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March 22, 2024

Kris McLaughlin: My Life with Edith Stein

March 22, 2024
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In this article, Edith Stein writer Kris McLaughlin discusses her connection with Saint Theresa Benedicta of the Cross. You can read her Q&A on Damien of Moloka'i here.


I first became aware of St. Edith Stein, also known as St. Benedicta of the Cross, many years ago through a Catholic playwright friend, Arthur Giron, who in the 1980s wrote a play about her. Titled simply “Edith Stein,” Arthur’s piece was a highly theatrical presentation of various episodes in her life, including imaginative scenes between the saint and a Nazi officer.
After writing the play, Arthur became seriously ill with a brain aneurysm. An operation was required that would either kill or cure him. Privately he and his wife offered up prayers to Edith Stein for a complete cure - and their prayers were answered.

Edith Stein as a student at the University of Breslau.

A Personal Connection

At Easter Vigil in 1993 my husband Buzz McLaughlin (a playwright/screenwriter and currently Script Consultant for The Saints project) and I came into the Church, and while we began learning more about saints, Edith Stein was always impressed in our minds and on our hearts because of Arthur’s play and his cure.
So when I became a writer on The Saints project and was asked for a list of who I’d be interested in writing about, Edith was right up there with St. Benedict and Francis of Assisi. After finishing those scripts, and writing another about Damien of Molokai, which aired recently, I set about gathering books and learning as much as I could about the details of Edith’s life.

Through a Convert's Eyes

Like me and my husband, she was a convert to Catholicism. While we made a jump across the Tiber as, then, Presbyterians, Edith had an even larger trajectory coming from a Jewish background. Her autobiography, “Life in a Jewish Family,” is a fascinating account of her early life, providing an in-depth look at who she was as a child, adolescent, and young adult. Reading this book, along with several others, provided the foundation for the episodes of her life that I wanted to tell.
It’s impossible to immerse oneself in research and writing about a saint without being changed personally and spiritually. As I was working on Edith Stein, our family was going through some major changes in the direction we thought our lives would take. And then this quote of hers came up: “I had my plans, but what I hadn’t planned on were God’s plans.”
This was exactly what we needed to hear. And, it seems, what each saint is telling us: be open to what God is doing in your life. Trust in Him. He knows what is best for each one of us, even though we might find that “our plans” are not always what He has in mind. St. Edith Stein, pray for us!

You can listen to Edith Stein Monday, March 25, at You can read more about Kris McLaughlin at

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