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Edith Stein-Teresa Benedicta

1 year 4 months hence

Edith Stein, another martyr of the Holocaust, was an unlikely Carmelite. She grew up in an observant Jewish family in Wroclaw, Poland, but during her college years she could not believe in a personal God and called herself an atheist. Her studies included philosophy, psychology, and medieval Christian writers. She also read St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography, which touched her deeply. In 1922, she was baptized in St. Martin Church, Bergzabern. In 1933, she joined the Carmel of Cologne and took the name Teresa Benedict of the Cross. Edith and her sister, Rosa, were both killed at Auschwitz in 1942. Edith was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1999.

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Memorial of Titus Brandsma

1 year 4 months hence

The year after Therese died, Anno Brandsma joined the Carmelites in his home province of Friesland, Holland. Taking the name Titus, he delved into Carmelite history and brought his deep prayer practice to his studies at the Gregorian University in Rome and later, teaching assignments. In 1923, he helped Dutch bishops found a Catholic University in Nijmegen, Holland, where he later became rector. Titus was also a journalist and leader in the Catholic press. In 1940, German troops invaded Holland. By 1941, they had made it illegal for any priest or religious to direct a school or university; they were also placing severe limits on publishers. Titus remained an outspoken advocate for the Catholic press and religious freedom, and as a result was arrested in January 1942. He died in July that same year in Dachau. He was made Blessed by Pope John Paul II in 1985.

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As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."