Thursday, March 12, 2020

A group puts on my play

From two homeschool families in Florida. They sent me the cast photo after their production of The Twin Saints!

The Twin Saints
A play for children by Ana Braga-Henebry, M.A.
Saint Scholastica is one of my favorite saints, since her feast day falls on my birthday.
This play is dedicated to my son Gus as he leaves for college, since his favorite saint of all times is Saint Benedict, and whose name he adopted as his Confirmation name.
As sources for this play I used the text of Saint Gregory the Great’s “Dialogues”, as well as Kathleen Norris ’ and de Paola’s excellent book on the lives of these saints, The Holy Twins, © 2001 Putnam’s Sons
NARRATOR (Can be split into Narrator 1 and Narrator 2) SAINT SCHOLASTICA
(Stage is empty. Enter Narrator.)

NARRATOR 1: Good evening boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen!
We are here tonight to tell you about a most amazing pair of twins! Brother and sister, they loved each other very much and lived very close lives together!
NARRATOR 2: The only source we have of their story is this book here—yes, written in the 6th century by Saint Gregory the Great! Now, Saint Gregory wasn’t called great for no reason—no no—but if you think he is the Saint Gregory responsible for the Gregorian Calendar used today all over the world, you are wrong. That Gregory was a Pope and he was Great, but our Great Gregory lived 1000 years earlier than that one!
Our Gregory the Great who wrote about the lives of these Holy Twins is the one Gregorian Chant is named after. You know what Gregorian Chant is: the music of the Church that has survived the centuries, inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself, and it still chanted today all over the world.
In any event (rolls eyes), this Gregory also wrote many books, and in one of these books he tells us the story of the twin saints you will meet today! The twins grew up together and were inseparable playmates, loving each other very much!
NARRATOR 1: Let’s meet Saint BENEDICT first:
SAINT BENEDICT (enters): I was born in Nursia, a village high in the mountains northeast of Rome. My parents sent me to Rome for classical studies but I hated the life of the eternal city! I saw so much evil there, so many sinful activities, and also how cruelly some people treat their slaves! So I went to a place southeast of Rome called Subiaco and there I lived as a hermit for three years!
Goes to cave that has been brought to side of stage.
NARRATOR 1 (walks towards Saint Scholastica) And here is Saint Scholastica!
SAINT SCHOLASTICA (enters): I am the twin sister of Saint Benedict, a loving, adoring sister who wanted to follow her brother in all things! (Walks to front stage) I was consecrated to God at a very early age but I probably continued to live in my parents' home during my growing up years.
NARRATOR 1: Well, word got around about SAINT BENEDICT and his being a hermit in a cave, and wouldn’t you know, some others wanted to join him there!
(BENEDICTINE MONKS 1 and 2 come and stoop in front of Benedict’s cave.)

BENEDICTINE MONK 1: Father Benedict!
BENEDICTINE MONK 2: Father Benedict! Are you there?
SAINT BENEDICT (stepping out of the cave): Yes, my brothers?
BENEDICTINE MONK 1: May we live with you in the cave?
BENEDICTINE MONK 2: We too are tired of the sinful life of the city!
SAINT BENEDICT: Aah, brothers, you don’t want to live this harsh life—you wouldn’t like it! BENEDICTINE MONKS 1 and 2: Pleeease, pleeease!
SAINT BENEDICT: Suit yourself! (Walks back to cave, followed by monks who sit in front of cave, all freeze).
NARRATOR 1: As Saint Benedict predicted, the monks could not handle the hermit life at all! In fact they actually turned against him! Listen to their plotting!
BENEDICTINE MONK 1: Ok, we have got to do something!
We need a plan... let me think...
BENEDICTINE MONK 2: (Stretching out ceramic pitcher of wine): Poison! Let’s poison his wine!!
BENEDICTINE MONK 1: Great idea! If he dies, no one can blame us for not being able to handle living like hermits!
BENEDICTINE MONK 2: Let’s do it! (Go off stage)
SAINT BENEDICT (coming out of cave): Brothers, brothers!
BENEDICTINE MONK 1: Here, here, Father Benedict!
BENEDICTINE MONK 2: Here is your wine!
SAINT BENEDICT: Thank you, brothers, but you know we never eat or drink without first blessing our food! (Begins making a big Sign of the cross): Benedicte Domine...
BENEDICTINE MONKS 1 and 2: (Dropping the pitcher which breaks in two as it falls to the ground). Yikes!
BENEDICTINE MONKS 1 and 2: (Astonished, picking up each a broken piece) It’s a miracle! It’s a miracle! We are out of here! (Run away offstage)

SAINT BENEDICT: I was a bit skeptical of those monks, I was... (leaves for his cave)
NARRATOR 1: Well, we will leave Saint Benedict and his amazing adventures aside for a while,
as it is time to see what Benedict’s twin sister is doing!
SAINT SCHOLASTICA (walks in with two sisters, stops front stage): Oh dear Sisters, I do miss my wonderful and dear twin brother... and I wonder what adventures he is having while we live here a very quiet life.
BENEDICTINE SISTER 1: Our life here in the new convent of Plombariola is quiet, Mother, but is so joyful.
BENEDICTINE SISTER 2: And so good, as we pray and sing to the glory of God. BENEDICTINE SISTER 1: Also doing his work,
BENEDICTINE SISTER 2: ...feeding the poor,
BENEDICTINE SISTER 1: ...and taking care of the sick.
BENEDICTINE SISTER 2: We love our life with you, Mother Scholastica!
SAINT SCHOLASTICA: Yes, sisters, we are fortunate to live a peaceful and joyful life with God! And I know God will still grant me some time on this earth with my twin brother! (Beginning to walk away with sisters) I just know I will still spend some time with him, you will see...
NARRATOR 2: Well, while Scholastica is praying and helping the sick and the poor, Saint Benedict found some good, holy monks this time, and there are monasteries coming up all over the area to the south of Rome!
SAINT BENEDICT (entering with monks): Brothers, brothers! It is so good that we have now built this large monastery on Monte Cassino as our premier monastery! And to think that now I am just five miles from my dearest twin sister Scholastica!
BENEDICTINE MONK 1: Father Benedict, your name is in the mouth of everyone in the land!
BENEDICTINE MONK 2: Because of all of the miracles you have worked, like the one where you told the monks in the monastery in the mountains to find three rocks...
BENEDICTINE MONK 1: Yes, they were tired of coming down the mountain to fetch water...
BENEDICTINE MONK 2: ...and following your instructions they made a new spring appear the next morning all the way up there!
SAINT BENEDICT: Remember, brothers, it is all Gods’ doing, not mine!

BENEDICTINE MONK 1: And then there was when you made water flow from the rocks...
BENEDICTINE MONK 2: And the time when you sent a monk walking on water to save the life of another monk!
BENEDICT: Enough already, enough already. Now I am working on something that is taking a long time...
BENEDICTINE MONK 1 (Excited): Let me guess... let me guess... Mmmmmm...
BENEDICTINE MONK 2 (Holding an imaginary travel brochure in the air): Travel plans? Aaahh—I
can just picture – holidays in the Holy Land!
SAINT BENEDICT: No, no, nothing like that. I am writing a Rule! A Holy Rule by which all monks and nuns will live by! With God’s help, this rule will be a model for all monasteries for centuries to come!
BENEDICTINE MONKS 1 AND 2 (disappointed): Aaaaaahhhhh....
SAINT BENEDICT: Come along, brothers, there is much work still to be done today!
NARRATOR 2: Well, well, so Saint Benedict writes his rule, and sure enough, his twin sister adopts the new Benedictine rule in her monastery and it is a hit!
SAINT SCHOLASTICA (walks in with two sisters, stops front stage): Oh dear Sisters, I still miss my wonderful and dear twin brother... we were so inseparable when we were little.... But now I feel his presence in my life more than ever as we follow the new Benedictine Rule!
BENEDICTINE SISTER 1: Aaah... Benedict’s Holy Rule! It has been so good!
BENEDICTINE SISTER 2: Yes, it has organized our life so beautifully!
BENEDICTINE SISTER 1: And it taught us how to be even better at what we do!
BENEDICTINE SISTER 2: Take Chapter 16: it tells us how we should perform our daily work!
BENEDICTINE SISTER 1: And I love Chapter 53, on how we must be always hospitable to all our guests!
BENEDICTINE SISTER 2: I love the fact that there is time allotted for work, for prayer, but also for recreation!
SAINT SCHOLASTICA (Hand on ear): Listen... who is coming over there? BENEDICTINE MONK 1: May God be with you, Mother!

BENEDICTINE MONK 2: We come with a message from Father Benedict! (Hands a scroll to Mother Scholastica)
SAINT SCHOLASTICA (reading, exclaiming): Oh, my prayers have been answered! Look! (Hands scroll to Sister)
BENEDICTINE SISTER 1: (reading) He says for now on you and he will have a meeting every year!
BENEDICTINE SISTER 2: (Stretching neck to read as well) And that he is coming soon for the first meeting! Oh Mother! (All leave the stage.)
NARRATOR 1: And so it was that the saintly twins SAINT BENEDICT and Scholastica met once a year to discuss spiritual matters and these meetings brought the twin saints great, great joy. He would come down with his monks, she would come up with her sisters, and they would meet at a gatehouse between the monasteries.
NARRATOR 2: (coming to front stage) Now, we cannot finish their story on this earth without going back to Saint Gregory the Great’s account on the most famous passage of their lives that happened during one of these meetings!
SAINT SCHOLASTICA (thoughtful, entering with sisters): Sisters, I do have a funny feeling about the meeting with my brother today...
BENEDICTINE SISTER 1: What is it, Mother?
BENEDICTINE SISTER 2: What is the problem?
SAINT SCHOLASTICA: I will keep it to myself for now...
SAINT BENEDICT(entering with monks): Good day, dearest sister, are we ready to confer on spiritual matters of our monasteries?
BENEDICTINE MONK 1: Father Saint Benedict has been happy since the early morning! BENEDICTINE MONK 2: Just because today he would meet with you!
(Saint Benedict and Scholastica stand on center stage as if talking, hands and mouths moving as if discussing things, monks behind him hands in prayer, sisters behind her, hands in prayer.)
(Before Scholastica says next line, monks and sisters leave from opposite sides of stage, praying)
SAINT SCHOLASTICA: My brother, I have this strange feeling that this is our last opportunity to see each other on this earth...

SAINT BENEDICT: Don’t be silly, dear sister!
SAINT SCHOLASTICA: My brother, I ask you, spend the evening here, in conversation with me!
SAINT BENEDICT (sternly) I refuse it! I cannot wish to break my own rule by spending a night away from Monte Cassino.
SAINT SCHOLASTICA: (Crying voice, hands in prayer, looking up) Oh dear God, listen to my request, and please have my brother stay the night!
NARRATOR: As the saint prayed, God sent a terrific storm to the land!
(Monks and sisters enter from opposite sides of stage, carrying storm clouds and lightning bolts, shaking them, loud sounds of storm are heard)
NARRATOR 1: The violent rain and hail came in such a torrential downpour that Benedict and his companions were unable to depart.
BENEDICT: May Almighty God forgive you, sister, for what you have done.
SCHOLASTICA: I asked a favor of you, and you refused it. (With emphasis, Looking up to heaven, enter stage): I asked it of God, and He has granted it! (Monks and nuns clap and say “Wahoo”!)
NARRATOR 2: The miracle of the storm wrought by the prayers of Saint Scholastica became the most famous passage of her Life. Shortly after their meeting Benedict had a vision of her soul ascending to heaven and he knew that indeed she had departed this life.
Benedict still lived along life and he has been called the Father of Western Monasticism as he was the first to live and organize what has been the Church’s model monastic life since then, fifteen hundred years ago!
NARRATORS 1 and 2 (together): We hope you all have enjoyed the story of these two famous TWIN SAINTS!!

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