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When I was born, my parents had lost their first daughter during childbirth, so my father in odd thanksgiving wanted to name me Scholastica, hoping I would become a Nun one day. Probably some convoluted bargain with God, knowing my father.

After flunking out of Catholic school in second grade, I attended religious education every Wednesday, called CCD in those days. With stories from my grandmother, the Nuns and my father, I learned Saint Scholastica had been Saint Benedict's twin sister.

This was, in my 8-year-old opinion, the coolest thing about her. Twins run in our family. I have identical twin female cousins who looked like blonde half-Italian, half-Irish angels.

My mother carried twin sons but lost them both before birth, before baptism. She talked about them so much they seemed part of the family, even though they were in Limbo. There is no official record, but she told me she named them in her heart Paul and Anthony.

Saint Scholastica was born c. 480 AD and died February 10, 547 AD. Her symbols are a Nun with crozier and crucifix and a Nun with dove flying from her mouth. She is the patron saint of convulsive children, Nuns, and her name is invoked against storms and rain.

One year at the end of the day, they had supper and continued their conversation. When Benedict indicated it was time for him to leave, she protested, and begged him to stay with her for the evening so they could continue their discussions. He refused, insisting that he needed to return to his cell. At that point, Scholastica closed her hands in prayer, and after a moment, a wild storm started outside of the guest house in which they were housed. Benedict asked, "What have you done?", to which she replied, "I asked you and you would not listen; so I asked my God and he did listen. So now go off, if you can, leave me and return to your monastery." Benedict was unable to return to his monastery, and they spent the night in discussion. According to Gregory's Dialogues, three days later, from his cell, he saw his sister's soul leaving the earth and ascending to heaven in the form of a shining white dove.

Saint Benedict died March 21, 547 AD, and is buried in the same vault as his sister. When my father was dying, I thanked him for NOT naming me Scholastica and he said, "You have your mother to thank for that. You could have been a nun, but it's too late now."

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