Our Sister Gabriele from the Benedictine nuns on the Mount of Olives has written article for us about Saint Scholastica, the sister of the founder of the Benedictine Order, Saint Benedict. Her feast is celebrated on February 10.
“She was stronger because she loved more”
We know almost nothing about the life of Saint Scholastica however this fact is very important. According to tradition, she lived a life fully dedicated to God, just as her brother, Saint Benedict, did. Once a year, she had the habit of coming to meet him together with some of his brothers alongside their monastery. They would spend the day together “praising God and speaking of holy matters”.
One day, Scholastica asked to prolong a little the time they spent together and to stay together through the night – perhaps she sensed that this was the last time that she would see her brother in the land of the living. However the great legislator of monastic life responded to her: “What are you saying, my dear sister? Stay outside the monastery – I could not do such a thing!”
There and then, Scholastica began to pray and the sky that up until that moment had been clear filled with thunder and lightning and heavy rain began to fall. It was so stormy that Benedict and the brothers that had accompanied him could not cross the threshold of the place where they were.
Benedict, with great sadness, began to lament, saying: “May God forgive you, my sister! What have you done now?” Scholastica replied: “I desired you to stay, and you would not hear me; I have desired it of our good Lord, and he has granted my petition. Therefore if you can now depart, in God's name return to your monastery, and leave me here alone”. However, he was not able to leave the shelter of the roof under which they had met. He did not want to stay willingly and so he stayed despite himself.
Saint Gregory ends the description of this episode from the life of Benedict and Scholastica saying: “Is it not a thing to be marveled at, that a woman, who for a long time had not seen her brother, might do more in that instance than he could? She realized, according to the saying of St. John, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). Therefore, as is right, she who loved more did more”.