August 9, 2023
On August 9th, 2023, as every year, formal celebrations of the anniversary of the death of Edith Stein – Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross OCD – took place in Oświęcim.
The celebrations were attended by:
- Bishop of Aachen Helmut Dieser,
- Bishop of Saratov in Russia Clemens Pickel,
- Auxiliary Bishop of Aachen Karl Borsch,
- Dean of the Oświęcim Deanery, Fr Fryderyk Tarabuła,
- Ms Teresia Benedicta McCarthy miraculously healed through the intercession of Edith Stein (thanks to this miracle canonization was announced) [and her father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, Melkite priest – online],
- A delegation of the Edith Stein House from Wrocław with the director Maria Kromp-Zaleska,
- Delegation of the Society of Edith Stein from Wrocław with Danuta Nowak, Vice President of the Management Board,
- Ms Marta Titaniec – from the Polish Council of Christians and Jews,
- The Oasis Group from the Diocese of Katowice with Fr Karol Lubowiecki,
- Delegation of the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer,
- Individual guests who came to us, e.g. from Ruda Śląska, Wrocław, Przemyśl and Katowice.
The guests were welcomed by the director of the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer, Fr Mateusz Wojcik.
The celebrations began with a meeting with the Melhite priest Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, who unfortunately for health reasons could not appear in person, but connected online with the gathered guests.
Emmanuel Charles McCarthy is a Catholic priest of the Melhite Rite (where married men can be admitted to the priesthood). He is the father of Teresia Benedicta McCarthy, who, as a 2-year-old child, was hospitalized in a critical condition as a result of accidental poisoning. Her liver and kidneys barely functioned and the doctors gave her no chance of surviving without a transplant. Then Fr McCarthy asked family and friends to pray to God for healing through the intercession of her namesake, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). So it happened and little Teresia Benedicta was miraculously healed. This miracle was later recognized by the Catholic Church and allowed Edith Stein to be canonized.
In his speech “The Gospel of Peace”, which took place via video call at the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oświęcim, Father Emmanuel emphasized the importance of Jesus’ non-violent love. He said that no Christian should take part in war and murdering people. He also stated that it was not a coincidence that God gave him, who called for non-violent Christianity, the miracle of healing his daughter through the intercession of Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, who expressed her opposition to the war without violence.
After Fr Emmanuel, Teresia Benedicta McCarthy expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the event.
Then, the guests gathered for the ceremony went to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the prayer for all victims was led by Fr. Manfred Deselaers. “We honor the memory of all the victims,” he said. After the prayer, candles were lit at the plaques commemorating the murdered. At the end the visit to Birkenau, the Bishop of Saratov in Russia, Clemens Pickel, blessed the gathered.
At 5:00 pm, in the chapel of the Discalced Carmelite Sisters in Oświęcim, the Eucharist was held under the leadership of Bishop Roman Pindel, which was preceded by a vigil with the saint. In his homily, the bishop posed the question “What can one woman do against the power of evil?” and outlined the historical background of the life of the holy martyr. He also mentioned that although she could have been saved, she did not choose this path, but said “Come, we are going for our nation” to her sister Rosa.