Edith Stein


Edith Stein

Our entire educational system has been in a state of crisis for decades. Continuous calls for reform are being made everywhere. Although some important guidelines have emerged from the confusion of diverse efforts, one feels as though in the midst of preparatory experiments rather than a peaceful, efficient evolution.

Women's education is part of this general crisis, and it also has its own unique problems. A final solution will be possible only in conjunction with a reform of the entire German educational system. Today, even if we try to consider women's education separately, we must do so in considering it in its relation to the problem as a whole. Women's education, although a special case, involves, in fact, the entire range of educational reform.

I. Concept Of Education[2]

Should we look for the cause of the crisis which has shaken the old system, we would do well to search for it in the concept of education basic to that system, a concept which we today consider as having failed. The "old system" is essentially a child of the Enlightenment. (I am thinking here of the elementary and high schools and the teachers' colleges. Humanistic secondary schools, universities, seminaries for priests, and other vocational schools have evolved from another foundation, but they show—due to practical interlockings—distinct marks of the influence of the rest of the school system.)

The former ideal of education was that of encyclopedic knowledge: the presumed concept of the mind was that of the "tabula rasa onto" which as many impressions as possible were to be registered through intellectual perceptions and memorizations. The system which emerged from this concept has occasioned ever increasing criticism through its evident defects and, finally, there is an all-out attack on it. Today, it is like a house that is being torn down—here and there one still sees part of a brick wall, a bow window, rubbish heaped up in between; in the midst of this, here and there a new segment rises. I wonder if it is possible to remove all this and to erect a new edifice on solid ground in accordance with a uniform plan? The tendency for this is here: for years, we have been witnessing the struggle for a new concept of education. Yet this concept is fundamentally a very old one.

I will try briefly to outline the goal of all these efforts. Education is not an external possession of learning but rather the gestalt[3] which the human personality assumes under the influence of manifold external forces, i.e., the process of this formation. The material which is to be formed is, on the one hand, the inherited physical-psychic disposition; on the other hand, it is the formative materials constantly being integrated. The body draws from the physical world; the psyche from its intellectual environment—from the world of people and from the values which nourish it.

The first fundamental formation happens within the soul. Just as an inner form resides in the seed of plants, an invisible force making a fir tree shoot up here and a beech there, there is in this way an inner mold set in human beings which urges the evolution into a certain direction and works towards -a certain gestalt in blind singleness of purpose, that of the personality which is mature, fully developed, and uniquely individual. Other forces accompany this first one, some from without and some from within. The small child with its physical psychic disposition and its innate singleness of purpose is delivered into the hands of human sculptors. The fulfillment of his goal depends on whether or not they furnish the necessary formative materials for his body and soul. It is characteristic of the psychical organs that they only fructify by being activated on adequate material: i.e., the senses through observation, discernment, comparison of colors and shapes, tones and noises; reason through thought and understanding; will through achievements of will (decision, resolution, renunciation, etc.); emotions through emotional responses, etc. Adequate external tasks contribute accordingly to the cultivation of these faculties.

There are many predispositions which would block the development prescribed by inner determination if permitted to grow uncurbed. The forming hand which curtails such sprouting wild seedlings serves the inner formation.

Along with these interventions, there are active environmental factors. Actual formative material is received not merely by the senses and intellect but is integrated by the "heart and soul" as well. But if it actually becomes transformed into the soul, then it ceases to be mere material: it works itself, forming, developing; it helps the soul to reach its intended gestalt.

The external formative powers are conditioned by yet another inner formative force. The small child is put into the hands of human educators, but the maturating person awakening to spiritual freedom is given into his own hand. He himself can work for his growth through the faculty of free will: he can discover and develop his faculties; he can open himself up to the formative influences or cut himself off from them. He, too, is bound by the material given to him and the primary formative principle acting within: nobody can make of himself something which he is not by nature.

In contrast to all powers already named, there is only one formative power which is not bound to the limits of nature, but, on the contrary, can transform the inner form further and from within: that is the power of grace.

We recognize that education is more complex and mysterious and less subject to arbitrary will than the Enlightenment conceived; and because the Enlightenment did not deal with the essential factors of formation, its system of education had to suffer shipwreck.

II. Women's Nature And Vocation

All formal educational work must recognize given nature. Hence the slogan of the school reformers: "Everything depends on the child!" Because this given nature is an individual one, they insist it needs "Individual Education!" Because the faculties develop only through application, they call for "Student autonomy!"—"Spontaneity!" If we want to lay the foundation for a sound, enduring educational system for women, we must therefore ask ourselves:

l. What is woman's nature and the educational goal prescribed for that nature: what inner formative powers do we have to count upon? 2. How can formal education help the inner process?

In consideration of the first question, I would like to limit myself to the nature of woman.[4] Extensive individual differences shall not be denied; in many instances, women indicate predominantly masculine traits. Each woman has the expectancy for a particular vocation by dint of individual predispositions and gifts; this vocation is irrespective of her feminine one. Consideration of individuality is a requirement for general education; what matters above all in our context is to lay the specific basis for woman's education.

Woman's nature is determined by her original vocation of spouse and mother. One depends on the other. The body of woman is fashioned "to be one flesh" with another and to nurse new human life in itself. A well-disciplined body is an accommodating instrument for the mind which animates it; at the same time, it is a source of power and a habitat for the mind. Just so, woman's soul is designed to be subordinate to man in obedience and support; it is also fashioned to be a shelter in which other souls may unfold. Both spiritual companionship and spiritual motherliness are not limited to the physical spouse and mother relationships, but they extend to all people with whom woman comes into contact.

The soul of woman must therefore be expansive and open to all human beings; it must be quiet so that no small weak flame will be extinguished by stormy winds; warm so as not to benumb fragile buds; clear, so that no vermin will settle in dark corners and recesses; self-contained, so that no invasions from without can peril the inner life; empty of itself, in order that extraneous life may have room in it; finally, mistress of itself and also of its body, so that the entire person is readily at the disposal of every call.

That is an ideal image of the gestalt of the feminine soul. The soul of the first woman was formed for this purpose, and so, too, was the soul of the Mother of God. In all other women since the Fall, there is an embryo of such development, but it needs particular cultivation if it is not to be suffocated among weeds rankly shooting up around it.

Woman's soul should be expansive; nothing human should be alien to it. Evidently, it has a natural predisposition to such an end: on average, its principal interest is directed to people and human relations. But, if one leaves the natural instinct to itself, this is expressed in a manner apart from its objective. Often the interest is chiefly mere curiosity, mere desire to get to know people and their circumstances; sometimes it is real avidity to penetrate alien areas. If this instinct is simply indulged in, then nothing is won either for the soul itself or for other souls. It goes out of itself, so to speak, and remains standing outside of itself. It loses itself, without giving anything to others. This is unfruitful, indeed, even detrimental. Woman's soul will profit only if it goes abroad to search and to bring home the hidden treasure which rests in every human soul, and which can enrich not only her soul but also others; and it will profit only if it searches and bears home the well-known or hidden burden which is laid on every human soul. Only the one who stands with wholesome awe before human souls will search in such a manner, one who knows that human souls are the kingdom of God, who knows that one may approach them only if one is sent to them. But whoever is sent will find that which she is seeking, and whoever is so sought will be found and saved. Then the soul does not remain standing on the outside but, on the contrary, carries its booty home; and its expanses must widen in order to be able to take in what it carries.

The soul has to be quiet, for the life which it must protect is timid and speaks only faintly; if the soul itself is in tumult, it will not hear this life which will soon be completely silenced and will disappear from the soul. I wonder whether one can say that the feminine soul is fashioned by nature for this? At first sight, the contrary seems to be true. Women's souls are in commotion so much and so strongly; commotion itself makes much noise; and, in addition, the soul is urged to express its agitation. Nevertheless, the faculty for this quiet must be there; otherwise, it could not be so profoundly practiced as it is, after all, by many women: those women in whom one takes refuge in order to find peace, and who have ears for the softest and most imperceptible little voices.

Woman succeeds if the other requirements are filled: if the soul is empty of self and is self-contained. Indeed, when the inherent agitated self is completely gone, then there is room and quiet to make oneself perceptible to others. But no one can render himself so by nature alone, neither man nor woman. "O Lord God, take me away from myself and give me completely to you alone," the ancient German prayer says. We can do nothing ourselves; God must do it. To speak to Him thus is easier by nature for woman than for man because a natural desire lives in her to give herself completely to someone. When she has once realized that no one other than God is capable of receiving her completely for Himself and that it is sinful theft toward God to give oneself completely to one other than Him, then the surrender is no longer difficult and she becomes free of herself. Then it is also self- evident to her to enclose herself in her castle, whereas, before, she was given to the storms which penetrated her from without again and again; and previously she had also gone into the world in order to seek something abroad which might be able to still her hunger. Now she has all that she needs; she reaches out when she is sent, and opens up only to that which may find admission to her. She is mistress of this castle as the handmaid of her Lord, and she is ready as handmaid for all whom the Lord desires her to serve. But, above all, this means that she is ready for him who was given to her as visible sovereign—for her spouse or, also, for those having authority over her in one way or other.

The soul of woman is no doubt warm by nature, but its natural warmth is too seldom constant. It consumes itself and fails when it may be most needed; or it is augmented by a flying spark to the fire which destroys when it should only gently warm. But here again, that can only be helped when, instead of the worldly fire, the heavenly one is known. When the heavenly fire, the divine love, has consumed all impure matters, then it burns in the soul as a quiet flame which not only warms but also illuminates; then all is bright, pure, and clear. Indeed, clarity also does not manifest itself as given by nature. On the contrary, the soul of woman appears dull and dark, opaque to herself and to others. Only the divine light renders it clear and bright.

Thus, everything points to this conclusion: woman can become what she should be in conformity with her primary vocation only when formation through grace accompanies the natural inner formation. Because of this, religious education must be the core of all women's education.

III. The Work Of Formal Education

We see that the possibility exists of the inner formative functions needing the help of exterior ones; indeed, that is the hypothesis of all education. Formal education enhances the development of the given physical and intellectual organs, and it produces suitable educational material. Both work extensively together. Trained functions are needed for the reception of the materials; on the other hand, these functions can only be trained by material. The treatment of the body belongs naturally in an integral theory of women's education. I leave it to the experts to deduce the natural educational work provided by anatomy and physiology; I wish only to investigate education in respect to the soul. What materials does the soul need for its development. It must receive something into itself in order to grow. And, as we have seen, only that which the soul receives internally can become an integral part of it so that we can speak of growth and formation; that which is received by senses and intellect remains an exterior possession.[5] We call qualities the objects which have something in themselves which make them fit for reception into the interior of the soul; we call this something itself value.

An especially strong natural desire for such spiritually nourishing values lives within the soul of woman. She is predisposed to love the beautiful, inspired by the morally exalted; but, above all, she is open to the highest earthly values, the inexpressible ones which remain in the essence of the souls themselves. It was thus undoubtedly legitimate when emotionally formative subjects—literature, art, history—occupied an extensive place in the education of girls until a few years ago. I quite believe that, in the former period, at least the more gifted girls of the often derided "Hoheren Tochterschule" profited by a good share of effectual education.

Yet the fact that emotionally formative material is generally received is of less importance; such material must become assimilated in the right way, thereby cooperating in formation. There is a law which rules this formation the law of reason. The respective place in the soul to be reasonably yielded to values and qualities corresponds to the structure of the external world and to its gradation of these values and qualities. In order that the soul be rightly formed and not malformed, it must be able to compare and discriminate, weigh and measure. It may not be impregnated with an equivocal enthusiasm; it may not be filled with fanaticism; and it must attain fine perception and sharp judgment.

A well-developed intellect pertains to that end. Even if abstract intellectual activity is on average less suited to women, the intellect is nevertheless the key to the kingdom of the mind; it is the eye of the mind, and through it light penetrates into the darkness of the soul. In her Graz address on "Woman's Mission," Oda Schneider said that it suffices for women to live and not to ask a protracted "what" and "to what purpose." But in that lies the strong danger of error, of loss of purpose and aim. The significance of masculine control was elucidated in that address. But that should not mean the relinquishing of one's own judgment in favor of dependence. The intellect, which for all that is surely there, may and must be moved to action. It cannot, by any means, become lucid and acute enough. But, of course, the development of intellect may not be increased at the expense of the refinement of emotion. That would mean turning the means into the end. The main point is not to admit into the curriculum everything recommendable as purely intellectual training. It would be advisable, on the contrary, if the trouble were taken to achieve a maximum result with a minimum expense so that the greatest possible opportunity remains for material improvements.

Moreover, one must remember that there is not only a theoretical but also a practical intelligence which is faced in daily life by the most diverse tasks. It is, first of all, of extraordinary importance for later life to train this faculty; and it is formed through exercise in concrete tasks, not in theoretical problems. It suits the nature of woman better because she is indeed more oriented to the concrete than to the abstract. And along with it should go schooling of the will from which achievements are constantly asked: choice, judgment, renunciation, sacrifice, etc. And training of the practical intellect is also essential for the cultivation of proper emotions. Only where conviction and intention are successfully translated into action can it be shown whether an enthusiasm is legitimate, whether higher things are actually preferred over lower things. Finally, human nature is geared not only toward receiving but also toward acting by giving shape to the external world.

For that reason, an essential part of the educational process is the activation of one's practical and creative capacities. And practical abilities in life are required of the majority of women. Only if we have allowed them to already act during the time of schooling will we rear practical, able, energetic, determined, self-sacrificing women.

Several basic points of reference for an educational plan now emerge as exacted by the nature and vocation of woman. One would have to be entirely free of the notion that schooling should give a compendium of all the areas of knowledge of our time. On the contrary, one should endeavor to form people who are intelligent and capable enough to familiarize themselves with any area of knowledge which will become important for them. That is why the subject matter within the so-called exact sciences should be intensively limited, as well as the time allotted to foreign languages for children with little linguistic talent. The mind must be given adequate opportunity to exercise itself. To that end, abstract activity cannot be lacking. For that purpose, depending on talent, one should refer preferably to the classics or to mathematics. Practical exercises of mind should be placed in any case next to abstract, intellectual exercises.

Teaching girls to know and understand the world and people, and learn how to associate with them, should be considered the essential duty of the school. It has become impressively clear to us that a right relation to our fellow creatures is only possible within the framework of a right relation to the Creator.

Thus we come back to the concept that religious education is the most important component of education. The most urgent duty is to open the child's path to God. Thus we can also say that to be formed religiously one must have living faith. To have living faith means to know God, to love Him, to serve Him.

Whoever knows God (in the measure in which knowledge of God is possible through natural and supernatural light) cannot do other than love Him; whoever loves Him cannot do other than serve Him. Thus, matters of mind and heart, achievement and act of will are living faith. He who knows how to awaken faith trains all faculties. But one can only awaken it when one also summons up all the faculties. This cannot be done through tedious intellectual instruction, but it also cannot be done through fanatic instruction which "appeals to the emotions"; on the contrary, this can be done only through a religious instruction which leads from the fullness of one's own religious life to the depths of the Godhead, an instruction which is able to present God in His kindness; such instruction enkindles love and exacts proof through deed, and it may so challenge because one achieves this by oneself. Wherever the soul is enkindled, that soul itself longs for action; and it eagerly grasps the forms of practical life for which God and Holy Church have provided: participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, a participation which consummates the holy sacrifice as an offering in union with the Eucharistic Lord, festive praise of God, and all works of love in which Christ is served in the members of His Mystical Body. The entire abundance of the supernatural world of the spirit is opened to the soul thereby, and an inexhaustible abundance of formative material which enters into it is thus able to build up and transform it.

IV. Challenges Of The Present—Roads To Practical Realization

How can we organize an educational institution in which people live with God and humanity, in which they work for God and humanity? Such an organization must be based on all understanding of the nature and vocation of woman as I have presented them.

But I believe that this must be considered from an entirely different perspective. What does our age demand of women? First of all, it requires most of them to earn their own living. It is reasonable to expect that those who manage a household conduct it in a rational way and assist the common condition of the economy, which summons them to contribute (as wives and mothers) to the moral recovery of the people. It desires that they pave the way for heaven. That means, it requires women who have a knowledge of life, prudence, and practical ability; women who arc morally steadfast, women whose lives are imperturbably rooted in God. How will all this be brought about if the foundation for this purpose is not laid in youth?

There is no lack of initiatives in this direction. The officials have adopted largely the methodical foundations of the reform pedagogy: they require educational instruction and "Selbsttatigkeit."[7] A start has been made with the new teaching arrangement for the elementary schools in Bavaria in order to convert the corresponding teaching plan: in Prussia in recent years, concern has been shown in the secondary schools for a greater freedom of movement by teacher and student. But all in all, it must be said that there are difficult hindrances such as the overloaded curriculum and the extended system of examination and qualification. I believe that a general reform of the educational system can be realized only in conjunction with a systematic regulation of the vocational system. And such a control appears to me as an urgent need of the present time, one even more urgent than educational reform; today large numbers of people are undecided about their choice of a vocation and have nowhere to go for counseling concerning a choice of vocation, and hardly anyone is able to give advice. We are warned that many vocations are overcrowded. Besides, there are so many theoretical requirements involved even in training for essentially practical vocations that many persons who have practical skills are excluded from them.

As a first step in finding a remedy for this state of affairs, general occupational statistics are needed: this would ascertain simultaneously how great the demand is for each vocation and would thereby control the inexcusable rumor of overcrowding. Vocational training should then be developed in accordance with actual requirements of the vocation; it should be uninfluenced by completely irrelevant viewpoints—for example, the desire of the officials to restrict the number of candidates through the most difficult terms of admission, or a certain vanity of some vocational classes which strive to maintain equality in the training process even if the real requirements indicate other paths.

It would be more suitable, then, to prepare systematically for this vocational school system in youth institutions in as much as such institutions could observe and differentiate the students according to their individual gifts; the vocational aptitude would be allowed to stand out early and would thereby lay the basis for appropriate vocational guidance and choice. A choice of educational matter could ensue, with regard to the future vocation showing early indications.

At these educational centers, great freedom and versatility in the work naturally would be required. What I have in mind is a kind of Montessori system which would be followed from earliest infancy up to the threshold of the vocational school

The core curriculum in girls' schools should be the sort of general education dictated by woman's nature and vocation: a basic religious education suitable for each age level; at the same time, training in household skills, drawing up a budget, care of children and adolescents, and political-social issues. All this should be not purely theoretical but theoretical and practical at the same time, and, of course, not through laboratory experiments but through actual solutions of real, if smaller and more modest, tasks. Affiliated to this would be the purely intellectual fields; here division would enter according to individual aptitude and inclination, and the transfer into the vocational school would be prepared.

The transfer from a general educational institution into a vocational school appears to me as normal and desirable. In the first place, vocational preparation will be an economic necessity for a long time. Secondly, it appears to me to lie in the interest of personality formation. Individual abilities and energies of the mature person strive toward practical effect and capable performance. Only in the fewest number of cases is there still place in family life for such basic formation. In addition, it is a social requirement. The vocation is the place where the individual is incorporated into the community or into the function which he has to fulfill in the organism of community. The singular mission of the working woman is to fuse her feminine calling with her vocational calling and, by means of that fusion, to give a feminine quality to her vocational calling.

Naturally, such a school transformation cannot be enacted so easily. First of all, suitable teaching forces may be lacking. Secondly, any teething troubles in a new system might appear epidemically in the whole country, and that could be so disastrous that one would look back with nostalgia to the "good old times" and give up the healthy principles.

All reform measures must first of all be tested on a small scale; indeed, some have in fact been tested by inspired reformers in private or public experimental schools before they were officially recommended or ordered for general realization.

So it would appear as a desirable beginning for a reform of women's education if a few resolute Catholic women might be discovered in order to build such a school, women who are firmly rooted in the faith, cultivated in basic pedagogy; but, above all, women who are familiar with all modern work methods. Also, of course, pertaining to this would be a circle of parents who are courageous and trustful enough to entrust their children to this school, and a circle of sponsors to finance it. Provisionally I would desire from the officials only that they create the scope of the new concept of education through reduction of subject matter and freedom of action of teachers' powers. Moreover, I would wish that the system of examination and qualification should undergo a basic revision and there be a new arrangement of the entire vocational system.

In this exposition, I have knowingly and deliberately placed women's education as such at the center. It has been emphasized well enough that women just as men are individuals whose individuality must be taken into consideration in educational work. However, in order to avoid a misunderstanding, it is perhaps not superfluous to emphasize that women and men are given a common goal of education as human beings: "You are to be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." This educational goal stands in visible gestalt before our eyes in the person of Jesus Christ. To become His likeness is everyone's goal. To be formed to this through Christ Himself is the path for us all as members bound to Him as head. But the basic material is diverse. God created humanity as man and woman, and He gave to each his and her particular duty in the organism of humanity. Masculine and feminine nature degenerated through the Fall. They can be freed from this slag in the furnace of the divine molder. And whoever relinquishes himself unconditionally to this formation, not only will nature in its purity be restored in him but he will grow beyond nature and become an other Christ in whom the barriers have dropped and the positive values of masculine and feminine nature are united. But all natural work has to proceed from the natural foundation.

St. Lioba, January 12, 1932-8

In the talk which I gave in November 1930 in Berndorf concerning the foundations of women's education, I tried to draw the picture of woman's soul as it would correspond to the eternal vocation of woman, and I termed its attributes as expansive, quiet, empty of self, warm, and clear. Now I am asked to say something regarding how one might come to possess these qualities.

I believe that it is not a matter of a multiplicity of attributes which we can tackle and acquire individually; it is rather a single total condition of the soul, a condition which is envisaged here in these attributes from various aspects. We are not able to attain this condition by willing it, it must be effected through grace. What we can and must do is open ourselves to grace; that means to renounce our own will completely and to give it captive to the divine will, to lay our whole soul, ready for reception and formation, into God's hands.

Becoming empty and still are closely connected. The soul is replenished by nature in so many ways that one thing always replaces another, and the soul is in constant agitation, often in tumult and uproar.

The duties and cares of the day ahead crowd about us when we awake in the morning (if they have not already dispelled our night's rest). Now arises the uneasy question: How can all this be accommodated in one day? When will I do this, when that? How shall I start on this and that? Thus agitated, we would like to run around and rush forth. We must then take the reins in hand and say, "Take it easy! Not any of this may touch me now. My first morning's hour belongs to the Lord. I will tackle the day's work which He charges me with, and He will give me the power to accomplish it."

So I will go to the altar of God. Here it is not a question of my minute, petty affairs, but of the great offering of reconciliation. I may participate in that, purify myself and be made happy, and lay myself with all my doings and troubles along with the sacrifice on the altar. And when the Lord comes to me then in Holy Communion, then I may ask Him, "Lord, what do you want of me?" (St. Teresa). And after quiet dialogue, I will go to that which I see as my next duty.

I will still be joyful when I enter into my day's work after this morning's celebration: my soul will be empty of that which could assail and burden it, but it will be filled with holy joy, courage, and energy.

Because my soul has left itself and entered into the divine life, it has become great and expansive. Love burns in it like a composed flame which the Lord has enkindled, and which urges my soul to render love and to inflame love in others: "flammescatigne caritas, accendat ardor proximos. "[9] And it sees clearly the next part of the path before it; it does not see very far, but it knows that when it has arrived at that place where the horizon now intersects, a new vista will then be opened.

Now begins the day's work, perhaps the teaching profession—four or five hours, one after the other. That means giving our concentration there. We cannot achieve in each hour what we want, perhaps in none. We must contend with our own fatigue, unforeseen interruptions, shortcomings of the children, diverse vexations, indignities, anxieties. Or perhaps it is office work: give and take with disagreeable supervisors and colleagues, unfulfilled demands, unjust reproaches, human meanness, perhaps also distress of the most distinct kind.

It is the noon hour. We come home exhausted, shattered. New vexations possibly await there. Now where is the soul's morning freshness? The soul would like to seethe and storm again: indignation, chagrin, regret. And there is still so much to do until evening. Should we not go immediately to it? No, not before calm sets in at least for a moment. Each one must know, or get to know, where and how she can find peace. The best way, when it is possible, is to shed all cares again for a short time before the tabernacle. Whoever cannot do that, whoever also possibly requires bodily rest, should take a breathing space in her own room. And when no outer rest whatever is attainable, when there is no place in which to retreat, if pressing duties prohibit a quiet hour, then at least she must for a moment seal off herself inwardly against all other things and take refuge in the Lord. He is indeed there and can give us in a single moment what we need.

Thus the remainder of the day will continue, perhaps in great fatigue and laboriousness, but in peace. And when night comes, and retrospect shows that everything was patchwork and much which one had planned left undone, when so many things rouse shame and regret, then take all as it is, lay it in God's hands, and offer it up to Him. In this way we will be able to rest in Him, actually to rest, and to begin the new day like a new life.

This is only a small indication how the day could take shape in order to make room for God's grace. Each individual will know best how this can be used in her particular circumstances. It could be further indicated how Sunday must be a great door through which celestial life can enter into everyday life, and strength for the work of the entire week, and how the great feasts, holidays, and the seasons of Lent, lived through in the spirit of the Church, permit the soul to mature the more from year to year to the eternal Sabbath rest.

It will be an essential duty of each individual to consider how she must shape her plan for daily and yearly living, according to her bent and to her respective circumstances of life, in order to make ready the way for the Lord. The exterior allotment must be different for each one, and it must also adjust resiliently to the change of circumstances in the course of time. But the psychic situation varies with individuals and with each individual in different times. As to the means which are suitable for bringing about union with the eternal,- keeping it alive or also enlivening it anew—such as contemplation, spiritual reading, participation in the liturgy, popular services, etc.—these are not fruitful for each person and at all times. For example, contemplation cannot be practiced by all and always in the same way.

It is important to each case to find out the most efficacious way and to make it useful for oneself. It would be good to listen to expert advice in order to know what one lacks, and this is especially so before one takes on variations from a tested arrangement.


1. This subject was first presented in an address for the Educational Standing Committee of German Catholic Federation of Women, in Berndorf a. Rh. on November 11, 1930. (Eds.' note)

2. The following concepts are dealt with somewhat more comprehensively in a lecture on the concept of education. The text for these addresses will be assumed in a later volume of Edith Steins "Werke." (Eds.' note)

3. The term "Gestalt" when used as a psychological term has many meanings; here it can be translated as "form" or "character." (Tr.'s note)

4. My Salzburg address, "The Ethos of Women's Professions" contains supplementary thoughts. See in this volume.

5. A clarified theory of values and a respective explanation of perception of values would be an essential prerequisite for a justifiable and philosophical theory of education; this would explain which part reason and soul have in the perception of values and would illuminate their collaboration.

6. "Hoheren Tochterschule" were high schools for girls. (Tr.'s note)

7. Literally, "Selbsttatigkeit" is the self-activity of the student, but it pertains to the free choice of curriculum and self-governance of the student. (Tr.'s note)

8. By the examination of the literary remains, sheets of manuscripts were discovered which contain supplementary thoughts to the above lectures. (Eds.' note)

9. This is an excerpt from the Latin hymn to the Holy Spirit, "Nunc Sancti Nobis Spiritus" ascribed to St. Ambrose and prescribed for the hour of Terce (9:00 a.m.) throughout the year in the Roman Breviary. A literal translation reads: "Let charity be inflamed with fire, and ardor enkindle our neighbors." (Tr.'s note)

Taken from the works of Edith Stein as published by ICS Publications in the book "The Collected Works of Edith Stein", Volume Two "Essays on Woman", 1987.