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 Saints of the Season Winter 2018
Saint Scholastica (480–543) February 10
Saintly Siblings Sometimes Squabble
We all know that brothers and sisters often disagree, even as grown-ups. But did you know that even siblings who are saints can have their di erences?
Saint Scholastica, whose feast day is February 10, and her twin brother, Saint Benedict, had a spirited discussion one night that was resolved by a heavenly intervention.
Saint Benedict is considered the founder of European monasticism. He gathered a group of followers and built a monastery on the summit of Monte Cassino, which is located a little north of Naples, Italy. He wrote a set of rules governing how the monks would live, work, and pray. He is known as the founder of the Benedictine Order. You can recognize Benedictines by the letters OSB (for Order of Saint Benedict) that follow their names.
His sister, Saint Scholastica, lived close to Monte Cassino with a group of women who devoted their lives to prayer. She is considered the patron saint of Benedictine nuns, who adapted the Rule of Saint Benedict to the needs of their order.
It was the custom of this brother and sister to meet one day during the year to discuss spiritual matters. Benedict would come down from his mountain, Scholastica would leave her dwelling, and the two would meet at a house convenient to both.
On the day of what would be their last meeting, they talked through dinner until it was time for Benedict
to leave so he would, according to his Rule, be able to spend the night in his cell at the monastery. But Scholastica had a premonition that she would soon die and asked her brother if he would stay so they could spend the night discussing the joys of the spiritual life and of Heaven. Benedict replied, “What are you talking about, my sister? Under no circumstances can I stay outside my cell.”
When Scholastica heard his reply, she folded her hands, bowed her head, and prayed. The sky that had been clear and calm immediately clouded over and erupted in a violent thunderstorm. The weather was so bad that Benedict couldn’t leave. He said to Scholastica, “May God have mercy on you, Sister. Why have you done this?”
Scholastica answered, “I asked you, and you would not listen to me. So I asked my Lord, and he has heard me.” So the two spent the night as Scholastica had wanted.
Three days later, Scholastica died. Benedict had her body brought to the monastery and buried in the tomb he had prepared for himself. Perhaps this experience helped him discover that even the best manmade rules sometimes need to bend to the law of love.
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