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St. Scholastica, virgin
10-Feb

From Butler's Lives of the Saints 1895:
ST. SCHOLASTICA, VIRGIN.

From St. Gregory the Great, Dial. l. 2, c. 33 and 34. About the year
543.

THIS saint was sister to the great St. Benedict. She consecrated herself
to God from her earliest youth, as St. Gregory testifies. Where her
first monastery was situated is not mentioned; but after her brother
removed to Mount Cassino, she chose her retreat at Plombariola, in that
neighborhood, where she founded and governed a nunnery about five miles
distant to the south from St. Benedict's monastery.[1] St. Bertharius,
who was abbot of Cassino three hundred years after, says, that she
instructed in virtue several of her own sex. And whereas St. Gregory
informs us, that St. Benedict governed nuns as well as monks, his sister
must have been their abbess under his rule and direction. She visited
her holy brother once a year, and as she was not allowed to enter his
monastery, he went out with some of his monks to meet her at a house at
some small distance. They spent these visits in the praises of God, and
in conferring together on spiritual matters, St. Gregory relates a
remarkable circumstance of the last of these visits. Scholastica having
passed the day as usual in singing psalms, and pious discourse, they sat
down in the evening to take their refection. After it was over,
Scholastica, perhaps foreknowing it would be their last interview in
this world, or at least desirous of some further spiritual improvement,
was very urgent with her brother to delay his return till the next day,
that they might entertain themselves till morning upon the happiness of
the other life. St. Benedict, unwilling to transgress his rule, told her
he could not pass a night out of his monastery: so desired her not to
insist upon such a breach of monastic discipline. Scholastica, finding
him resolved on going home, laying her hands joined upon the table and
her head upon them, with many tears begged of Almighty God to interpose
in her behalf. Her prayer was scarce ended, when there happened such a
storm of rain, thunder, and lightning, that neither St. Benedict nor any
of his companions could set a foot out of doors. He complained to his
sister, saying: "God forgive you, sister; what have you done?" She
answered: "I asked you a favor, and you refused it me: I asked it of
Almighty God, and he has granted it me." St. Benedict was therefore
obliged to comply with her request, and they spent the night in
conferences on pious subjects, chiefly on the felicity of the blessed,
to which both most ardently aspired, and which she was shortly to enjoy.
The nest morning they parted, and three days after St. Scholastica died
in her solitude. St. Benedict was then alone in contemplation on Mount
Cassino, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he saw the soul of his
sister ascending thither in the shape of a dove. Filled with joy at her
happy passage, he gave thanks for it to God, and declared her death to
his brethren; some of whom he sent to bring her corpse to his monastery,
where {392} he caused it to be laid in the tomb which he had prepared
for himself. She must have died about the year 543. Her relics are said
to have been translated into France, together with those of St. Bennet,
in the seventh century, according to the relation given by the monk
Adrevald.[2] They are said to have been deposited at Mans, and kept in
the collegiate church of St. Peter in that city in a rich silver
shrine.[3] In 1562 this shrine was preserved from being plundered by the
Huguenots, as is related by Chatelain. Her principal festival at Mans is
kept a holyday on the 11th of July, the day of the translation of her
relics. She was honored in some places with an office of three lessons,
in the time of St. Louis, as appears from a calendar of Longchamp,
written in his reign.

Lewis of Granada, treating on the perfection of the love of God,
mentions the miraculous storm obtained by St. Scholastica, to show with
what excess of goodness God is always ready to hear the petitions and
desires of his servants. This pious soul must have received strong
pledges and most sensible tokens of his love, seeing she depended on
receiving so readily what she asked of him. No child could address
himself with so great confidence to his most tender parent. The love
which God bears us, and his readiness to succor and comfort us, if we
humbly confess and lay before him our wants, infinitely surpasses all
that can be found in creatures. Nor can we be surprised that he so
easily heard the prayer of this holy virgin, since at the command of
Joshua he stopped the heavens, God obeying the voice of man. He hears
the most secret desires of those that fear and love him, and does their
will: if he sometimes seem deaf to their cries, it is to grant their
main desire by doing what is most expedient for them, as St. Austin
frequently observes. The short prayer by which St. Scholastica gained
this remarkable victory over her brother, who was one of the greatest
saints on earth, was doubtless no more than a single act of her pure
desires, which she continually turned towards, and fixed on her beloved.
It was enough for her to cast her eye interiorly upon him with whom she
was closely and inseparably united in mind and affections, to move him
so suddenly to change the course of the elements in order to satisfy her
pious desire. By placing herself, as a docile scholar, continually at
the feet of the Divine Majesty, who filled all the powers of her soul
with the sweetness of his heavenly communications, she learned that
sublime science of perfection in which she became a mistress to so many
other chaste souls by this divine exercise. Her life in her retirement,
to that happy moment which closed her mortal pilgrimage, was a continued
uniform contemplation, by which all her powers were united to, and
transformed into God.

Footnotes:
1. This nunnery underwent the same fate with the abbey of Mount
Cassino, both being burnt to the ground by the Lombards. When
Rachim, king of that nation, having been converted to the Catholic
faith by the exhortations of pope Zachary, re-established that
abbey, and taking the monastic habit, ended his life there, his
queen Tasai and his daughter Ratruda rebuilt and richly endowed the
nunnery of Plombariola, in which they lived with great regularity to
their deaths, as is related by Leo of Ostia in his Chronicle of
Mount Cassino, ad an. 750. It has been since destroyed, so that at
present the land is only a farm belonging to the monastery of Mount
Cassino. See Dom Mege, Vie de St. Benoit, p. 412. Chatelain, Notes,
p. 605. Murarori, Antichita, &c. t. 3. p. 400. Diss. 66, del
Monasteri delle Monache.
2. See Paul the deacon, Hist. Longob. and Dom Mege, Vie de St. Benoit,
p. 48.
3. That the relics of St. Bennet were privately carried off from Mount
Cassino, in 660, soon after the monastery was destroyed, and brought
to Fleury on the Loire by Algiulph the monk, and those of St.
Scholastica, by certain persons of Mans to that city, is maintained
by Mabillon, Menard, and Bosche. But that the relics of both these
saints still remain at Mount Cassino, is strenuously affirmed by
Loretus Angelus de Nuce, and Marchiarelli, the late learned monk of
the Order of Camaldoli: and this assertion Benedict XIV. looks upon
as certain, (de Canoniz. l. 4, part 2, c. 24, t, 4, p. 245.) For
pope Zachary in his bull assures us, that he devoutly honored the
relics of SS. Benedict and Scholastica, at Mount Cassino, in 746.
Leo Ostiensis and Peter the deacon visited them and found them
untouched in 1071, as Alexander II. affirms in the bull he published
when he consecrated the new church there. By careful visitations
made by authority, in 1486 and 1545, the same is proved. Yet Angelus
de Nuce allows some portions of both saints to be at Mans and
Fleury, on the Loire. Against the supposed translation of the whole
shrines of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica into France, see
Muratori, Antichita, &c., dissert. 58, t. 3, p. 244.

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Oct
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October 25, 2014

Saturday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

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