Edith Stein was born into a Jewish family in Breslau, Germany on October 12, 1891. She was an intellectually gifted young woman and excelled in school from an early age. At the age of 25 she completed her doctoral thesis in philosophy, On the Problem of Empathy, under the tutelage of the German phenomenologist, Professor Edmund Husserl. After reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, she became a Roman Catholic in 1922.
Edith Stein eventually accepted a position teaching at a girls' school run by the Dominican teaching sisters in the city of Speyer. During this time she translated Saint Thomas Aquinas' 'Treatise on Truth' from Latin to German and traveled to several speaking engagements where she addressed audiences on women's and educational topics. In 1932 she became a lecturer at the German Institute for Scientific Pedagogy in Munster where she was highly respected for her intellectual capabilities.
Her spiritual journey continued with a desire to enter the convent and in 1933 she was received into the Cologne Carmel. At the end of 1938 she was transferred to the Echt Carmel in Holland. It was from there that she was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in August of 1942, and was killed on August 9th. She was canonized in Rome on October 11, 1998.