Thursday, 9 February 2012

St Scholastica, bossy nun! 

St Scholastica (c. 480 – 10 February 547) was the twin sister of St. Benedict.  St. Gregory the Great, in his Dialogues, tells us that she was a nun and leader of a community of women at Plombariola, about five miles from Benedict's abbey at Monte Cassino. We do not know what rule this community followed, although it seems most likely it was the Rule of St. Benedict.  Scholastica was dedicated to God from an early age (some versions of her life suggest she preceded Benedict in godliness, and he came to holiness after she did). The most often told story about her is that she would, once a year, go and visit her brother at a place near his abbey, and they would spend the day worshipping together and discussing sacred texts and issues.

One year at the end of the day, they had supper and continued their conversation. When Benedict tried to leave, she protested, and begged him to stay with her for the evening so they could continue their discussions. He refused, insisting that he needed to return to his monastery. At that point, Scholastica closed her hands in prayer, and after a moment, a wild storm started outside the guest house they were  in. Benedict asked, "What have you done?". She replied, "I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery." Benedict was unable to return that night, and they spent the night in discussion. According to Gregory's Dialogues, 3 days later, from his cell, Benedict saw his sister's soul leaving the earth and ascending to heaven in the form of a shining white dove.  Her Feast Day is 10 February. She is the patron saint of nuns, convulsive children, and is invoked against storms and rain.

Lord God, may we, like Saint Scholastica,
serve you with an unsullied love.
Then our joy will be full
as we receive from your loving hand
all that we desire and ask.
through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.  Amen.

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