Saturday, 10 February 2007

St Scholastica

Today we celebrate the memory of St Scholastica, sister of the Patriarch St Benedict and a patron of Benedictine nuns. Many of the saints had a close friendships with other men and women of God – we think of St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila, or St Francis de Sales and St Jane de Chantal – but the relationship of St Benedict with his earthly sister is especially touching. With them, the ties of flesh were united to ties of supernatural grace.

Once a year it was her custom to visit her brother and spend the day in ‘the praises of God and holy conversation.’ Then they would eat together and depart for their respective monasteries. On one occasion, St Scholastica begged her brother to stay with her the night so that they could ‘talk till morning on the joys of heaven’ but St Benedict was eager to follow the Rule and return to his house. At this, his sister prayed to God and immediately a huge storm erupted, which forced St Benedict to stay with his sister. ‘What have you done?,’ her brother exclaimed in amazement, to which she replied: ‘I asked a favour of you and you refused it. I asked it of God, and he has granted it.’ And, according to the account of St Gregory, they stayed up all night ‘delighting each other with their questions and answers about the secrets of the spiritual life.’ It was indeed providential – three days later St Scholastica died at her convent and, at the moment of her death, St Benedict saw the soul of his sister going up to heaven in the form of a dove and praised God.

For the University of Oxford, the day has less happy connotations - a riot was caused by a dispute between town and gown in the Swindlestock Tavern (on the site where Abbey National now stands) in 1355. In the fighting, 62 scholars lost their lives - click here for the full story.

Sancta virgo Scholastica, quasi hortus irriguus
Gratiarum coelestium jugi rore perfundebatur

[The holy virgin Scholastica, like a watered garden
Was enriched with the ceaseless dew of heaven's graces]

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Blogger Eric said...

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8:40 pm  
Blogger DilexitPrior said...

we think of St John of the Cross and St Teresa of Avila, or St Francis de Sales and St Jane de Chantal

We could add St. Francis and St. Clare and St. Walburga and St. Boniface (another pair of holy siblings), and many more to that list. . .

Holy complimentarity!

3:55 pm  

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