Today is the feast day of St Scholastica, known to us from Book 2 of the Dialogues of St Gregory. Book 2 is the Life and Miracles of St Benedict, and St Gregory tells us that Scholastica was Benedict’s twin, dedicated to God at an early age. She founded and governed a convent of nuns near Monte Casino, where her brother lived with his monks. Once a year, the two would meet at the bottom of the mountain.
The story most commonly told about her is about how, on one of their yearly meetings, she begged her brother to stay the night and keep talking. He refused, saying that he could not stay the night out of his Abbey. So she bent her head and prayed, and a violent storm blew up, preventing Benedict and his monks from returning home that night. Benedict was inclined to be cross, but Scholastica said:
“I desired you to stay, and you would not hear me; I have desired it of our good Lord, and he has granted my petition. Therefore if you can now depart, in God’s name return to your monastery, and leave me here alone.”
But the good father, not being able to leave, tarried there against his will where before he would not have stayed willingly. By that means, they watched all night and with spiritual and heavenly talk mutually comforted one another.
Therefore, by this we see, as I said before, that he would have had one thing, but he could not effect it. For if we know the venerable man’s mind, there is no question but that he would have had the same fair weather to have continued as it was when he left his monastery. He found, however, that a miracle prevented his desire. A miracle that, by the power of almighty God, a woman’s prayers had wrought. Is it not a thing to be marveled at, that a woman, who for a long time had not seen her brother, might do more in that instance than he could? She realised, according to the saying of St. John, “God is charity” [1 John 4:8]. Therefore, as is right, she who loved more, did more. [The Dialogues of St Gregory]
She is the patron saint of nuns and convulsive children, and is invoked against thunderstorms.