South Bend, Ind., Feb 28, 2010 / 12:36 pm
The dignity and vocation of women and men were once again the focus of the fifth annual Edith Stein Project conference at the University of Notre Dame Feb. 12-13. The student- run conference has grown in scope and attendance since its inception in 2006, with 271 people registered for the 2010 conference. The approximately 30 speakers included students, recent graduates and scholars of national reputation.
Edith Stein was an early 20th century philosopher who championed the dignity of women. She converted to Catholicism and entered the Carmelite order, but was killed by the Nazis at Auschwitz in 1942 because of her Jewish heritage. Edith Stein was canonized in 1998 and is known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.
Organizers of the Edith Stein Project wrote in conference materials that they adopted her as their patron saint because of her “inspiration as a model of turning one’s heart to God and as a woman who worked to live out her vocation through the genuine feminine spirit of self-gift.”
The conference initially focused on women, but in recent years, an effort has been made to include men because conference organizers recognized that men and women must cooperate if both are to fully realize their dignity in society. The conference theme of “No Man is an Island: Creature, Culture and
Community,” provided a wide variety of topics, including the family, community, Christian economics,
sexuality and vocation.