St. Scholastica

Friends in Christ,
Today is the Feast of St. Scholastica. St. Scholastica was born in the year 480, and she was actually the twin sister of St. Benedict. Under her brother’s direction, she founded a community of nuns not too far from Benedict’s monastery at Monte Cassino. Like her brother, she dedicated herself to God in the monastic life. She died in 547.

We do not know too much about her, but we DO have an incident which was famously told by St. Gregory the Great about her. He writes: Scholastica had been consecrated to God from her youth, and she was accustomed to visiting her brother once a year, at a little place between his monastery and her convent.

One time Benedict went as usual with some of his companions to meet her; they spent the whole day praising God and talking of sacred things. Their spiritual conversation went on, and the hour grew late.


When darkness was setting in, having taken their meal together, his sister said to him: ‘Please do not leave tonight brother, let us keep talking about the joys of heaven until morning. ‘What are you saying, sister?’ he replied. ‘You know that I cannot stay away from the monastery.’ “At her brother’s refusal Scholastica folded her hands on the table and rested her head upon them in earnest prayer. As she raised her head from the table, there suddenly appeared in the otherwise clear sky, menacing, dark clouds, and then a burst of lightning and thunder. As her prayer ended, there came such a downpour of rain that Benedict and his friends were unable to set foot outside the door.

Realizing that he could not return to the abbey in the storm, Benedict complained bitterly. ‘God forgive you, sister!’ he said. ‘What have you done?’ Scholastica answered, ‘When I appealed to you, you would not listen. So I turned to God and He heard my prayer. Now leave if you can. Leave me here and go back to your monastery!’

This, of course, he could not do, and so he stayed against his own will. They therefore passed the whole night, engrossed in conversation about the spiritual life. Benedict did not know that his sister would leave this earth only three days hence.

St Gregory says that her prayer was more effective than his because God is love, and she loved more.

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