24:28
Karl Stern - Historic Catholic Converts. Father Connor, historian for the diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, traces the lives of British, American, French and German believers who, through God’s grace …More
Karl Stern - Historic Catholic Converts.

Father Connor, historian for the diocese of Scranton, Pennsylvania, traces the lives of British, American, French and German believers who, through God’s grace, made the spiritual and intellectual journey to Rome. These are biographical sketches and conversion life stories. Karl Stern (April 8, 1906 - November 11, 1975) was a German-Canadian neurologist and psychiatrist, and a Jewish convert to the Catholic Church. Stern is best known for the account of his conversion in Pillar of Fire (1951). Stern was born in the small town Cham in Bavaria in 1906, to socially assimilated Jewish parents. There was no synagogue or rabbi in the town, and although regular services and classes were held under the direction of a cantor, Stern's religious education was patchy. As a teenager he sought to re-engage with the Jewish faith, and began attending an Orthodox synagogue, but he soon became an atheist Zionist. He studied medicine at the Universities of Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt, and came to specialize in psychiatric research. In the course of undergoing psychoanalysis himself, he regained belief in God and returned to Orthodox Jewish worship. He emigrated from Nazi Germany in 1936, finding work in neurological research in England, and later as lecturer in neuropathology and assistant neuropathologist at the Montreal Neurological Institute, under Wilder Penfield. In 1943, after much soul-searching, and ultimately influenced by encounters with Jacques Maritain and Dorothy Day, Stern received baptism as a Catholic. Stern married Liselotte von Baeyer, a bookbinder (died 1970) and they had three children: Antony, a psychiatrist (1937-1967), Katherine Skorzewska, and Michael. Stern was significantly incapacitated by a stroke in 1970, although he continued working and died in Montreal in 1975.