Author: Kathleen Norris
Illustrator: Tomi DePaola
Publisher: G. P. Putnam & Sons
I have a big list of posts I want to do, and I’ve featured Tomie DePaola recently but today is the Feast of St. Scholastic, and one of my favorite DePaola books is his book The Holy Twinsabout the life of Sts Benedict and Scolastica.
The story of St. Benedict and St. Scolastica is one of the oldest saint stories I remember–perhaps because I too had a brother, and as children we are drawn to what is familiar. Their story is a wonderful one–they were dear siblings, who loved each other very much, and dedicated themselves entirely to God’s will. The story of St. Scolastica’s death was one of my favorites: One year she begged St. Benedict to prolong his visit, stay the night and not leave, but he refused, so she prayed that God would intercede. A terrible storm arose, and no one could leave the house so they spent the whole night talking about theology, and praying, and Benedict and his monks left the next morning. Three days later, in a vision, St. Benedict beheld his sister’s soul ascending into heaven, and learned the news that she had passed away.
It’s wonderful fodder for a children’s book, and Norris and dePaola do a fantastic job with the story. I have nothing special to say about dePaola’ illustrations except that they are wonderful, and if you don’t like them you’re crazy. Norris creates a lovely portrait of brotherly love, and creates real models for our lives in her re-telling of their story. I know I wanted a brother like St. Benedict, though I suppose I should have rather sought to be a sister like St. Scholastica.