Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Friday 17 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Hildegard of Bingen
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

8 Saints who were depressed, but never gave up


© Karuka | Shutterstock

Aleteia - published on 05/02/18

8. St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

20th century

This saintly Descalced Carmelite, who was born Jewish and grew up as an atheist, suffered depression for a long time. At one point, she wrote:

“I gradually worked myself into real despair … I could no longer cross the street without wishing that a car would run over me … and I would not come out alive …”

Edith suffered intense depression, starting before her conversion, principally on the many occasions when she was scorned and humiliated because she was of Jewish origin and a woman. An intellectual, a philosopher,and a disciple and assistant of renowned philosopher Edmund Husserl (founder of the philosophical school of phenomenology), she finally found in God the Truth she sought for so earnestly, thanks to reading the works of St. Teresa of Jesus. She then embraced God’s grace with such totality that it gave her the strength to deal not only with her intense interior sufferings, but also with the deadly darkness of Nazism.

After her conversion and radical consecration to God as a Descalced Carmelite, Edith Stein took the religious name of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was able to persevere to the point of martyrdom, keeping her clarity of mind, her faith, her hope, and her love even in prison and in the face of the execution she suffered at the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Does that end of her earthly life seem particularly depressing? Well, yes it is. Nevertheless, like everything in this life, there’s more than one side to it. She faced that extreme situation with the serenity and peaceful soul of someone who learned to deal with the ups and downs of depression, seeing beyond the immediate, and embracing a life that never ends, because it is eternal—and which is able to shine even in the deepest darkness of death in a concentration camp.


Read more:
Depressed? Here’s a patron saint for you


Read more:
J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic cure for frustration, depression, and doubt

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
Mental HealthSaints

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
Our favorite stories of celebrities who inspire us in daily life
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
As irmãs biológicas que se tornaram freiras no instituto Iesu Communio
Francisco Veneto
The 5 biological sisters who joined the religious life in just tw...
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.