w i t h Re g g ie by Fr. D aniel McC ar thy
As the sixth of seven children , I have seen my
brothers and sisters develop in their vocation of marriage, first as spouse, then as parent, next as professional, then as grandparent; our eldest is a widow now sharing loving memories of her husband with their adoring grandchildren, and we all have survived the passing of our parents. In each stage of life my siblings have come into a new identity to share in a fuller communion, ever generative, ever nurturing new life in all their developing capacities, while remaining true to one another and to their own vocations in marriage. It is curious then when people view the monastic vocation simply as becoming a member of a community. After the novelty wears off, the further question of what I shall do arises anew at different times in life. Like the marriages of my siblings, my monastic vocation also evolves in each stage of life. When I went to Rome to pursue advanced studies in liturgy, I had already studied the Latin language, but my proficiency exam did not go as well as hoped, so I decided to start over with the teacher I had just met, Father Reginald Foster, OCD, the papal Latinist who taught for free at the Gregorian University. Reggie was formidable, the lion king of Latin with a roar that demanded I acquiesce to a written contract issuing the conditions he required of me. I stuck with Reggie over the years, because he could lead me far into the understanding of language. After years of studying with Reggie, he took ill and lay in the Intensive Care Unit on Tiber Island, Rome. My colleague Father James Leachman, OSB, watched as the doctors applied electric shock to resuscitate him – twice. Life is precious, so I went daily and held up before him my translations of prayer texts, and from his limp body he groaned until I corrected them. We were both aware of his fragility, so we worked while he had yet life. We were becoming colleagues then, for our translations would be published weekly in The Tablet of London. When poor health eventually required him to return to Milwaukee, and I was planning my departure from Rome, I knew that the sadness of leaving such a beautiful, historic city of international reference would best be calmed by creating new contributions, so we decided to write together his method for teaching Latin. Reggie’s life-long work was to develop his own method of teaching the Latin language, which I could help preserve for future generations of students. Reggie’s gift lies in the immediate encounter with students and texts of Latin authors of every age, whereas my gift lies in an ability to explain things clearly in writing, preserving Reggie’s voice so personal, so fresh. I have been privileged to study with Reggie for years, to get to know him and let his voice sink in, and now to spend my energies presenting his life’s contribution to further generations of Latin students. Now that the first of five books is available, I have been asked the difficult question: why? Why did I spend the past six years of sustained consideration to bring this book to publication, spending nearly a year and a half in Milwaukee working with Reggie in person and more time from afar? The only answer, really, is my vocation, my calling. One element of monastic life set me apart among Reggie’s students: leisure. I do not mean lounging around during spring break or a life of luxury. Rather, leisure is the root of personal freedom to pursue the love of learning and the desire for God.
Ossa Latinitatis Sola the f irst v o l u m e f ro m Fr. D an i el & Fr. R e g i n al d Fo s te r i s av a il ab le no w at Ka nsa sm o n k s . o rg / sh o p other books including Fr. Daniel’s newest book Come into the Light also available!
Published on Dec 15, 2016
Published on Dec 15, 2016
In this issue of Kansas Monks we discuss our person encounter with Christ, we delve into Fr. Roderic's ministry in prisons, look back at Br....