One of the most remarkable and culturally relevant aspects of Edith Stein’s life was her profoundly honest and inspiring feminism. It wasn’t common to encounter female doctors of philosophy. As she grew in stature as a professor before becoming a Carmelite nun she developed an intellectual approach to feminism that was groundbreaking. From a biography:

Woman naturally seeks to embrace that which is living, personal and whole. @Abstraction in every sense is alien to the feminine nature. The living and personal to which her care extends is a concrete whole and is protected and encouraged as a totality. . . . She aspires to this totality in herself and in others”

And yet, are there feminine vocations other than the natural one?

“Only subjective delusion could deny that women are capable of practicing vocations other than that of spouse and mother,” Edith noted clearly. In case of need, “every normal and healthy woman is able to hold a position. And there is no profession which cannot be practiced by a woman. A self-sacrificing woman can accomplish astounding achievements when it is a question of replacing the breadwinner of fatherless children, of supporting abandoned children or aged parents,” she added. Like a man, each woman has “her individual specialty and talent, and this talent gives her the capability of doing professional work, be it artistic, scientific, technical

Lawrence Rust