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Katie van Schaijik

Self-possession precedes self-giving

Aug. 9, 2013, at 11:25am

Since it's her feast day, I am reading about Edith Stein.  I've learned (unless it's something I'd known and forgotten) that she was born on the Jewish day of Atonement, and that her pious Jewish mother considered this to be of great significance. 

And then I find this line from her memoirs. It comes from a moment in her teen years, when she was having to decide what to do with herself: where to go, what to study. Her family was giving her definite hints, but she was resisting their influence.  Her decision had to be her own.

I could not act unless I had an inner compulsion to do so. My decisions arose out of a depth that was unknown even to myself. 

This captures at least two central

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Katie van Schaijik

Celebrating two great lives

Oct. 12, 2012, at 12:57pm

October 12 is a big day for personalists of our stripe.  It is the birthday of both Edith Stein (1891) and Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889).

To mark the happy occasion, a characterically personalist passage from each:

In order to understand the nature of the heart, we must realize that in many respects the heart is more the real self of the person than his intellect or will.  

In the moral sphere it is the will which has the character of a last, valid word.  Here the voice of our free spiritual center counts above all.

We find the true self primarily in the will.  In many other domains, however, it is the heart which is the most intimate part of the person, the core, the real self, rather

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Katie van Schaijik

Edith Stein, Jewess, Carmelite nun, phenomenologist, personalist, feminist, patroness

Aug. 10, 2012, at 3:11pm

Yesterday, August 9, was the feast day of Edith Stein, Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, one of the patron saints and philosophical forebears of the Personal Project. The Vatican has a good short biography here.  Born to a Jewish family in Breslau, Germany, she was part of the circle of brilliant students who, in the early years of the 20th century, gathered in Göttingen around Edmund Husserl, Adolf Reinach and Max Scheler to study phenomenology.  Later (partly through Scheler's influence) she converted to Catholicism, became a Carmelite nun, and ultimately died a martyr for her faith in Auschwitz.

Jules and I were in Rome on the great day of her Canonization in 1998.

Apart from the

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Katie van Schaijik

119th birthday of Edith Stein

Oct. 12, 2010, at 5:50pm

Like von Hildebrand, whose birthday she shares, Edith Stein studied philosophy in Göttingen under Edmund Husserl and Adolf Reinach.  There, too, she met Max Scheler, whose genius influenced her profoundly.

From a short biography by Laura Garcia:

Stein’s philosophical studies encouraged her openness to the possibility of transcendent realities, and her atheism began to crumble under the influence of her friends who had converted to Christianity.

During the summer of 1921, at the age of twenty-nine, Stein was vacationing with friends but found herself alone for the evening. She picked up, seemingly by chance, the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, founder of the Carmelite Order. She

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Katie van Schaijik

Remembering two great personalists

Oct. 12, 2009, at 8:26pm

October 12th is a sort of feast day for the Personalist Project, since it is the birthday of Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889) and Edith Stein (1891). They studied philosophy (a few years apart) under phenomenologists Adolf Reinach and Edmund Husserl; both were profoundly influenced by Max Scheler. They were converts to Catholicism (DvH from nominal Protestantism; ES from Judaism). Both dedicated themselves to resisting the evil of Naziism, intellectually, morally, and religiously.

Lacking time to do their contributions anything like justice, let me at least offer, in honor of the day, a glimpse of why the Personalist Project looks to them as two of our leading lights.

These

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Katie van Schaijik

Weigel at Immaculata

Oct. 1, 2009, at 11:41am

Last night we attended a talk by George Weigel at Immaculata University comparing John Paul II and Edith Stein.  My reaction was somewhat mixed.  Weigel has a marvelous command of the timeline of their lives and some of the major points of convergence between these two giants of 20th century Catholicism and 20th century philosophy: their shared faith and intellectual vocation, their common critique of the atheism and materialism of the modern world, their profound interest in re-establishing the right relation between faith and reason, their work to bring Thomism and phenomenology into fruitful contact with each other, their contributions toward a Christian femininism, and so on. 
But for

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