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Let’s hear it for his twin sister, St Scholastica too!


Benedict I had heard of, but I was touched that there was

also St Scholastica, his twin sister.  Surely she

must be a patron saint of female teachers?

Apparently not.  She did ally herself with convulsive children and

thunderstorms, however.  Hope she holds off the storm for Djokovic


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Whether St Scholastica was buried at Fleury, or at Le Mans is a moot

point, but one on which I haven’t decided.  I’d prefer if she had been

laid to rest in the crypt with her brother.

It is a pity that the name of the sanctified lass seems to have connotations

with a surgical stocking which might prevent DVTs.  Maybe it resonated

with an educational publisher’s title.  Or was it more coolly channelling a

rock band?


For starters, she had been rewarded with a meteorological miracle which

put her brother’s signs and wonders in the shade.  She had been given a

divine imprimatur on her heartfelt desire to be sociable and her brother

had learned that rigidly sticking to his timetable was not that better part.

Her tears had brought down a hailstorm which prevented him from returning to

Montecasino and his cell.  She reproved him for not listening to her when God

had heard her.  So much for the usual portrayal of Benedict with his

finger over his lips and his injunction to pin back one’s inner ears.

Practise what you preach might have been dinned into him by a loud


However, since it is his Feast Day today, let’s celebrate the sainted







Their Last Supper – did she know?

(Benedict had prophesied his demise.)

A twin, she dreaded separation,

so she begged him to delay departure.

He resolved to adhere to his own Rule:

to return to his cell before sundown.

An adept at resisting temptation,

he’d shooed a blackbird; mortified his flesh

and could spot a poisoned chalice; restore

broken vessels, but worshipped his routine.

Whereas Scholastica, in sincere love,

pleaded with him to delay a little.

When tears did not avail, she cried in prayer –

the clear sky darkened and a storm arose.

Benedict, rooted to the very spot –

coldly angry, began to lecture her,

but her petition had prevailed with God.

Three days on he witnessed a dove ascend.

Her soul took flight, leaving her corpse below,

illuminated by a beam of light.

Benedict placed her body in his tomb.

Their celestial converse carries on,

their bones together, or apart, at peace,

transcending the rules, united in love.

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