What we know of St. Scholastica comes to us in the second book of the Dialogues of Pope Gregory the Great. Gregory tells us that Scholastica and her twin brother Benedict would meet yearly to talk about holy things as saintly brothers and sisters would do. One momentous occasion, as evening fell Benedict got up to leave, in keeping with the rule that a monk does not stay away from the monastery overnight. Scholastica asked her brother to stay so that they may continue to talk and enjoy one another’s company. Benedict refused her request. So, Scholastica bowed her head, folded her hands, and began to pray. At that moment the clear sky turned dark, the wind began to blow and soon came the rain, thunder, and lightning.
Noticing the change in the weather and the connection to Scholastica’s prayers, Benedict exclaimed “Dear Sister, what did you do?” She simply said, “I asked you a favor and you refused, so I asked my God and He heard my prayer.” Due to the storm, Benedict was unable to leave. The two spent the night in holy conversation. Only three days later, God called the blessed Scholastica home to heaven. Though this story about Scholastica is short, I believe there are lessons to be learned.
First, we learn that prayer is powerful. Scholastica, in her need, did not hesitate to turn to God. No doubt, Scholastica constantly put herself and her intentions into God’s hands. She trusted in the power of prayer and so should we.
The second lesson we can learn is that relationships matter. Scholastica and Benedict knew that their familial relationship was important. They saw the value in taking the time and making the effort to be together with those whom they love, and so should we.
Lesson three from this account of the last meeting of Scholastica and Benedict is that life is precious. This story brings to heart the idea that we never know when God will call us home. Did Scholastica have a premonition that she was dying soon? Is that why she wanted Benedict to stay that night? We do not know. What we do know is that she took full advantage of the life that God had given her, and so should we.
St. Scholastica…pray for us.