Gregory the Great’s Miracle of St. Scholastica

On Nov. 5, 2023, the Benedictine College Chamber Singers, under the direction of Dr. Timothy Tharaldson, performed Tharaldson’s own composition, “The Miracle of St. Scholastica,” in St. Scholastica Chapel on the grounds of the Mount St. Scholastica monastery. The composition was inspired by the account below from the Life of St. Benedict by St. Gregory the Great. It tells of a meeting between twins St. Benedict of Nursia (480-547 A.D.) and St. Scholastica (480-543). The image above is a detail from the fresco by Jean Charlot depicting the saints and the crucified and glorified Lord Jesus in the Church of St. Benedict Abbey on the campus of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. The Nov. 5 performance of the song is available on YouTube.

I must tell you a passage concerning the venerable Father Benedict, that there was something he desired and was not able to accomplish. His sister Scholastica, who was consecrated to God from her very childhood, used to come once a year to see him; unto whom the man of God was wont to go to a house not far from the gate, within the possession of the monastery. Thither she came one day according to her custom, and her venerable brother likewise with his disciples; where, after they had spent the whole day in the praise of God and pious discourses, the night drawing on, they took their refection together. As they were yet sitting at table and protracting the time with holy conference, the religious woman, his sister, entreated him, saying, “I beseech you, leave me not this night, that we may talk until morning of the joys of the heavenly life.” To whom he answered, “What is this you say, sister? By no means can I stay out of my monastery.”

At this time the sky was serene, and not a cloud was to be seen in the air. The holy woman, therefore, hearing her brother’s refusal, clasped her hands together upon the table, and bowing her head upon them, she prayed to Almighty God. As she raised up her head from the table, there began such vehement lightning and thunder, with such abundance of rain, that neither venerable Benedict nor his brethren were able to put foot out of doors. For the holy woman, when she leaned her head upon her hands, poured forth a flood of tears upon the table, by which she changed the fair weather into foul and rainy.

Then the man of God, perceiving that by reason of thunder and lightning, with continual showers of rain, he could not possibly return to his monastery, was sad and began to complain, saying, “God Almighty forgive you, sister, what is this you have done?” To whom she made answer, “I prayed you to stay and you would not hear me: I prayed to Almighty God and He heard me. Now, therefore, if you can, go forth to the monastery and leave me.” But he, not able to go forth, was forced to stay against his will. Thus it happened that they spent the night in watching, and received full content in spiritual discourse of heavenly matters.

Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.