Sometimes, it is very difficult to find good information on saints. These saints were often very early in church history and their stories have not survived until present day. In some cases, we have only a couple of events that have survived in legend – in others, we only have a brief line of who they were – and sometimes, the fact they were known for miracles. But that is it… and we have a mystery which will probably not be solved this side of Heaven.
That doesn’t mean their works were less important or that they were not worthy of saintly veneration.
Having seen St. Scholastica on the church calendar, I looked her up, starting with a children’s book found at the library this week.
The stories of St. Scholastica are inseparably intertwined with the stories of her twin brother, St. Benedict. They were equally inseparable in life. They were well-born, but both chose to enter lives of faith. They remained close in adulthood, each forming religious communities situated near each other and visiting each other annually where they would discuss spiritual things.
At last, when Scholastica knew her death was near, she begged her brother to remain into the next day – which defied the rules Benedict had set for himself and his religious community. They were to return to the monastery each night to sleep. His sister was distressed and urged him to stay – a plea which he refused.
Desperate, Scholastica prayed and asked God to let him stay with her for the night. Despite the fine weather, immediately, a severe thunderstorm broke out. The rain joined with her own tears, preventing his safe passage back to the monastery. Benedict replied asking God to forgive her and asking his sister what she had done… but he remained until morning and their conversation continued.
Only three days later, Scholastica died, releasing her soul which ascended in the form of a white dove. Benedict saw this and knew that his sister had died. He placed her in the tomb he had prepared for himself. Before the year was out, he joined her in death and burial.
There is much discussion about why Scholastica’s prayer was granted. Benedict was totally right in his desire to return to his monastery where he was bound to follow the rules – even the ones he, himself, had established for his order. Yet, Scholastica “loved more” because “God is love/charity.” Her love for her brother is likened to Mary Magdalene’s love for Jesus which is enough to have her request granted – simply because “she loved more.”
As such, Scholastica’s love for her brother is used as a perfect example of the perfect love that reconciles woman and man to God.
These twins both died in 543. Scholastica’s feast day is today, Benedict’s is the 11th of July.
Scholastica is considered the patron saint of nuns, convulsive children and is invoked against storms and rain.
Here is a prayer for St. Scholastica.
Prayer: O God, to show us where innocence leads, you made the soul of your virgin Saint Scholastica soar to heaven like a dove in flight. Grant through her merits and her prayers that we may so live in innocence as to attain to joys everlasting. This we ask through our Lord.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to find much more information on St. Scholastica. Most of what she did was recorded only in relationship to her brother who also performed wondrous works.
Other Saints for Feb 10
In order to avoid today’s post being very short, I will go into the other saints who are venerated on this day. None of them have huge amounts of information, unfortunately. But there are a few interesting stories to be shared of people who contributed to the Faith in their own way, sometimes paying for their devotion with their lives.
St. Austreberta (or Austrebertha, Eustreberta, Eustreverte) was born in 630 in France. Threatened with an arranged marriage, she became a consecrated virgin and later became the abbess and helped reform the convent of Pavilly. She was famous for her visions and miracles.
In early life, she looked at her reflection in a river and saw a veil over her head… one of her early visions about her future life.
Apparently, she was looking for the donkey who carried the laundry of the monks to the convent. She found a wolf who admitted to killing the donkey. He begged for forgiveness which St. Austrebertha gave along with the penance of having to carry the laundry himself the rest of his life.
St. Austrebertha died in 704. Her relics were stored in Montreuil-sur-Mer in France to keep them safe during the Norman invasion, but were later burned in the French Revolution.
St. William of Maleval lived a life ‘of the world’ until his conversion. As a penance for his sins, he met went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land with Pope Eugenius III, spending 8 years with His Holiness. William became a hermit and was known for his gifts of prophesy and miraculous works. He died in 1157. Unfortunately, his story gets mixed up with several other Williams and the original historical record of his works has been lost.
St. Paul and Ninety Companions were Dominican missionaries. Paul was originally from Hungary and served in Wallachia (in Romania) with these Ninety Companions hoping to convert the Cumans who were a nomadic Turkic tribe. They refused to listen and slaughtered the missionaries in 1240.
St Trumwin was an early bishop in Scotland. His mission was in the Firth of Forth, but was forced to flee with his monks after his political patron King Egfrith of Northumbria was slain by the Picts. He remained a monk at Whitby, England, until his death in 704.
Other saints for today include:
St. Andrew who was martyred by King Herod Antipas in the first century – along with
St. Aponius whose feast day is also the 10th of February.
St. Baldegundis was the abbess of Saint-Croix in Poitiers, France. She died in 580.
St. Erluph was a Scottish missionary to Germany. He became the 3rd Bishop of Werden, Germany and like his predecessor, was martyred in 830 as a protest of his success.
St. Paganus was an Italian Benedictine who served in a monastery on Sicily before becoming a hermit. He died in 1423.
Bl. Louise Poirier Barre was beatified by Pope John Paul II – unfortunately, I found no further information about her.
Bl. Louise Bessay de la Voute was beatified by Pope John Paul II. She was a laywoman and martyred during the French Revolution in 1794.
Bl. Alojzije Stepinac was a Croatian Catholic cardinal and Archbishop of Zagreb. Accused of converting people by force in Yugoslavia, he was imprisoned. Appointed cardinal by Pope Pius XII, Bl. Stepinac was martyred, believed to be poisoned, in a Communist prison in 1960 and beatified in 1998 by Pope John Paul II.
Bl. Alexander of Lugo was a Dominican in Spain and martyred by Muslims in 1645.
Bl. Pierre Fremond was a layman and martyred in 1794 during the French Revolution and beatified by John Paul II.
Re St. Scholastica
Re St. Austrebertha
St. William of Maleval
Most other info was taken from the Catholic Online catalog of saints.