St. Scholastica was born, with her twin, St. Benedict, around the year 480, into a noble Roman family in Italy. From an early age, Scholastica devoted her life to God, as Benedict reported that his sister was “dedicated from her infancy to Our Lord.”
Scholastica’s mother died giving birth. When Benedict left home to study in Rome, Scholastica stayed behind to tend to the family’s estate. Benedict began living as a hermit, and then as the head of a community of monks in Italy.
Scholastica was determined to follow her brother’s example. She lived for some time among a community of pious virgins, and some scholars believe she eventually founded a community of nuns there, five miles from her brother. He seems to have directed his sister and the nuns in the practice of the rule his monks lived by.
Although St. Benedict’s life was formally chronicled, not much else is known about St. Scholastica. She visited her brother once a year, at a house halfway between their communities. According to Benedict’s biographer, at their last visit, the siblings prayed and conversed, but when Scholastica begged her brother to stay for the night, he refused.
Scholastica then bowed her head in supplication to God. When she lifted her head, a violent storm struck, and Benedict could not leave. Pope Gregory wrote that Benedict complained to his sister, “What have you done?” She answered, “I wanted you to stay, and you wouldn’t listen. I have asked our good Lord, and he graciously granted my request.”
Benedict had no choice but to stay. The siblings spent the night discussing spiritual matters, including the kingdom of heaven.
Three days later in 543, Benedict received a vision of the soul of his sister, in the likeness of a dove, departed from her body and flying into heaven. He rejoiced with hymns and praise, and had her body brought to his monastery. Scholastica was buried in the grave that Benedict had provided for himself, and when he died soon after, he was buried there as well.