There is a fascination about twins. They can be a source of curiosity. Twins have much in common. Questions arise about twins. Do they share the same birthday? Do they have similar fingerprints? Do they speak their own language? Do they think in the same way? Do they enjoy similar experiences of life? What are their stories of coincidence? Do they sense each other’s feelings when separated? Today the Church celebrates St Scholastica who was a twin.
Scholastica is not a very common name. It is of Latin origin and the name means ‘scholar’. Scholastica was the twin sister of St Benedict. They both loved God, liked to talk about God and prayed together.
Scholastica and Benedict lived c. 480 in Nursia, Umbria and came from a wealthy family. They grew up together until Benedict went to study in Rome and decided to spend his life in search of God. He established a very important monastery at Monte Cassino. A monastery is a place where monks live. Later Scholastica helped her brother Benedict found a community of religious women about five miles south of his monastery. St Brigid also founded a group of religious women in Co. Kildare, Ireland, the Brigidines, called after St Brigid.
Scholastica and Benedict visited each other only once a year. One day Benedict visited Scholastica in the monastery. They prayed and spoke of God, shared a meal and chatted about life in the monastery. When it was time for him to return to his own monastery, Scholastica begged him to stay with her for a while longer. Benedict refused because the rule in the monastery said he was to come back before a certain time. Scholastica was heartbroken. She put her head on the table, cried, and prayed. As she was praying, a big storm arose. It was so wild that Benedict couldn’t go out. Scholastica told Benedict when he said ‘no’ to staying with her, she asked God for something to happen to make him stay. Hence, they continued their chat and prayer until the morning. God heard Scholastica’s prayer and thought it right that Benedict should stay with his sister! St Gregory the Great said of her, ‘She who loved more could do more.’
Three days later, Scholastica died in the year 547. Brother and sister, Benedict and Scholastica enjoyed their final conversation. Benedict thanked God for her and buried Scholastica in the tomb he had built for himself. They now share ‘a common resting place just as in life their souls had always been one in God.’
The reading proclaimed at Mass today is from the book of Genesis (Gen 2:4-9. 15-17). This reading gives an account of how the Lord God created the first man, from ‘dust of the soil and he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and man became a living being.’ The reading then describes the beautiful garden that God made in Eden. God planted many trees there. He told the man to take care of the garden and to cultivate it. God also told the man that he could eat fruit from all the trees in the garden except ‘from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.’ God’s people wait until tomorrow to find out what happened next.
In the Gospel proclaimed today (Mark 7:14-23) Jesus called the people together and twice he told them to listen and understand. He wanted them to understand that the hearts of humankind are not always loving and kind. He named out different ways that persons break the relationship with God and others by sinning.
The Good News is that Jesus will help us to love others if we pray and follow his way of love. When we are truly sorry, God forgives our sins. Jesus desires our peace. At Mass, we offer one another a sign of peace and we pray for peace in our hearts and in our world.
VERITAS publications offer free access to all the online Grow in Love/ I nGrá Dé Religious Education programme resources during this time of pandemic. This includes the Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé Children’s e-book. There is much to read from Junior Infants/ P1 to Sixth Class/P8 on the lives of the saints. Saint Scholastica is not included.
- Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world. Have mercy on us. Lamb of God you take away the sin of the world have mercy on us. Lamb of God you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace.
- A Uain Dé, a thógann peacaí an domhain, déan trócaire orainn. A Uain Dé, a thógann peacaí an domhain, déan trócaire orainn. A Uain Dé, a thógann peacaí an domhain, tabhair dúinn síocháin.
- Act of Faith/Gníomh Creidimh Grow in Love/I nGrá Dé Sixth Class/Rang a Sé
- The name Scholastica consists of 11 letters and 4 syllables. Name the letters. Write the syllables. How many letters in your name and how many syllables?
- Find out the meaning of your name
- Find out where there are Benedictine monasteries in Ireland. Pope Benedict XV1 took St Benedict as his patron. Do you know that St Benedict is still alive?
- Find out some facts about Pope Benedict XV1
- Find out where Monte Cassino is located
READ: Psalm 103 from your Bible
- Find ways to do acts of love and kindness in your home today
- Look out from your front/back door or from a window. Can you see any trees? What do you notice about any one of them? Are they all the same?
THINK AND REFLECT
- Tell someone today one thing you know about God. What would you like God to know about you?
- Do you believe that God answers peoples’ prayers?
- Do you think Scholastica and Benedict loved one another?
Sr Anne Neylon