St. Scholastica and St.
Of this Saint little more is known, save that she was the very pious and that, under her brother's direction, the religious community of nuns she founded was most numerous. Saint Gregory sums up her life by saying that she devoted herself to God from her childhood, and that her pure soul rose to God in the likeness of a dove, as if to show that her life had been enriched with the fullest gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Her brother was accustomed to visit her once every year, before Lent, and "she could not be sated or wearied with the words of grace which flowed from his lips." On his last visit, after a day passed in spiritual conversation, the Saint, knowing that her end was near, said, "My brother, leave me not, I pray you, this night, but discourse with me till dawn on the bliss of those who see God in Heaven." Saint Benedict would not break his rule for the sake of natural affection, but his sister bowed her head and prayed, and there arose a storm so violent that Saint Benedict could not return to his monastery, and they passed the night as she had prayed, in heavenly conversation.
Three days later Saint Benedict saw in a vision
the soul of Saint Scholastica going up in the likeness of a dove into
Heaven. Then he gave thanks to God for the graces He had given her and
the glory which had crowned them. When she died, Saint Benedict as well
as her spiritual daughters, and the monks sent by their patriarch to
her conventual church, mingled their tears and prayed. Saint Benedict
said, "Weep not, my sisters and brothers; for assuredly Jesus has taken
her, before us, to be our aid and defense against all our enemies, that
we may remain standing on the evil day and be perfect in all things."
The year was 543, and St. Benedict followed her four years later.
Born in Nursia, Italy, he was educated in Rome, was repelled by the vices of the city and in about 500 fled to Enfide, thirty miles away. He decided to live the life of a hermit and settled at mountainous Subiaco, where he lived in a cave for three years, fed by a monk named Romanus. Despite Benedict's desire for solitude, his holiness and austerities became known and he was asked to be their abbot by a community of monks at Vicovaro. He accepted, but when the monks resisted his strict rule and tried to poison him, he returned to Subiaco and soon attracted great numbers of disciples. He organized them into twelve monasteries under individual priors he appointed, made manual work part of the program, and soon Subiaco became a center of spirituality and learning. He left suddenly, reportedly because of the efforts of a neighboring priest, Florentius, to undermine his work, and in about 525 settled at Monte Cassino. He destroyed a pagan temple to Apollo on its crest, brought the people of the neighboring area back to Christianity, and in about 530 began to build the monastery that was to be the birthplace of Western monasticism. Soon disciples again flocked to him as his reputation for holiness, wisdom, and miracles spread far and wide. He organized the monks into a single monastic community and wrote his famous rule prescribing common sense, a life of moderate asceticism, prayer, study, and work, and community life under one superior. It stressed obedience, stability, zeal, and had the Divine Office as the center of monastic life; it was to affect spiritual and monastic life in the West for centuries to come. While ruling his monks (most of whom, including Benedict, were not ordained), he counseled rulers and Popes, ministered to the poor and destitute about him, and tried to repair the ravages of the Lombard Totila's invasion. He died at Monte Cassino on March 21.
LITANIES OF THE THE TWO SAINTS:
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