Originally posted on Benedictines of the Northland, the blog of the Oblates of St. Scholastica Monastery
Today is the Feast of St. Scholastica; around the world, people read the story of Benedict and Scholastica’s last meeting – and the superiority of her love over his obedience. Rather than the well-known Subiaco fresco showing the meal, I chose the fresco of her burial procession, found a bit further into the church at Sacro Speco.
I had the opportunity to talk with some students about Benedict and Scholastica today – sisters often give 5-10 minute presentations in a variety of classes. Relating St. Benedict‘s life made me realize how much the vow of stability contrasted with his own life.
- Going to Rome for an education
- Leaving Rome because of students’ licentious lives, going instead to Enfide
- Leaving Enfide (and his family nurse) for the cave at Subiaco
- Leaving the cave to be abbot of Vicovarro, where the monks tried to poison him
- Leaving Subiaco for Monte Cassino because of the jealousy his presence occasioned
It was Scholastica who probably experienced the life of stability, living at home until founding a community of women near her brother’s monastery. There is a spirituality of stability: choosing to live with and through difficult situations rather than depart and try again somewhere else. Women’s traditional roles limited her travel and business in the world; monastic stability required her to find satisfaction through her life of prayer. To modern eyes, this might seem quite constrained – yet she seems to have flourished.
This image details the detour of the monks carrying her to burial – the went past St. Benedict’s own monastery, so that her brother could make his final farewell. Even this last bit of vagabond travel was due to her signature trait – the love that bound her close to her brother.
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- For All the Saints: Scholastica (yimcatholic.blogspot.com)