St. Scholastica is considered to be the founder of Western Benedictine life for women and their patron saint. Although not much is written about her, she is recognized as the sister of Benedict of Norcia, 6th century founder Western Monasticism and writer of the Rule of Benedict that continues to guide Benedictine life today.
Most of what is written about St. Scholastica is found in the Dialogues of Gregory the Great, where he places Scholastica within the context of the life of Benedict.
One of the most well-known legends about St. Scholastica is in chapters 33-34 of Book 2 of the Dialogues, where Scholastica and Benedict are depicted in an intimate spiritual conversation as seems to be their custom. As the conversation is closing, Scholastica begs Benedict to consider continuing this exchange a little longer. Benedict assures Scholastica that there is little possibility of the conversation continuing since he and his companions are required to return home to their monastery that evening and it is getting late. In response to his refusal, Scholastica quietly prays to God to settle the matter. As soon as her prayer is complete the otherwise clear sky delivers torrential rain making it impossible for Benedict to return home safely. Much to his dismay, Scholastica settled the issue through her heartfelt plea to God.
Scholastica can be an example of the power of prayer and love in both her love for her brother and the deep desire to share her spiritual journey with him. It is also her deep relationship with God that brought the resolution to the conflict. Gregory tells us, “according to the saying of St. John, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). Therefore, as is right, she who loved more, did more.” Scholastica, as a woman of prayer, was able to accomplish her desire through God’s intervention.
Scholastica was born in Italy in 480 and her feast day is celebrated on February 10.