Wednesday, February 10, 2010


At one point I said there was no Patron Saint of Weather. I take it back & give you Scholastica. OKay, I did not exactly say there were none. & I did talk about Swithun, who if not patron of weather is certainly associated with weather. & technically Scholastica is invoked against storms & rain (& convulsive children & nuns) not ALL weather. So maybe I will stick with the original declaration I never really made: there is no patron saint of weather. That clears that up.

Scholastica was the twin sister of another saint: Benedict, the founder of the primary sect in monasticism better known as the Benedictines. He is colorful too (reading minds, driving out demons, etc.). But today is not his feast day it is hers, so lets give it to her.

By all accounts I could find, Scholastica was leaning towards a spiritual life while still very young & it was she who lead her later more widely known brother into that same life. She lived more or less in seclusion with a group of women she oversaw on behalf of her brother (hence patroness of nuns, although why that would not go to an outright leader I could not say).

Taking a longer look at the whole storms & rains thing, the story is that she & her brother could only visit each other once a year (some rule of the house; I don't get it either). She was not permitted in his monastery because of her lady-parts & he would not spend the night outside of his monastery because...just because. So they met at her place or some undisclosed mutually convenient location. On a particular visit, Benedict was preparing to leave when a downpour came out of nowhere, delaying his departure until the next day. Scholastica explained this storm was her prayers being answered, so that they could be together longer. They spent the night together in prayer. & meditation. Meditation & prayer. Three days later she died.

Is it me or is this beginning to sound like The Fall of the House of Usher? Let me walk you through that story: the narrator goes to visit his friend Usher who is hanging out at his family mansion waiting for his sister Madeline to die of some mysterious malady her doctors cannot quite figure out. Usher & his friend spend their time rereading all kinds of depressing, to-die-for romantic crap, painting & playing the guitar & Madeline does indeed kick. The two of them put her coffin in the family tomb conveniently located off the dining room. OKay I made that last part up, but it is somewhere in the house itself which is just plain weird.

After Madeline dies, Usher actually perks up a bit until it turns out she was not really dead & they buried her alive. Also the house splits in half. & I guess Usher dies....? Edgar Allen Poe has always been too mysterious for me & I am quite sure he would like it that way. Still, all I ever walk away with is the question: why does he keep walling living people up or burying them alive in the house or both?

In the end, Benedict & Scholastica (& Usher & Madeline) are buried in the same tomb. Maybe even the same grave. That is not creepy or anything; they do that to save space.

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