St. Scholastica

I recently ran across the story of Saint Scholastica online. I’m not exactly sure what I was searching, but I found her and we connected.

Saint Scholastica was born around 480, and has a twin brother, St. Benedict of Nursia. Boy, their parents must really be proud having not one, but two saints in the family. One wonders what might have happened to their other siblings. Imagine having to live up to that; no pressure, right?

Saint Scholastica Icon - Graphite on mixed papers and cardboard - Natalie Schorr 2018

Saint Scholastica Icon - Graphite on mixed papers and cardboard - Natalie Schorr 2018

While there are probably a few stories about Scholastica and Benedict out there, the one that popped up most frequently concerned their yearly meetings. It seems that, once each year, Scholastica would leave her little enclave of women, and Benedict would leave his abbey, and they would meet at a house somewhere near the abbey, since men don’t like to ask directions, and they would spend this one day worshipping God and discussing scriptures and whatever the religious questions of the day happened to be.

This particular time, Scholastica sensed that she was reaching the end of her life, so she asked Benedict to stay with her overnight rather than go back to the abbey, but he refused. Maybe it was mac and cheese night at the abbey; who knows? But it was his rule that he always had to be home in the evening, so he determined to go.

Anyway, as Benedict was preparing to leave, Scholastica prayed to God to make him stay, and God immediately sent a truly epic storm with rain and thunder and lightning, forcing Benedict to stay the night. We should, therefore, remember that sometimes love is more important than rules.

Three days later, Benedict looked out a window of his cell to see a white dove ascending to heaven, and knew it was Scholastica’s soul at the moment of her death. Twins recognize this stuff, I think.

In making this icon, I started with a drawing I had done previously of my daughter, and began to expand from there. I used some pretty beefy cardboards, and wrapped the drawing in a deep frame, filled inside with text from a German book on Christianity from the late 1700s. I am particularly interested in the nature of this very old printed paper, and used it to symbolize their day of worship and discourse.

I wrapped the outer frame of the icon in a beautiful marbleized paper in an array of blue and green tones with metallic gold and black in a wild, swirling pattern, symbolic of the storm sent by God to cause Benedict to stay with Scholastica.

Finally, I added a white dove waiting in the upper left corner, in an added box, along with Scholastica’s name. She is invoked against storms and rain, and her feast day is February 10th.