We can do more...Spring Appeal 2022

St. Scholastica: We can do more...Spring Appeal 2022

Let me tell you a story from our Benedictine lore about what love and prayer together can accomplish. It’s the story of St. Scholastica, twin sister of St. Benedict, who led a women’s monastery near St. Benedict’s monastery in early 6th century Italy.

The story is from the Dialogues of St. Gregory and describes one particular instance of the annual meeting of brother and sister in which St. Scholastica wanted her brother to stay with her longer. After two years of pandemic distancing and often forced separation, we can surely resonate with St. Scholastica’s desire for a longer in-person visit!

Benedict’s sister Scholastica came to visit and they met not far from the gate of his monastery, at a place that belonged to the Abbey.

They spent the whole day in the praises of God and spiritual talk, and when it was almost night, they dined together. As they were yet sitting at the table, it began to get dark. Scholastica entreated Benedict to stay there all night that they might continue their holy conversation. By no persuasion, however, would he agree, saying that he could not stay all night outside of his Abbey.

At that time, the sky was so clear that no cloud was to be seen. Scholastica, hearing this denial from her brother, joined her hands together, laid them on the table, bowed her head on her hands, and prayed to almighty God. 
Lifting her head from the table, there fell suddenly such a tempest of lightning and thundering, and such abundance of rain, that Benedict could not go out.

Benedict began to complain to his sister, saying, “God forgive you, what have you done?” She answered him, “I desired you to stay, and you would not hear me; I have asked it of our good God, and God has granted my petition. Therefore if you can now depart, in God’s name return to your monastery, and leave me here alone.”

But Benedict, not being able to leave, tarried there against his will where before he would not have stayed willingly. They stayed all night and with spiritual and heavenly talk mutually comforted one another. 

If we knew Benedict’s mind, there is no question but that he would have had the same fair weather to have continued as it was when he left his monastery. He found, however, that a miracle prevented his desire. Is it not a thing to be marveled at, that a woman, who for a long time had not seen her brother, might do more in that instance than he could? She realized, according to the saying of St. John, “God is charity” (1 John 4:8). Therefore, as is right, she who loved more, did more.

It’s such a powerful story and, in the end, love triumphs—I love happy endings!

For the past 166 years our sisters have loved more, and done more, only through the support of friends like you.

Benedictine sisters pray and work towards an end to hunger, towards a more just world, towards equality and justice, towards sustainability, towards peace. I ask you today, if you are able, to join in our prayer and work of love with a gift. Your generosity enables us to keep on keeping on, listening for the voice of God and responding to God’s call. 

Whether or not you are able to offer a donation, we will remember you in our prayer and, thunderstorm or not, we look forward to the day when we have the opportunity to welcome you at the monastery where our spiritual journeys can connect.

With gratitude,

Stephanie Schmidt, OSB
Benedictine Sisters of Erie

P.S. Please consider a donation to the Benedictine Sisters of Erie. Click here. Thank you for making love real.