We are told in the Gospel today that “Mary has taken the better part and it will not be taken from her.” Much the same could be said about St. Scholastica, whose memorial we celebrate today. St. Scholastica is known as the sister of St. Benedict. Some traditions speak of them as twins. St. Gregory tells us that Benedict ruled over both monks and nuns, and it seems as if St. Scholastica was the prioress of the nuns.
Not much is known of St. Scholastica except what we have from St. Gregory, and his account tells us of a spiritual kinship between she and Benedict that was extremely close. They would often meet together, but could never do so in their respective cloisters, so each would travel with some of their confreres and meet at a house nearby. On one occasion, the last of these meetings together, they were speaking as they often did of the glories of God and the promise of Heaven. Perhaps knowing that she would not have this opportunity again, Scholastica begged her brother not to leave but to spend the night in this spiritual conversation. Benedict did not like the idea of being outside his monastery for the night, and initially refused. With that, Scholastica laid her head on her hands and asked God to intercede. Her prayer had scarcely ended when a very violent storm arose, preventing Benedict’s return to the monastery. He said: “God forgive you, sister; what have you done?” She replied, “I asked a favor of you and you refused it. I asked it of God, and He has granted it.”
Three days later, Scholastica died. St. Benedict was alone at the time, and had a vision of his sister’s soul ascending to heaven as a dove. He announced her death to his brethren and then gave praise for her great happiness. Like Mary in today’s Gospel and like St. Scholastica, we are called to spend our days and nights in contemplation of our Lord and discussing his greatness with our brothers and sisters. If we would do this, we too might find as the writer of the Song of Songs that deep waters cannot quench the great love we have for Christ and for our brothers and sisters in Christ.