She Saved the Best for Last

(a poetic look at a legend about one of Scholastica’s final days)

Gospel reading for the feast of Scholastica, February 10, 2023: Matthew 6:5-8


Benedict sipped his tea and looked out the window.


“I believe I miss her most this time of year,” he mused,

“because it was around this time of the year

we had our annual get together.


“You knew we were twins, right?

So even though we’d both chosen the monastic life,

it still would not be right

to never get together.

After all, we’d been together

since before we’d been born.

We made sure we spent a day together

once a year.


“We’d had a day together 

that was so like every other year

we got together.

Worshiping, praying, reading Scripture–

–but it was discussing all that, that was the best.

Sometimes, it was like we were of one mind…

…and other times, we’d debate and duel,

wrestle and wrangle with words, phrases, translations…

…but I’d always ponder our discussions 

as I walked back to the monastery,

and to my cell

for days and weeks afterwards.


“Something was different this time, though.

She was insistent I didn’t leave

when the sun started getting low,

and it was time for me to end our visit.


“To be honest, I was annoyed at the time.

How would it look

if I spent a night outside the monastery

and broke my own rule

that I expected my monks to obey?


“She said nothing to me.

She simply closed her eyes

and put out her hands in supplication

and suddenly

The clouds began to rumble,

lightning began to flash,

and the heavens unloaded.

It was a downpour, I tell you!

“What did you do?” I shouted at her.


“She merely smiled at me–

–you know, the kind of smile 

that only a sister can give

when she knows she has you

trapped in the corner.

Then she looked at me

with the most beatific look,

and said to me,

with a voice slick and literally dripping with victory–

“I asked you to stay and you would not listen;

So I asked God and he did listen.”


“And yeah, I stayed.

The rain didn’t stop,

and I knew it wasn’t going to,

and so I took a deep breath,

and we continued our conversation far into the night.

Little did I know

she would die three days later–

–she must have known her time was short–

and I would know it from a vision

I had in my cell.


“I suppose we’ve all had times

we’ve wondered if all those prayers we say

are ever heard

or if they’re simply empty words

that we hurl into an empty sky

to an empty god.

“My sister taught me

that yes, all those words 

I direct towards God

really matter…

and I no longer fear

that somehow I’ve wasted my life

in devotion to a mystery.

the words matter…

and they are heard.


“Scholastica’s life

brought me many gifts…

but she saved the best one for last.”

Maria Evans splits her week between being a pathologist and laboratory director in Kirksville, MO, and gratefully serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri , as Interim Priest at Trinity Episcopal Church in Hannibal, MO. 

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