Solemnity of Scholastica

Life and Miracles of Saint Benedict (Book 2 of the Dialogues) Gregory the Great

I must tell you how the venerable Benedict once wished for something but could not obtain it.

His sister Scholastica had from her infancy been dedicated to God. She used to come to see Benedict once a year. He would come down to meet her a short distance outside the gate, on the monastery property. One day she came as usual, and her venerable brother came down to her with some disciples. They devoted the whole day to the praises of God and to holy conversation. As the shades of night were falling, they ate their meal together. They were still eating, and it was getting late as they continued their holy talk, when Scholastica put this request to Benedict: “I entreat you, do not leave me tonight so that we may talk on till morning about the joys of the heavenly life.” “My sister,” Benedict replied, “what are you saying? It is completely impossible for me to remain outside my cell.”

At the time, the sky was so serene, that not a cloud was to be seen. When Scholastica heard her brother refuse her, she placed her hands on the table with fingers intertwined and rested her head on her hands to pray to God. When she raise her head up again, such violent thunder and lightning and such a downpour of rain broke out that neither Benedict or his disciples who were with him could put a foot outside the door of the place where they were sitting. For Scholastica, while laying her head on her hands, had spilt streams of tears on the table, and this was how she changed the serenity of the sky to rain. Nor did the inundation begin a little after her prayer, but the prayer and the downpour were so closely related that she raised her head from the table along with the thunder and it was at one and the same moment that she raised her head and the rain fell.

Then Benedict, amid the lightning, thunder and immense downpour of rain, seeing that he could not return to the monastery, began to complain sadly: “May God pardon you, sister! What have you done?” “See,” Scholastica replied, “I asked you and you wouldn’t listen to me. I asked God and God listened. Go now, if you can. Leave me and go back to the monastery.” But Benedict had to stay under that roof. He was not willing to remain freely in the place so he had to stay unwillingly. And so it happened that they passed the whole night in vigil and each fully satisfied the other with holy talk on the spiritual life.

It was of this incident that I said that Benedict wanted something but could not prevail. For if we consider his thought, evidently he would have liked the good weather he had while going down to have continued but, contrary to his wishes and by the power of God he found a miracle coming from a woman’s heart. Nor is it any surprise that Scholastica who wished to see her brother for a longer time was on this occasion stronger than Benedict, for according to the words of John, “God is love,” and by a altogether fair judgment, she was able to do more because she loved more.

Life and Miracles of Saint Benedict (Book 2 of the Dialogues) Gregory the Great