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A FAITHFUL SISTER

Father Francis's picture
Saint Scholastica

There is often a strong bond between brothers and sisters, particularly when they are twins. The future saints Benedict and Scholastica both chose to dedicate themselves to God in a monastic life. He founded the great monastery at Monte Casino in 530, and she was in charge of a convent about five miles away.

Benedict drew up a Rule for religious life, and he and Scholastica observed it very strictly. This meant that the brother and sister were able to meet only once a year, for a single day, at a house outside the monastery where they would enjoy each other’s company.

But in 543 Benedict arrived for the annual meeting and Scholastica felt sure this would be the last time they would see each other. She begged her brother to stay longer, but he refused because his Rule forbade any monk being absent from the monastery overnight. Scholastica then began to pray silently and almost at once a violent storm broke out, preventing Benedict and his companions from leaving the house.

"God forgive you, sister," exclaimed Benedict. "What have you done?” (He must have been aware of the power of her prayer.) "I asked a favour of you, and you refused, but God granted it," Scholastica replied.

There must be times when charity overrides obedience. Benedict broke his own Rule by staying with Scholastica but it brought his sister great happiness. Three days later Scholastica died. It is said that Benedict, praying alone at Monte Cassino, saw a dove flying up to Heaven and knew that Scholastica's soul had left this Earth. As her twin he would probably have sensed her death.

Saint Scholastlca is remembered for her piety, her sisterly affection and her great faith. She asked a favour of God and was confident that He would answer her. We pray she will teach us to put our trust in God that He will send us comfort if we ask Him for it in faith.