Feast of St. Scholastica

Little is known about St. Scholastica, the sister of St. Benedict of Nursia. She founded a house of sisters near Benedict’s monastery, Monte Cassino, and as far as we know, followed a similar monastic rule. The one anecdote that we have of her her life, from the writings of Gregory the Great, tells us that during a visit from her brother, St. Benedict, she pleaded for him to stay longer. He refused, and then Scholastica prayed for rain to block his departure.  An extreme rainstorm followed, and Benedict was forced to remain until the following day. Just two days later Scholastica died, and at that time Benedict saw a white dove ascending to heaven, a sign of her spirit rising to God. In the sculpted image here of St. Scholastica in the cloister of the Community of Jesus, Scholastica is pictured with a dove. Interestingly, this story is retold in the Gregorian antiphons for office of Lauds on the feast of St. Scholastica. What follows it the English translations of the text:

St. Scholastica Carving - Church of the Transfiguration - Community of Jesus

Stone carving of St. Scholastica

Go out now, brother, go out if you can, and having dismissed me, go back to your monastery.

May Almighty God spare you, sister; what is this that you have done?

Behold, I begged you and you would not hear me; I begged my Lord and he listened to me.

Let us talk now until morning about heavenly things, in holy conversation about the spiritual life.

 

 

 

While the holy Benedict, three days later, was standing in his cell, having raised his eyes, he saw the soul of his sister which had left her body, enter the secret places of heaven in form of a dove.

Both the monastery at Montecassino, Italy, and the monastery of Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire, France, claim to house the remains of both saints. Tradition says that at the end of the 7th century, the relics were stolen from Montecassino and brought to France.

The lives of both of these saints continue today to inspire religious life in both of these monastic houses, and indeed inspire monastics and laypeople worldwide.

 

 

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