Jews of Germany and the role she was called upon to play in the drama, as a victim of expiation for her people and for mankind.
As far back as March 26th, 1939, Edith had addressed a petition to her Prioress on a used postcard (for motives of monastic poverty) asking permission to offer herself to Jesus in expiation, that the sway of Antichrist be broken and peace ensue.
“I am asking this, today, because it is already the twelfth hour. I know I am nothing, but Jesus wills it and He will call many more to the same sacrifice in these days.”
The manuscript of her book, Science of the Cross, lay on her table; it would never be finished, because the next day, the Gestapo would come to drag her away from the convent. What we read therein is proof of the clarity and courage with which she grasped the call to expiation, key to her earthly destiny.
Around her, the atmosphere was growing heavy with fear and foreboding. A few days earlier (July 28th), her brother, Paul, his wife Eva and their daughter, were sent off to the Theresienstadt Camp. Hede Spiegel, her god-daughter, depressed and distraught, came to the grille of the convent, to pour out her anxieties for the future, anxieties which were shared by Saint Edith’s fellow-Nuns in the Carmel of Echt, where Edith had been sent by her superiors to take refuge from the persecution of the Jews raging in Germany. Edith, in contrast, maintained a rock-like composure and faith in God, which impressed all those in contact with her. The Church has since defined her virtue as heroic.
“They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, Jesus leading the way; the disciples were filled with foreboding, while those following behind were afraid. He took the Twelve aside and began to tell them what was to happen to him. ‘We are now going to Jerusalem,’ he said, ‘and the Son of Man will be given up to the Chief Priests and the doctors of the Law. They will condemn him to death and hand him over to the foreign power. He will be mocked and spat upon, flogged and killed.’” Mark 10: 32-34
He said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter. Mark7:21
The question is sometimes asked: Does the exercise of a ministry of prayer, so vital to the Christian, call for utterance, or is it enough if we bear our burdens silently before God? I believe the answer is that if God gives a burden of prayer, he does indeed want it to be uttered. He wants audible expression given to it, however few and disjointed the words we may use. No burden can be discharged without this expression. Even our Lord himself in Gethsemane “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying”. It seems to me that in spiritual things there is an amazing link between faith and utterance. God not only takes account of what we believe, he takes account of what we say. The Syrophoenician woman spoke only a sentence, but as a result of this she returned to her house to find the devil gone!
Watchman Nee – A Table in the Wilderness – September 2nd.
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”
After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” Mark 7: 14-23
Demons come from within. They are our thoughts and emotions – the thoughts and emotions of unclean spirits – and the nearer we get to God the more troubling they become. It is much easier to battle an outside enemy than see the enemy within.
The Desert Fathers, in their solitude, found that they encountered their own thoughts, feelings and emotions and they began to discern the good from the bad; the positive from the negative; those that lead us to God and those that block our path to God. The negative ones they called demons. They discovered that first we have to identify the demon to see what is working against us and they found eight primary demons of which we should be extra aware: gluttony; avarice; sloth; fornication, sadness, pride, anger, vainglory.
So, what is working in our lives to separate us from the presence of God? What is there that is not of the Holy Spirit in my life; that wants my good, my peace, my healing, my love. What is in my life that is hidering the fruit of the Holy Spirit?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22
There are motions in our hearts that do not lead us to God. They start with a thought – shall I go to the fridge and open that tub of ice-cream? Shall I surf the internet and see if I can find that picture? Nobody is interested in me, they never phone. She is so stupid, she deserves what she gets. If he does that again I swear I’ll hit him….and so on.
So be aware and capture that negative thought…’we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ’. 2Corinthinas 10:5
I know that in my case I have a critical spirit. I am an ultra-organised person and it drives me crazy when others are disorganised. I criticize and snipe and that causes discord. Forgiveness is another difficulty for me – again coming from the same root – expecting too much from others and being disappointed and critical when I don’t get it. These two faults do not come from the Holy Spirit and they hinder His work in my life. They are my principle demons.
So – first identify the demons that trouble you. Screen your thoughts and discern whether there are spirits within you that are negative, counter productive and blocking the work of the fruit of the spirit. We all have various negative scripts in our head – I’m not good enough; I’m not fit enough; I’m not clever enough; people don’t care about me – and so on. Name these negative thoughts and inspirations and then you have control.
Firstly work at the heart of the matter on the negative thoughts – capture them and reject them as soon as they trouble you. Remember that thoughts can come from without as well as within so do not panic if you find yourself troubled by really awful thoughts. They are an attack to try to stop your progress. Just reject these thoughts remembering that God is your shield. Then you can make a conscious decision to replace them with good and positive thoughts.
The way to do this is to ‘talk back’ to the negative spirit by using scripture passages that personally inspire you and touch your heart. They can be used as a weapon and protection. Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit and it conquers bad spirits. Demons tell falsehoods and try to lead us astray but the Holy Spirit puts everything back in order and heals us.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28: 7
The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 21:1
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. Psalm 17:8
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 32:6
Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:39
Finally, find good rituals and routines that keep you close to God – prayer, reading scripture, eucharist and fellowship. Remember that the Holy Spirit is stronger and more powerful than any negative spirit and all things are possible with God.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
St Michael triumphs over the devil c 1468, Bartolomé Bermejo, National Gallery London The Archanger Michael is shown defeating the devil, a monstrous creature, part reptile, part bat. The kneeling donor is Antonio Juan, Lord of Tous. His prayerbook is open at two penitential psalms (51 and 130). This is the centrepanel of an altarpiece formerly in the parish church of Tous, near Valencia, Spain. One of the leading Spanish painters of the 15th century, Bermejo was active in Valencia and Barcelona. His mastery of the Netherlandish technique of oil painting suggests that he may have trained in the Netherlands.