Today the church remembers an often overshadowed 5th Century saint who dared to dare: Saint Scholastica, Monastic and Patron Saint of Overlooked Twin Sisters.
Saint Scholastica is the twin sister of Saint Benedict, born to noble Romans around the year 480 CE. Her mother died in childbirth, and Saint Scholastica was known, literally from her birth, to be both a blessing from the Divine and wholeheartedly dedicated to the Divine.
Her brother noted this often. He was in awe of his sister. So often we find this when one sibling overshadows the other: the one with the long shadow greatly admires the other one.
When Saint Benedict left to enter the ministry, Saint Scholastica stayed with the family home and business, tending to the practical needs of the moment. Yet, her heart called her to a monastic life, and she eventually heeded that call.
Saint Scholastica founded a community of sisters about five miles from her brother’s hermitage. Following the Benedictine rule of life, they gathered around prayer, contemplation, and service. She visited her brother once a year, meeting in a half-way house between the two communities, discussing spiritual matters and praying together.
On February 10th in 543 Saint Scholastica breathed her last. That night, long before he had heard of his sister’s passing, Saint Benedict had a vision where his sister’s soul, in the form of a dove, visited him and flew into the heavens.
Perhaps there is something to that idea that twins are connected in special ways, no?
The details of most of Saint Scholastica’s life are lost to memory, blotted out by the eclipse of her brother. Yet we know a few important things: Saint Benedict revered her, respected her, listened to her, and sought her spiritual guidance.
That’s a pretty good endorsement if you ask me.
Saint Scholastica is a reminder for me, and should be for the whole church, that often the brightest sun is hiding a wise planet in another orbit. The pastors with the most prestigious pulpits aren’t always the stars they appear to be. Indeed: the best sermons on any given Sunday are preached to fewer than fifty people, in my opinion.
Let those with ears to hear, hear.
-historical bits gleaned from public access information
-icon written by Theophilia at DeviantArt
Seems to me that Saint Scholastica is more aptly the Patron Saint of Overlooked Women; I’m quite sure her femaleness played a significant role in history paying greater attention to her brother.
Be kind to you!
Karen Wood she/her
The land I occupy today is the traditional and ancestral home of the Tohono O’odum Nation and the Sobaipuri People. I am grateful for the caretakers of this land- both past and present.
You are absolutely correct!