Edith Stein could be declared a doctor of the Church with the title “doctor veritatis,” or “doctor of truth,” following a petition from the Discalced Carmelites.

Pope Francis received an official request from the superior general of the Discalced Carmelites, Father Miguel Márquez Calle, on April 18 in a private audience at the Vatican to recognize the theological legacy of the saint who was martyred in Auschwitz.

If accepted, Stein, also known by her religious name St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, could become the fifth woman to be declared a doctor of the Church, a title that recognizes a substantial contribution to the Church’s theology and moral life.

With the petition, the Vatican Dicastery for the Causes of Saints can officially begin the required process to grant Stein the title.

The Carmelites first launched an international commission to gather the necessary documentation required by the Vatican in 2022, a year that marked both the 100th anniversary of Stein’s baptism and the 80th anniversary of her martyrdom.

A title that was proposed for her at the time was “doctor veritatis” because of her relentless intellectual pursuit of truth, which after her conversion she recognized in the person of Jesus Christ.

Stein was born in 1891 into a Jewish family in what is now Wrocław, southwestern Poland. The city was then known as Breslau and located in the German Empire.

After declaring herself to be an atheist at the age of 20, she went on to earn a doctorate in philosophy.

She decided to convert to Catholicism after spending a night reading the autobiography of the 16th-century Carmelite nun St. Teresa of Avila while staying at a friend’s house in 1921.

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“When I had finished the book,” she later recalled, “I said to myself: This is the truth.”

Stein was baptized on Jan. 1, 1922, at the age of 30. She took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross when she became a novice Carmelite nun 12 years later.

Ten years after Stein entered the Carmelite convent, she was arrested along with her sister Rosa, who had also become a Catholic, and the members of her religious community.

She had just finished writing a study of St. John of the Cross titled “The Science of the Cross.”

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross died in the Auschwitz concentration camp on Aug. 9, 1942. Pope John Paul II canonized her in 1998 and proclaimed her a co-patroness of Europe the following year.

“God is truth,” Stein wrote after her conversion. “Anyone who seeks truth seeks God, whether or not he is aware of it.”