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The Dove and Rose as a community through the combined hearts of St. Joan and St. Thérèse
Edith Stein's community and individual
The Dove and Rose began as a devotional expression to St. Joan of Arc as understood through the spiritual hermeneutics of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. This personal devotion eventually transformed phenomenologically into a communal structure. Something more was there. It was more expansive than simply a personal affection for these two great French saints. A phenomenon I could only perceive as “France” appeared in the shadows of my writings. “France” was the essence of what St. Joan was giving me through my devotion. I described it as a reflection of her heart and of the “combined hearts” of St. Joan and St. Thérèse. France was “given” as a spiritual form in the center of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and experienced phenomenologically through the hearts of Joan and Thérèse. Even more specifically, France was represented in the gestalt of St. Mary Magdalene on the shores of Provence where she brought the apostolic spirit from the foot of the cross to the shores of modern-day France.
A challenge arose, however. Through phenomenology and the luminous assistance of St. Edith Stein, my understanding of The Dove and Rose became layered with philosophical language. Its descriptive beginnings were devotional, but the search to understand what was appearing out of the shadows required a philosophical perspective. A tension developed between the devotional language of a “union of hearts” with St. Joan and St. Thérèse and the phenomenological language of Edith Stein. Mistakenly, and under the mesmerizing spell of the psychoanalytic mind of Jordan Peterson, I moved from the devotional language of “union of hearts” with St. Joan and St. Thérèse to the more Jungian language of “shared consciousness.” I missed the target; I moved from devotional language to questionable psychology to map my work to philosophy! Through the assistance of a friend who objected to my Jungian, psychoanalytic language, I reassessed it. The answer was in front of me the entire time – Edith Stein and her work on empathy. I altered my work to rest on safer terrain, that of Edith Stein.
Recently, I came across a paper by Timothy Burns on Academia.edu that delightfully confirmed my belief that it was Stein’s phenomenological empathy I sought as the philosophical language to build depth upon the devotional “union of hearts.” In the paper, Burns discusses Stein’s “Individual and Community.” He describes Stein’s account of how empathy can be communal through a sharing in the noesis and noemata of a unifying subject. One of my assertions in The Dove and Rose was that we share a “union of heart, mind, and soul with Joan through a sharing in her ‘internal horizon,’ her thematic field of French, Catholic, and Royal perceptual noematic meaning.” Could this be true? According to Edith Stein, yes it could be. Whereas the concept of “shared consciousness” cannot be acceptable due to the “inalienable loneliness” (Stein) of the individual ego, one can experience noemata of plurality. We cannot share in the inalienable ego of another, but we can share noematic meaning as a community!
This shed light on why my phenomenological hermeneutics led from the individuals to the communal. St. Joan was leading the way to participation in a community, one we call “France” which is the spiritual archetype of the earthly. Sharing Joan’s “internal horizon” of noematic meaning brings us into community where we learn through phenomenological insight to think the way Joan thinks and to desire what Joan desires. We have a communal experience with “France” through St. Joan of Arc’s internal horizon of meaning.
“We feel in the name of the community, and it’s the community’s experiencing that is carried out in us and through us.” (Stein)
We receive the experience individually, but according to Stein, it is given in the first-person plural. The experience is “mine”, but it implies others. Thus, we avoid any dangerous notion of sharing consciousness by violating the inalienable ego of another while at the same time receiving the experience as a “plurality” that unites me in a community of meaning with others.
The Dove and Rose indeed is a community of shared meaning with the saints. We participate with St. Joan of Arc, St. Thérèse, and St. Mary Magdalene as a royal line, the House of New Bethany, which represents a special form of the Kingdom of God radiant through the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
We are the House of New Bethany through the combined hearts, the shared internal horizon of meaning, of St. Joan of Arc and St. Thérèse.