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Mother of Monasticism: St. Scholastica

Twin sister to St. Benedict, St. Scholastica is regarded as the Mother of Monasticism. St. Gregory the Great wrote in a biography of St. Benedict, that she was “dedicated from her infancy to Our Lord.” 

Scholastica, following the example of her brother, left to live with a community of pious and faithful virgins in total dedication to Jesus. Most likely, St. Benedict directed his sister and the other women under the same rule that his own monks following.

Little is known about St. Scholastica because she did not have a formal biography written about her, unlike her brother. It is said, however, that once a year, Benedict would visit his sister to converse and pray together.

The holy nun said to her brother: “Please do not leave me tonight; let us go on until morning talking about the delights of the spiritual life.” “Sister,” he replied, “what are you saying? I simply cannot stay outside my cell.”

When she heard her brother refuse her request, the holy woman joined her hands on the table, laid her head on them and began to pray. As she raised her head from the table, there were such brilliant flashes of lightning, such great peals of thunder and such a heavy downpour of rain that neither Benedict nor his brethren could stir across the threshold of the place where they had been seated. ~Dialogues, Saint Gregory the Great


3 days later, Benedict saw a vision of the soul of his sister in the likeness of a dove ascending to heaven. His monks brought her body to his monastery where she was buried. Benedict followed her after and was buried in the same grave.


Why celebrate this beautiful, faithful and quite life? Well- because the reality of monasticism and the call to holiness is for each and everyone of us, no matter the time of life.


Recently, author Sarah White, you might recognize her as “@Millenialfiat”, expressed her beautiful musings on the similarities between motherhood and life in the monastery through the “bells”. Referencing the article, "This Monastic Approach Can Transform Your Motherhood" and Domestic Monastery, White posed a deep and transforming reflection on motherhood. Monastic, meaning, “a place set aside”.  Each bell, either in the monastery or in the home with a crying child, shoe to be tied, or peanut butter sandwich to be served, is a reminder that time is not ours, time is in fact God’s.*

These bells, experienced by both St. Scholastica and all of the mamas out there, are a beautiful reminder why this virgin saint’s virtues apply to use today.


So, St. Scholastica, mother of monastic life, pray for us in our motherhood.


*IG post by @Millenialfiat posted 1/10/2024