10th February: I Kings 11.4-13; Psalm 105; Mark 7.24-30
Scholastica (who died around the year 543) was the sister of St Benedict. She followed her brother’s Rule in a hermitage near Monte Cassino and she is considered to be the first Benedictine nun. St Gregory refers to her as Benedict’s twin, but there is no other corroboration of this suggestion; perhaps Gregory simply means that she was Benedict’s ‘spiritual’ twin. Evidently Scholastica came regularly to visit Benedict and to converse with him about spiritual matters. The most famous legend about her is that at their last meeting, at a guest house near Monte Cassino, she was reluctant to end the conversation and when Benedict tried to leave she prayed and a violent thunderstorm erupted, making it utterly impossible for him to return to his monastery. Three days later St Benedict saw her soul ascend to heaven as a dove. The dove is now her symbol in iconography.