February is the month the Catholic Church dedicates to the Holy Family and the Passion of our Lord, and both of these devotions have love at their core. During this month, famous for valentines and hearts full of love, there’s a saint we can admire for the way she persevered in her profound love of God, and caritas for her fellow man — St. Scholastica.
Scholastica, whose name means “the learned one,” was born of noble blood in Umbria, Italy. She was the twin sister of St. Benedict, whose famous Rule became synonymous with Western monasticism.
The siblings were very close, and had wonderful talks together. On St. Benedict’s last meeting with Scholastica before her death, she begged him to stay longer. She loved him so much she did not want to let him go just yet. Even more, she loved the holy conversations she had with him about God and heavenly things.
On this particular night, she implored him to remain with her talking, and he said he must return to his monastery. So St. Scholastica began to pray, asking God to let her beloved brother stay. A storm began that forced Benedict to remain with her through the night. And so, St. Scholastica is the patron saint of storms! She is also a paragon of trust and confidence in prayer and devoted love.
Shortly after their last talk, Scholastica died and St. Benedict had a vision of her soul ascending to heaven in the shape of a dove. He buried her in the tomb that he had planned for himself. The love and holy admiration between these saintly siblings ran deep.
By listening to St. Scholastica, we are encouraged to be unperturbed when someone denies us a favor and to ask God instead; to chat about God with others; and to celebrate the joy and peace of the spiritual life. St. Scholastica is endearingly vulnerable and through it all, modeled piety, persistence, and love. Let us journey more deeply with this loving saint all month long as our guide and celebrate her feast on February 10.
Tips for Life from Saint Scholastica
“If men knew the peace good Religious enjoy, the whole world would become a monastery.”
The first tip for life based on this quote by St. Scholastica is this: make your home a bit more like a monastery. Even your busy, imperfect home can become more like a monastery, in the best of ways. Not with new tonsure haircuts for the kids, but by infusing a routine of peaceful contemplation. Starting this enjoyable practice now, in February, can mean that you’ll set a peaceful tone for the entire year.
How to do it?
Increase the peace by doing something “scholastic” and prayerful in her honor. Open up the catechism or Bible; read Butler’s Lives of the Saints; find a time and place when you can most easily gather as a family to pray. Soon, you’ll reap the benefits as there are many graces that come from praying together as a group. For example, pray the family rosary each night before retiring to bed, and just after you finish your prayers, get extra “scholastic” by reading a passage from Scripture or the Divine Office.
Also, St. Scholastica’s famous twin brother is St. Benedict. Lean in to the gifts of the St. Benedict medal! Just by wearing a St. Benedict medal or displaying a large one in your home, you’ll experience spiritual graces.
“Let us go on, talking until morning about the delights of the Spirit.”
Based on her quote, we can be inspired to have a holy conversation! It need not go past midnight but set aside some time to talk about heavenly things instead of earthly ones. Need help thinking of ideas? Start a Catholic book group with a friend and read a spiritual classic! Or rather than watch TV one night, try chatting about God over a glass of wine or cup of tea instead! Here’s a prayer to start your time off.
“I asked you and you would not listen, so I asked God and He did listen.”
Like Scholastica, we should confide in God! Remember to tell Him your problems. Practice the holy virtue of detachment, not expecting other people or events to set your mood but rather relying only on God and thus finding the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding.” Don’t wait – you can talk with Him anytime! One beautiful way? Attend Eucharistic Adoration and bring your worries there before the Lord and trust in His divine will and loving guidance.
To celebrate the feast of St. Scholastica on February 10 it might be fun to honor the saintly twins, Scholastica and Benedict, by serving your family a meal that comes better in twos, maybe all day long! Why not bacon and eggs for breakfast; peanut butter and jelly for lunch; spaghetti and meatballs for dinner … any food that’s happier to eat with its complementary accompaniment. (February 10 falls on a Friday in 2023, so use some creativity to plan meatless duos if you are observing this form of penance.) This can be the opening for a discussion around the table about how we in the family love each other that way, too.
As a little gift, have a St. Benedict medal waiting at each family member’s place at the table and then start a holy conversation with the family! An example starter topic: What saint would you most like to meet in heaven and why?
Here are a few reflection questions to journal that will help you journey more deeply with St. Scholastica this month:
How can you make your home more peaceful and prayerful?
Who in your life is a person with whom you can have a holy conversation?
When is the last time you talked to God about a problem no one else could help you solve?