Artist: Léo Labbé Rubin
Venue: 15 Orient settlement, New York, US
Date: May 2 – June 15, 2021
Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and 15 Orient, New York
«Suffering and dying is everyone’s lot. But when a person is a living member of the Body of Christ, the divinity of the Head bestows her suffering and death a redemptive form. This is the objective reason why all the saints have yearned for suffering. It is not a sickly propensity for suffering. At the sight of the natural understanding, this could appear as a perversion. But in the light of the mystery of redemption, this aspiration is the highest wisdom. Thus, the ally of Christ will be able to persevere, unperturbed, even in the dark night of subjective estrangement and abandonment from God; divine providence perhaps imposes this torture on him to free someone else who is himself objectively hampered. Also “that your will be done” even and especially in the darker night.»
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), The Power of the Cross.
Born into a Jewish family, she first went through a phase of atheism. A student of philosophy, she was the first woman to present a thesis in this discipline in Germany, then continued her career as a collaborator with the German philosopher Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology.
A long intellectual and spiritual evolution finally led her to the Catholic faith. She was baptized on January 1, 1922 into the Catholic Church. She then taught and lectured in Germany, developing a theology of women, as well as an analysis of the philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas and phenomenology.
In 1933 she was banned from teaching by the National Socialist regime. Inspired by the writings and life of Saint Teresa of Avila, she asked to enter Carmel, where she became a nun under the name of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Arrested by the SS, she was deported and died as a martyr “for her people” in Auschwitz on August 9, 1942.
She was canonized by Pope Saint John Paul II on October 11, 1998. A “crucified philosopher”, she was made co-patron saint of Europe by the same Pope on October 1, 1999.
After several years of a spiritual quest that has took him through Zen Buddhism, Kabbalah, Islam, non-duality and other traditions, Léo Labbé Rubin makes a life-changing encounter with the Risen Christ, in July 2016 in Paris, rue Pasteur, where he is then working on the material for a future exhibition to come. As the Holy Spirit opens his heart and mind to the mysteries of faith and salvation in Jesus Christ, his life changes dramatically. He separates from his past work, takes a new name, and begins a catechumenal journey within the Catholic Church. On April 1, 2018, he receives in Paris the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and first communion, among the Monastic Fraternities of Jerusalem. Since then, he has endeavored to serve with fidelity the unique, living, and true God, the Blessed Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – in a life of prayer and contemplation founded on the Eucharist, as well as by witnessing to his faith through his work. The current exhibition at 15 Orient Gallery, showing a series of drawings that have been made in October 2020 after returning from a retreat at the Solesmes Abbey, is dedicated to Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, born Edith Stein.
Mary D.C. (Paris, April 21, 2021.)