A lesson from St. Scholastica

“She could do more because she loved more”.

That is how St. Gregory describes the explanation for the powerful miracle of St. Benedict’s twin sister St. Scholastica, whose feast we celebrated yesterday in Norcia. Shortly before her, death she wanted to spend the night with her brother in holy conversation, keeping vigil as monks of old would do, discussing God and the life of the soul. St. Benedict, ever the legislator and good governor, wanted to return to his monastery. She prayed. A torrential rain arrived. Like Our Lady’s intercession at Cana, so does St. Scholastica’s gentle insistence change the course of events. And as Christ wanted to show us the power of His Mother to intercede on our behalf, so do we see that although the monk must ever attend to the discipline of his life, love of God is always most important.

St. Benedict loved his sister so much that as soon as she died, he had her buried in his own tomb that he might rest there with her when his time came. This enduring testimony to love and to family is reinforced for us in the extended family of the monastery. Our friends and benefactors throughout the world have sought to help the monks in our rebuilding efforts in the hope that they too might hold a place in the eternal life of the monastery.

Last weekend in London, The English Friends of San Benedetto, Norcia hosted a delightful evening of conversation and festivity for supporters there. Among the guests who honored the hall were His Excellency Edward Adams, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United Kingdom and Monsignor Keith Newton, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, and also Lord and Lady True. Lord True’s home in Le Marche was destroyed in the terrible earthquakes which hit Norcia. He was able to describe first-hand the needs of the people for material aid, but even more for spiritual support, which the monks hope to offer.

Besides the blessing of this mission to England, we’ve been thanking God in Norcia for the successful hip replacement surgery of Prior Emeritus Cassian Folsom. Due to the chemotherapy and radiation from his previous bouts with cancer, his hip bone had been deteriorating rapidly. With the good work of surgeons and nurses at the Campus Bio Medico in Rome, Fr. Cassian’s hip was successfully replaced three weeks ago and he has already started to walk again. We can see in his experience a symbol of the perennial task of relearning the things (we thought) we already knew, just as St. Benedict, at an old age, was shown that he still needed to learn to love.

The first word of the Rule of St. Benedict is Obsculta — Listen. In the ever-increasing volume of noise from the world, we try to listen to God’s voice, Who never ceases to call us to greater love. As we listen and pray, we bring your needs to our growing family of monks and supporters. As we prepare for Lent, may St. Scholastica intercede for you and for us that in the sufferings of the world and of the Church, we might grow in love of Christ.

Prior Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B.