St Scholastica  

Posted by Joe Rawls

Today is the feast day of Scholastica, the twin sister of Benedict of Nursia.  She was a monastic in her own right, and was abbess of a women's community at Plombariola, about 5 miles from Monte Cassino.  All that we know of her is contained in the Dialogues of Pope Gregory the Great.  This is, of course, a hagiography and not an "objective" work of history.  Be that as it may, the following excerpt illustrates how love can trump monastic rules and even the laws of nature.  It is found in chapters 33 and 34 of the Dialogues.


His sister, named Scholastica, was dedicated from her infancy to our Lord.  Once a year she came to visit her brother.  The man of God went to her not far from the gate of his monastery, at a place that belonged to the Abbey.  It was there he would entertain her.  Once upon a time she came to visit according to her custom, and her venerable brother with his monks went there to meet her.

They spent the whole day in the praise of God and spiritual talk, and when it was almost night, they dined together.  As they were yet sitting at the table, talking of devout matters, it began to get dark.  The holy nun, his sister, entreated him to stay there all night that they might spend it in discoursing of the joys of heaven.  By no persuasion, however, would he agree to that, saying that he might not by any means stay all night outside of his Abbey.

At that time, the sky was so clear that no cloud was to be seen.  The nun, hearing this denial of her brother, joined her hands together, laid them on the table, bowed her head on her hands, and prayed to almighty God.

Lifting her head from the table, there fell suddenly such a tempest of lightening and thundering, and such abundance of rain, that neither venerable Benedict, nor his monks that were with him, could put their heads out of doors...

The man of God, seeing that he could not...return to his abbey, began to complain to his sister, saying:  "God forgive you, what have you done?"  She answered him, "I desired you to stay, and you would not hear me; I have desired it of our good Lord, and he has granted my petition.  Therefore if you can now depart, in God's name return to your monastery, and leave me here alone."

But the good father, not being able to leave, tarried there against his will where before he would not have stayed willingly.  By that means, they watched all night and with spiritual and heavenly talk mutually comforted one another...

...The next day the venerable woman returned to her monastery and the man of God to his abbey.  Three days later, standing in his cell, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he beheld the soul of his sister (which was departed from her body) ascend into heaven in the likeness of a dove. 

This entry was posted on Monday, February 10, 2014 at Monday, February 10, 2014 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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