By T.K. Wilson (Rated G)
Not much is known about the early life of Scholastica, twin sister of St. Benedict. St. Gregory the Great, in his biography of St. Benedict, states that she was dedicated to Jesus at a young age. When her brother left to continue his education, Scholastica stayed at home, as was common for noble young ladies at the time. When she heard that her brother had dedicated himself wholly to the Lord, Scholastica decided to do the same, and went to live with a group of holy women.
When Benedict began his monastery, Scholastica started a community of nuns about five miles from Benedict’s monastery. It is supposed that Benedict directed the nuns as well as his monks according to his Rule of Life, thus beginning the Benedictine order. Every year, the twins would meet to discuss important matters in a farmhouse between the monastery and the convent.
A story that Gregory recounts is the final time that twins met. They were about 63 years old at the time, and Scholastica sensed that her death was near. She begged her brother to stay with her that night so she could be strengthened to face her end, but Benedict was worried about breaking his own Rule. Scholastica then prayed that her brother be allowed to remain, to break the rule just this once. A terrific thunderstorm broke out, preventing Benedict from leaving. He, annoyed, asked what she’d done, and Scholastica rather amusingly told him that she had asked a favor from the Lord, and he had listened (unlike her own twin brother!), but he was free to go if he could. Benedict was then forced to stay and comfort his sister.
Three days later, Benedict was granted a vision of Scholastica’s soul rising in the form of a dove to heaven. He praised God that his sister was now with her Spouse, and sent his monks right away to collect her body, which he placed in the tomb he had prepared for himself. When he died, he was placed beside his sister, together in death as they had been in birth.
May we, like St. Scholastica, support our family when they take up Godly causes!
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