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Our venerable Mother Scholastica was the founder of the convent of Plombariola, near the Monastery of Monte Cassino in Italy, and the twin sister of St. Benedict of Nursia. St. Scholastica is commemorated on February 10.


Almost all our knowledge of the life of Scholastica comes from the “Dialogues” of St Gregory the Dialogist. Scholastica was born about 480 in Nursia, Italy. While she was consecrated by her parents to God at an early age she is believed to have continued to live with her parents. She was very devout and devoted to Jesus. She was also very close to her brother, St. Benedict. So, after her brother left home for Monte Cassino, where he established his renowned monastery, Scholastica followed and established a monastery for women several miles south of the his monastery.

Her monastery was apparently under the direction of her brother and therefore thought to have followed his Benedictine Rule. As the brother and sister were very close and the rules of the monasteries forbad that either should enter the other’s monastery, a rule was established that they would meet once a year at a house convenient to both monasteries. At these meetings the two would confer on spiritual matters as their minds were spiritually alike.

St Gregory tells a poignant tale of the last meeting between the siblings. During their yearly meeting the time came when Benedict found it necessary to leave for Monte Cassino. Scholastica begged that he stay for the evening so that they could continue their discussions. As Benedict stood firm that he could not break his rule by staying over night away from his monastery and needed to return to his cell, Scholastica turned to a brief prayer to God that he intercede for her. Shortly, a severe storm arose outside their meeting house. The torrential downpour made it impossible for Benedict and his companions to leave. A disturbed Benedict exclaimed, “May Almighty God forgive you sister for what you have done,” To which Scholastica replied, “I asked a favor of you and you refused it. I asked it of God, and He has granted it!”

Gregory’s "Dialogues" continue that three days later Benedict saw from his cell his sister’s soul leaving her body and ascend to heaven in the form of a dove. Her repose is thought to be about the year 543. St. Benedict had her body placed in the tomb he had prepared for himself and made arrangement for his own body to also be placed there after his repose.

St. Scholastica is usually depicted in art as a nun in habit, holding a crosier with a dove near her, and often with her brother, St. Benedict.


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