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Panel Painting "Conversation with Scholastika"

Where There is a Will...

Four panels out of a St. Benedict series of 14 paintings on sheet metal are displayed at the Missionsmuseum. They formerly adorned the chapel of St. Katharina's Monastery in St. Ottilien which today serves as the high school's day center. The presentation is designed in the style of the Beuron Art School. It refers to legends about St. Benedict's life written down by Pope Saint Gregory the Great in his "Dialogues". The painter of these panels is unknown. The following charming story forms the basis for the panel "Conversation with Scholastica":

Scholastica, the sister of Saint Benedict, had been consecrated to God from her earliest years. She was accustomed to visiting her brother once a year. He would come down to meet her at a place on the monastery property, not far outside the gate.

One day she came as usual and her saintly brother went with some of his disciples; they spent the whole day praising God and talking of sacred things. As night fell they had supper together.

Their spiritual conversation went on and the hour grew late. The holy nun said to her brother: "Please do not leave me tonight; let us go on until morning talking about the delights of the spiritual life". "Sister", he replied, "what are you saying? I simply cannot stay outside my cell".

When she heard her brother refuse her request, the holy woman joined her hands on the table, laid her head on them and began to pray. As she raised her head from the table, there were such brilliant flashes of lightning, such great peals of thunder and such a heavy downpour of rain that neither Benedict nor his brethren could stir across the threshold of the place where they had been seated.

Sadly he began to complain: "May God forgive you, sister. What have you done?" "Well", she answered, "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".

Reluctant as he was to stay of his own will, he remained against his will. So it came about that they stayed awake the whole night, engrossed in their conversation about the spiritual life.

(Gregory the Great, Dialogues II, 33. translation cited from: