Visum Monachae… On Being Scholastica
Sister Edith Bogue
Our campus comes alive each February 10 with the Feast of St. Scholastica. Sisters begin the day serving donuts with a cheery hello in Tower, Science, and now at BlueStone. One year, St. Scholastica and her brother St. Benedict made personal appearances. In 2017, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson joined trustee Chris Dolan and alumna Nur Mood to discuss the Benedictine values. The community shares an Italian buffet. Greetings of “Happy Feast” are heard all over campus.
At the end of the day, the quiet of Evening Prayer invites us into St. Scholastica’s own spirituality of generous love. One sister proclaims the Love Chapter. “Love is patient… love does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable… love never ends” (1 Cor 13). Scholastica’s spirituality does not prescribe a particular work. Rather, whatever our profession, she calls us to carry it out with love. We love those we work or live with, those we serve, and all God’s creation. Living 1500 years after her death, she urges us to be Scholastica in our world.
We remember our foundress, Mother Scholastica Kerst, on this, her name day. An energetic and visionary woman, she arrived in Duluth in 1888 with six sisters to staff the new St. Mary’s Hospital. Bishop James McGolrick named her prioress when St. Scholastica Monastery was founded in 1892. Through her tireless efforts, she made St. Scholastica’s spirit of love tangible. She was a builder. Her sisters soon staffed schools around the region. They built an orphanage, now Woodland Hills. Their girls’ academy, Villa Sancta Scholastica, grew into The College of St. Scholastica. We are heirs to her spirit of entrepreneurship, courage, and willingness to serve. Whenever members of our CSS family see a need and respond, they become a new Scholastica. God’s love is made present in new locations and new ways.
When we celebrate the Feast of St. Scholastica, we celebrate the bonds within our CSS community. We share smiles with strangers over donuts. We dine with alumnae, students, profs, trustees and staff at the Italian Feast. We celebrate the Eucharist, the sacrament of God’s love, with Bishop Sirba. We strengthen our special identity as members of the CSS community. We commit ourselves to be hospitable, especially to those in need. To show respect, especially when others do not. To extend our love to the earth and its resources through careful stewardship. To nurture a lifelong love of learning, of growing and changing. Most especially, always to be Scholastica by being builders of community.
The Feast speeds by, overtaken by Valentine’s Day, President’s Day and the beginning of Lent. The opportunity to carry forward the spirit of love remains. You can get up every day and, in your own way, be Scholastica. Remember: the world needs more Saints.
Sister Edith Bogue is Associate Professor of Sociology at the College and Vocations Director at the Monastery.