St. Scholastica, sister of St. Benedict, consecrated her life to Godfrom her earliest youth. After her brother went to Monte Cassino, where he established his famous monastery, she took up her abode in the neighborhood at Plombariola, where she founded and governed a monastery of nuns, about five miles from that of St. Benedict, who, it appears, also directed his sister and her nuns. She visited her brother once a year, and as she was not allowed to enter his monastery, he went in company with some of his brethren to meet her at a house some distance away. These visits were spent in conferring together on spiritual matters. On one occasion they had passed the time as usual in prayer and pious conversation and in the evening they sat down to take their reflection. St. Scholasticabegged her brother to remain until the next day. St. Benedictrefused to spend the night outside his monastery. She had recourse to prayer and a furious thunderstorm burst so that neither St. Benedict nor any of his companions could return home. They spent the night in spiritual conferences. The next morning they parted to meet no more on earth. Three days later St. Scholasticadied, and her holy brother beheld her soul in a vision as it ascended into heaven. He sent his brethren to bring her body to his monastery and laid it in the tomb he had prepared for himself. She died about the year 543, and St. Benedict followed her soon after. Her feast day is February 10th.
St. Gregory the Great, in his Dialogues, tells us that she was a nunand leader of a community for women at Plombariola, about five miles from Benedict’s abbey at Monte Cassino. We do not know what rule this community followed, although it seems most likely it was the Rule of St. Benedict.
Scholastica was dedicated to God from a young age (some tellings of her story indicate that she preceded Benedict in godliness, and he came to holiness after she did). The most commonly told story about her is that she would, once a year, go and visit her brother at a place near his abbey, and they would spend the day worshiping together and discussing sacred texts and issues. She also is the founder of women’s branch of Benedictine Monasticism.
One day they had supper and continued their conversation. When Benedict indicated it was time for him to leave, she protested, and begged him to stay with her for the evening so they could continue their discussions. He refused, insisting that he needed to return to his cell. At that point, Scholastica closed her hands in prayer, and after a moment, a wild storm started outside of the guest house in which they were housed. Benedict asked, “What have you done?”, to which she replied, “I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery.” Benedict was unable to return to his monastery, and they spent the night in discussion. According to Gregory’s Dialogues, three days later, from his cell, he saw his sister’s soul leaving the earth and ascending to heaven in the form of a shining white dove.
Her memorial is 10 February. Scholastica is the patron saint of nuns, convulsive children, and is invoked against storms and rain.
She was recently selected as the main motif for a high value commemorative coin: the Austria €50 ‘The Christian Religious Orders’, issued 13 March 2002. On the obverse (heads) side of the coin Scholastica is depicted alongside Benedict.