Stories about St. Benedict and St. Scholastica
St. Gregory the Great, a Benedictine pope of the sixth century, is credited with writing a collection of stories about St. Benedict and his sister, St. Scholastica. Here are just a few, adapted from Book II of his Dialogues, Life and Miracles of St. Benedict.
How Benedict Brought Water to Subiaco
Three of the monasteries that Benedict founded in the region were located among the rocks on the mountain. It was very difficult for the brothers to descend to draw water from the lake—there was great danger from the steep incline. So the brothers from the three monasteries got together and said to Benedict, “It is difficult for us to come down every day to the lake for water; the monasteries will have to be moved to another place.”
Benedict consoled them gently and sent them away. That night, accompanied by young Brother Placid, he climbed the rock on the mountain and prayed. When he finished, he placed three stones in the place to mark it and went back to his monastery.
The next day when the brothers came to him again, he said, “Go to that rock where you will find three stones placed on top of one another and do a little digging. For Almighty God can produce water even on the top of that mountain and spare you from having to make such a difficult journey.” They went and found that the mountain rock was already oozing. They made a hole in it and it immediately filled with water—it flowed out so plentifully that, to this day, it runs down in abundance and forms a stream from the mountain peak to the base.
Of a Miracle Wrought by His Sister, Scholastica
Scholastica used to visit Benedict once a year at a place between their two abbeys. According to their custom, one year Benedict and his monks went to meet her, and they spent the whole day praising God and talking about spiritual things. When it was getting late they ate together, and as they sat at the table talking of devout matters, darkness set in. Scholastica entreated her brother to stay there all night so they could talk about the joys of heaven. But he could not be persuaded to stay away from his abbey all night.
At that time, the sky was clear. The nun, receiving her brother’s denial, folded her hands and bowed her head in prayer. Lifting her head, there suddenly fell such a tempest of lightning, thunder, and rain that neither Benedict, nor his monks, could go outside. The holy nun had poured forth such a flood of tears that she transformed the clear sky into a great storm.
Benedict, seeing that he could not return to his abbey in such a storm, complained: "God forgive you, what have you done?"
Scholastica answered: "I asked you to stay, and you would not hear me. I asked our good Lord, and he has answered me. If you can now depart, in God's name return to your monastery and leave me here alone."
The good father, not being able to go forth, stayed. They stayed awake all night, immersed in spiritual and heavenly talk. By the power of almighty God, a woman's prayers had wrought a miracle.
How Benedict Saw the Soul of his Sister Ascend into Heavenly Glory
The next day Scholastica returned to her abbey, and Benedict to his. Days later, Benedict raised his eyes to heaven and saw the soul of his sister ascending in the likeness of a dove. He rejoiced to see her in glory, and with hymns and praise he gave thanks to God. Imparting the news of her death to his monks, he sent them to bring her body to his abbey where he had it buried in the grave he had provided for himself. This way, as their souls were always one in God while they lived, so their bodies continued together after their death.