St. William of Maleval

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St. William of Maleval

Hermit, and Institutor of the Order of Gulielmites
(A.D. 1157)

WE 1 know nothing of the birth or quality of this saint: he seems to have been a Frenchman, and is on this account honoured in the new Paris Missal and Breviary. He is thought to have passed his youth in the army, and to have given into a licentious manner of living, too common among persons of that profession. The first accounts we have of him represent him as an holy penitent, filled with the greatest sentiments of compunction and fervour, and making a pilgrimage to the tombs of the apostles at Rome. Here he begged Pope Eugenius III. to put him into a course of penance, who enjoined him a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the year 1145. In performing this, with great devotion, the saint spent eight years. Returning into Tuscany in 1153, he retired into a desert. He was prevailed upon to undertake the government of a monastery in the Isle of Lupocavio, in the territory of Pisa: but not being able to bear with the tepidity and irregularity of his monks, he withdrew and settled on Mount Pruno, till finding disciples there no less indocile to the severity of his discipline than the former, he was determined to pursue himself that rigorous plan of life which he had hitherto unsuccessfully proposed to others. He pitched upon a desolate valley for this purpose, the very sight of which was sufficient to strike the most resolute with horror. It was then called the Stable of Rhodes, but since, Maleval; and is situated in the territory of Sienna, in the diocess of Grosseto. He entered this frightful solitude in September, 1155, and had no other lodging than a cave in the ground, till being discovered some months after, the lord of Buriano built him a cell. During the first four months, he had no other company but that of wild beasts, eating only the herbs on which they fed. On the feast of the Epiphany, in the beginning of the year 1156, he was joined by a disciple or companion, called Albert, who lived with him to his death, which happened thirteen months after, and who has recorded the last circumstances of his life.
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Saint Scholastica

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Saint Scholastica

Abbess
(480-543)

Of this Saint but little is known on earth, save that she was the very pious younger sister of the great patriarch Saint Benedict, and that, under his direction, she founded and governed a numerous community near Monte Casino. Saint Gregory sums up her life by saying that she devoted herself to God from her childhood, and that her pure soul rose to God in the likeness of a dove, as if to show that her life had been enriched with the fullest gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Her brother was accustomed to visit her once every year, before Lent, and she could not be sated or wearied with the words of grace which flowed from his lips. On his last visit, after a day passed in spiritual conversation, the Saint, knowing that her end was near, said, My brother, leave me not, I pray you, this night, but discourse with me till dawn on the bliss of those who see God in heaven. Saint Benedict would not break his rule for the sake of natural affection, but his sister bowed her head and prayed, and there arose a storm so violent that Saint Benedict could not return to his monastery, and they passed the night as she had prayed, in heavenly conversation.

Three days later Saint Benedict saw in a vision the soul of Saint Scholastica going up in the likeness of a dove into heaven. Then he gave thanks to God for the graces He had given her and the glory which had crowned them. When she died, Saint Benedict as well as her spiritual daughters, and the monks sent by their patriarch to her conventual church, mingled their tears and prayed, Alas! alas! dearest mother, to whom dost thou leave us now? Pray for us to Jesus, to whom thou art gone. They then devoutly celebrated holy Mass, commending her soul to God; and her body was borne to Monte Casino, where her brother lay her in the tomb he had prepared for himself. It was written that they all mourned her many days. Finally Saint Benedict said, Weep not, my sisters and brothers; for assuredly Jesus has taken her, before us, to be our aid and defense against all our enemies, that we may remain standing on the evil day and be perfect in all things. Her death occurred in about the year 543.

Reflection. Our relatives must be loved in and for God; otherwise the purest affection becomes inordinate and is ill directed, because taken from Him.

Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894); Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul GuĂ©rin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 2.