A monastic family

St Scholastica was the sister of St Benedict – they were twins, if you believe some historians, including the scholarly St Bede.

At an early age, she consecrated herself to the service of God alone. After St Benedict founded the communities that would relaunch Western monasticism, Scholastica came to live near him. She seems to have been some kind of abbess or Superior to other women.

Perfect storm

Scholastica is best known for one particular story. Once a year, St Benedict and some of his monks would pay her a visit in her little house near the monastery. They would pray together, offer each other spiritual counsel, and talk of the glory of God and the beauty of heaven. On the last of these meetings before her death, Scholastica asked her brother to stay until morning. He explained he couldn’t, because the rule required that he spend every night in the monastery.

Undeterred, Scholastica clasped her hands and offered up a fervent prayer. Immediately, there was a deafening roll of thunder, lightning flashed, and a monsoon-like downpour began to crash against the roof and walls of the house.

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