Friday, February 10, 2012
Today is the feast of St. Scholastica, the twin sister of St. Benedict, founder of the Benedictine order.
Like most twins, Scholastica was very close to her brother. When Benedict established his monastery at Monte Cassino, Scholastica founded a convent in nearby Plombariola, about five miles away. The two met annually at a house near the Monte Cassino monastery to discuss spiritual matters.
Saint Gregory tells the charming story of their last meeting. The saints had spent their time together in the mutual comfort of "heavenly talk" and with nightfall approaching, Benedict prepared to leave. Scholastica believed that it would be their last opportunity to see each other alive, so she asked Benedict to spend the evening in conversation. Benedict sternly refused because he did not wish to break his own rule by spending a night away from his monastery in Monte Cassino. Scholastica cried, laid her head upon the table, and turned to God in her sorrow, praying that he would intervene and keep her brother with her. As she did so, a sudden storm arose. There were brilliant flashes of lightning, a loud peal of thunder, and the rain and hail came in such a torrential downpour that Benedict and his companions were unable to depart.
"May Almighty God forgive you, sister" said Benedict, "for what you have done.""I asked a favor of you," Scholastica replied, "and you refused it. I asked it of God, and He has granted it! "They shared a beautiful, intimate spiritual conversation throughout the night.
Just after his return to Monte Cassino, Benedict saw a vision of Scholastica's soul departing her body, ascending to heaven in the form of a dove. She died just three days after their last meeting.
Patron: Against rain; convulsive children; nuns; storms.
Symbols: Nun with crozier and crucifix; nun with dove flying from her mouth.
O God, to show us where innocence leads, you made the soul of your virgin Saint Scholastica soar to heaven like a dove in flight. Grant through her merits and her prayers that we may so live in innocence as to attain to joys everlasting. This we ask through our Lord.