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A Treasury of Arkansas Writers Discussing the Catholic Faith
Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: May 7, 2022
By Sister M. Glorea Knaggs, OSB
Holy Angels Convent
Do you know our Benedictine saints? In the Diocese of Little Rock, we are blessed to have not one but three Benedictine communities. Chances are you have encountered either a monk, sister or oblate from the Olivetan Benedictine sisters of Holy Angels in Jonesboro, the Benedictine sisters of St. Scholastica in Fort Smith or the monks of Subiaco Abbey.
Do you know much about their way of life? Do you know about their founder, St. Benedict, and his sister, St. Scholastica? Growing up, my dad shared lots of stories about the saints with my siblings and me. I remember one particular supper where he was drinking from a wine glass that he used as a prop to tell us a story about St. Benedict, who was spared from being poisoned by his monks when he made the sign of the cross over the chalice he was about to drink from.
The chalice burst before St. Benedict could drink it — my dad kept his wine glass intact but made a motion with his hands to simulate the explosion, much to the delight of our dinner table. I remember thinking about how holy St. Benedict must have been for God to protect him that way, but I didn’t know much else about him and didn’t until many years later.
I remember thinking about how holy St. Benedict must have been for God to protect him that way, but I didn’t know much else about him and didn’t until many years later. I was drawn to the spirituality of his rule, but a story about his sister, St. Scholastica, has always been very gripping to me.
I was drawn to the spirituality of his rule, but a story about his sister, St. Scholastica, has always been very gripping to me. Recorded by St. Benedict’s biographer, St. Gregory the Great, the story is usually titled: “The Last Interview.” St. Benedict visits St. Scholastica at her monastery of nuns, where they enjoy a good and holy soiree. St. Scholastica asks St. Benedict to stay the night so that they can continue their spiritually edifying conversation till dawn.
St. Benedict refused, insisting that he needed to get back to his monastery, and in response, St. Scholastica bowed her head and prayed, resulting in an immediate onset of a thunderstorm that prevented St. Benedict from making his journey home. She explained to her brother that since he would not listen, she asked God, and he granted her request.
They continued speaking throughout the night of heavenly things. A few days after St. Benedict left, St. Scholastica died, entering her eternal reward. St. Gregory ends this story by concluding that “God is love, and she could do more because she loved more.” As someone who identifies with the “quality time” love language, this story has both a relatable and profound appeal to me.
Times with my sisters and loved ones always seem to end a little too soon — and I relish the times of edification, joy and laughter. It is consoling to know that there is a saint who also had this desire. She is someone I turn to about family and relationship matters for prayer, as well as the grace to go to God with all my desires, great and small. St. Scholastica, pray for us.