Gregory I: St. Scholastica
Scholastica, Twin Sister of Benedict
From Gregory the Great (c. 540-604), Dialogues, Book II (Life and Miracles of St. Benedict). Courtesy of the Saint Pachomius Library.
CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE: Of a Miracle Wrought by his Sister, Scholastica.
GREGORY: What man is there, Peter, in this world, that is in greater
favor with God than St. Paul was: who yet three times desired our Lord to
be delivered from the prick of the flesh, and obtained not his petition?
Concerning which point also I must needs tell you, how there
was one thing which the venerable father Benedict would have done, and
yet he could not. For his sister called Scholastica, dedicated from her
infancy to our Lord, used once a year to come and visit her brother. To
whom the man of God went not far from the gate, to a place that
did belong to the Abbey, there to give her entertainment.
And she coming thither on a time according to her custom, her venerable brother with
his monks went to meet her, where they spent the whole day in the
praises of God and spiritual talk: and when it was almost night they
supped together, and as they were yet sitting at the table, talking of
devout matters, and darkness came on, the holy Nun his sister entreated
him to stay there all night, that they might spend it in discoursing of
the joys of heaven. But by no persuasion would he agree unto that,
saying that he might not by any means tarry all night out of his
At that time, the sky was so clear that no cloud was to be
seen. The Nun, receiving this denial of her brother, joining her
hands together, laid them upon the table: and so, bowing down her
head upon them, she made her prayers to almighty God: and lifting
her head from the table, there fell suddenly such a tempest of lightning
and thundering, and such abundance of rain, that neither venerable
Benedict, nor his monks that were with him, could put their head out of
door: for the holy Nun, resting her head upon her hands, poured forth
such a flood of tears upon the table, that she drew the clear air to a
watery sky, so that after the end of her devotions, that storm of rain
followed: and her prayer and the rain did so meet together, that as she
lifted up her head from the table, the thunder, so that in one and
the very same instant, she lifted up her head and brought down the
The man of God, seeing that he could not by reason of such
thunder and lightning and great abundance of rain return back to his
Abbey, he began to be heavy and to complain of his sister, saying: "God
forgive you, what have you done?" to whom she answered: "I desired you
to stay, and you would not hear me, I have de our good Lord, and
he hath vouchsafed to grant my petition: wherefore if you can
now depart, in God's name return to your monastery, and leave me
But the good father, being not able to go forth, tarried there against
his will, where willingly he would not stay. And so by that
means they watched all night, and with spiritual and heavenly talk did
mutually comfort one another: and therefore by this we see, as I said
befpre. that he would have had that thing, which yet he could not: for
if we respect the venerable man's mind, no question but he would have
had the same fair weather to have continued as it was, when he
set forth, but he found that a miracle did prevents desire, which, by
the power of almighty God, a woman's prayers had wrought.
And it is not a thing to be marveled at, that a woman which of long
time had not
seen her brother, might at that time than he could, seeing,
according to the saying of St. John, "God is charity" [1 John 4:8] and
therefore of right she did more which loved more.
PETER: I confess that I am wonderfully pleased with that which you tell
CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR: How Benedict Saw the Soul of his Sister Ascend
into Heavenly Glory.
The next day the venerable woman returned to her Nunnery, and
the man of God to his Abbey: who three days after, standing in his
cell, raising up his eyes to heaven, beheld the soul of his sister
(which was departed from her body), in the likeness of a dove to ascend
into heaven: who rejoicing much to see her great glory, with hymns and
lauds gave the almighty God, and did impart the news of this her
death to his monks, whom also he sent presently to bring her corpse to
his Abbey, and had it buried in that grave which he had provided
for himself; by means wherof it fell out that, as their souls
were always one in God whiles they lived, so their bodies
continued together after their death.
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Paul Halsall Mar 1996