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Lifelong Catechesis

Forming Catholic identity across generations
November 23, 2017
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Ordinary Time

For a large part of the liturgical year, we devote ourselves to listening to the mystery of Christ in all its aspects unfolded as we seek God's truth and understanding.

Saint of the Week

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scholastica, Religious, 480-543

Scholastica was the twin sister of Saint Benedict and was a member of a wealthy family from the central area of present-day Italy. Like her brother, Scholastica was drawn early on to a religious life. After Benedict founded a monastery at Monte Cassino, south of Rome, she joined a convent in Plombariola, which was a town located a few miles away from Monte Cassino. Scholastica became Abbess of the convent and is considered to be the first Benedictine nun.

Scholastica and her brother visited each other once each year. Because Scholastica was not permitted in the monastery, they met at a nearby farmhouse. In these meetings, the twins discussed spiritual matters. At their last meeting, Scholastica sensed that her death was near at hand. She asked her brother to remain overnight so that they might continue their discussion. Benedict refused because he did not want to remain outside of the monastery overnight as this would break his own rule.

According to the writings of Saint Gregory, Scholastica then prayed to God that her brother remain. Hardly had she finished her prayer when a major storm came up which prevented Benedict and the monks who had accompanied him from venturing outside of the farmhouse. Benedict cried, "God forgive you, Sister. What have you done?" Scholastica answered him, "I asked a favor of you and you refused. I asked it of God and He granted it." The twins parted the next morning after their long discussion.

Three days later, Benedict saw a vision of his sister's soul, in the form of a dove, ascending to heaven. He announced the death of his sister to his fellow monks and sent his monks to bring her body to the monastery. Benedict then interred her in the tomb which he had prepared for himself.

Saint Scholastica is often called upon to intercede with God when children suffer convulsions. A memorial for this saint is celebrated on February 10.

Scholastica's message today: The story of Scholastica’s last meeting with her brother provides an excellent example of how God listens to all of our prayers and, if we pray with enough faith, grants even our smallest requests. Yet often, we do not put our trust in God, but try to get along without God’s help.

  • Faith can move mountains, but only if it is strong. Do you pray with faith that God will answer your prayer? Do you really believe it?