In his homily during the canonization of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (aka Edith Stein), Pope John Paul II quoted the new saint’s words: “Whoever truly loves does not stop at the prospect of suffering. He accepts communion in suffering with the one he loves.” Later he quoted her again, saying, “Love makes suffering fruitful, and suffering deepens love.”
This Carmelite nun was born Jewish, and, after years of pretty much rejecting religion, converted to Catholicism. During World War II, she could have escaped the Nazis, but she remained in her convent where she was seized by the Gestapo, then shipped to Auschwitz, where she was murdered with her sister in a gas chamber. However, while in the concentration camp, Edith Stein was known for her compassion and caring for the other prisoners.
Caregivers, we have a choice. We can either enter into the suffering with our loved ones, giving them the love and care they deserve, or we can abandon them or treat them with hostility and grudging care. It’s not always easy to be loving, but it’s what we are called to do. Let us pray to this saint so that our loved ones may commend us for our compassion and caring just as Teresa’s fellow prisoners commended her.
Scaperlanda, Maria Ruiz. Edith Stein: The Life and Legacy of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Manchester, New Hampshire, Sophia Institute Press, 2017.
To find the homily referenced above, search for Oct. 11, 1998, “Homily of John Paul II for the Canonization of Edith Stein.”