The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica

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Like most kids, twins Benedict and Scholastica spent their childhoods climbing trees, racing, and even bickering. Then their lives took extraordinary turns as they entered adulthood. Scholastica cared for those in need, while miracles guided Benedict's life as he grew into a spiritual leader. Despite living far away from each other, the twins' bond helped Benedict develop the Rule of St. Benedict, creating a sense of community within the monasteries, which continues to guide ...
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Overview


Like most kids, twins Benedict and Scholastica spent their childhoods climbing trees, racing, and even bickering. Then their lives took extraordinary turns as they entered adulthood. Scholastica cared for those in need, while miracles guided Benedict's life as he grew into a spiritual leader. Despite living far away from each other, the twins' bond helped Benedict develop the Rule of St. Benedict, creating a sense of community within the monasteries, which continues to guide the Benedictine Order today.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Poet, feminist and Benedictine oblate Norris (The Cloister Walk) turns to the sixth-century twins Benedict and Scholastica for this informative dual biography. In easily accessible language and a straightforward tone, she describes the twins' embrace of the monastic life and Benedict's miraculous visions and special calling. Norris is at her most appealing in her wry contrast of Benedict's hard-won insights into the peaceful maintenance of monastic order, codified in his famous Rule, with Scholastica's natural understanding of the shared spiritual life. Young readers will be lured into the narrative by dePaola's friendly art, presented in panels that loosely recall the structure and composition of medieval religious art. Like Norris, he emphasizes Benedict's and Scholastica's humanity rather than their saintliness. Readers will be able to identify with these protagonists, even if the complexities of their vocations elude them. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
The order of St. Benedict has survived for more than 1500 years and it's still strong in the contemporary world. This book beautifully relates the story of its founder, St. Benedict, and his saintly twin sister Scholastica. I was educated by Benedictine nuns and Scholastica is my birthday saint so I've been familiar with their story all my life. DePaola's illustrations serve the theme masterfully, while Norris offers their story to children in powerful yet accessible language. A superb gift for a religious occasion. 2001, Philomel Books, $16.99. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: A. Braga SOURCE: Parent Council, September 2001 (Vol. 9, No. 1)
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-This fictionalized biography of Saints Benedict and Scholastica, twins who lived in sixth-century Italy, is told in a lively, authoritative manner. Born to a respected family in the mountain town of Nursia, the children were separated for their education. Scholastica was placed in a convent and Benedict was sent to Rome. Repelled by the power struggles, injustice, and greed he encountered in the city, Benedict longed for a simple, prayerful life. First he became a cave-dwelling hermit, and later, after many difficulties, he founded a monastery on Monte Cassino, which eventually became the Benedictine order of monks. Meanwhile, his sister remained in the convent and supported her beloved brother with prayer. Many stories of miracles are woven into the text. A brief summary of the Rule of St. Benedict, still used by monks and nuns today, is included. As usual, dePaola's elegant, stylized artwork seems particularly well suited to the eternal quality of religious subjects. The framed spreads are painted in soft, warm acrylics on tea-stained watercolor paper, which gives the semblance of an old manuscript. The text is arranged in boxes of various sizes to help create an eye-appealing format.-Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
DePaola's inexhaustible wellspring of creativity is never more evident than in ecclesiastical subjects, and in this biography of the twin saints, Benedict and Scholastica, he has outdone himself. Luminous color and suppleness of line shape the narrative, whose progression can be traced along the borders and through the central panels as in illuminated manuscripts. Norris, who has written with intelligence and discernment about spirituality for adults, fares a little less well in writing for children. Overlong sentences sometimes impede the flow in reading aloud; too much information occasionally clogs the story. And it's a wonderful story-of twin siblings growing up in the hills of Umbria, of a young man disillusioned by study in the city of Rome, seeking first to serve God by living alone and then to serve further by creating a rule under which those who chose could live together in God's service. Scholastica stayed at the convent where she was educated, and among other tales, Norris relates the one where she kept her brother visiting through the night, despite his protestations, because she knew it was the last time she would see him. An author's note explains the history of the Rule of St. Benedict, which is still followed today. There's always a place for dePaola's work; older children, or those intent on connecting the words to the beautiful pictures, will find their attention amply repaid. (note, bibliography) (Biography. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142411117
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/20/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Norris
Kathleen Norris lives in Lemmon, South Dakota, and Honolulu, Hawaii.

Tomie dePaola lives in New London, New Hampshire.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2001

    A DELIGHTFUL AND INSPIRING STORY

    Twin brother and sister Benedict and Scholastica were rambunctious youngsters who lived many years ago in Nursia, a small mountain town in northern Italy. They climbed trees, raced each other up and down the hills, and befriended stray cats. They were not only twins but constant playmates and best friends. When the twins grew older, as was the custom of their day, Benedict was sent to Rome to study while Scholastica went to a nearby monastery to learn to read and write. While Scholastica easily adapted to her new live, enjoying the women she met and the prayers that were said, Benedict was troubled by the poverty and cruelty to slaves that he encountered in Rome. Although he knew that the great city opened many avenues for him and that he was expected to remain there to study, Benedict chose to go to a small village where he joined a small number who spent their days in prayer and labor. Later, Benedict felt God was calling him to live alone so he found a cave for shelter. It was there that shepherds found him and deemed him to be a holy hermit. As Benedict's reputation spread other clerics became envious and even tried to do away with him. Eventually the solitary believer went to the peak of Monte Cassino where he founded a monastery, which became a refuge for many. Scholastica, along with a group of other nuns, would come to the monastery to visit her brother once a year and became a great source of support for him and his work. Tomie de Paola's delightful, boldly colored acrylic illustrations enliven this inspiring story of faith and devotion.

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