4 January in the Roman Martyrology (2005): Who is #11?

Let’s have a glance at the 2005 Martyrologium Romanum for this day, 4 January. 

Well… not all the entries… just #11.

11. Emmetsburgi in Terra Mariae e Civitatibus Foederatis Americae Septentrionalis, santae Elisabeth Annae Seton, quae, vidua effecta, fidem catholicam professa est et puellis instituendis necnon pauperibus pueris alendis cum Sororibus a Caritate Sancti Ioseph, quarum Congregationem fundavit, sollertem dedit operam.

Who wants to take a stab at the Latin and give us your own flawless version!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. joe says:

    OK. Here are my translation — be kind, I was educated by Jesuits* in the late 1970s — on this entry:

    “In Emmitsburg, in Maryland of the United States of North (?) America, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who, having widowed, professed the Catholic faith and gave instruction to girls and also [gave] raising (upbringing?) to poor boys with the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph, which Congregation she founded, [and with which] she gave ingenious [skilled?] care.”



    * Granted, these were renegade-ly orthodox Jesuits, but still.

  2. Irenaeus says:

    Of Emmetsburg, in Maryland, the seventh of the United States of America, Saint Elisabeth Anne Seton, who, vidua effecta, professed Catholic faith … Oh I give up. My Latin is rusty. But here’s what the ICEL would do:

    Elisabeth Anne Seton, a nice woman who believed in God, did some good things for poor boys and so we think of her and feel good about ourselves.

  3. Marc says:

    (V amusing, Irenaeus.)

  4. August says:

    At Emmestburg in Maryland from the Northern parts of the United States of America
    Saint Elisabeth Anna Seton, who, with having been widowed,
    professed the Catholic Faith and with established [schools?] for girls and also feeding boys
    With the Sisters from the Charity of the St. Joseph, of which she founded a congregation,
    gave skilled service.

  5. RC says:

    11. Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, of Emmitsburg, Maryland, in the United States of America, who, having been widowed, professed the Catholic faith and worked skillfully to educate poor girls and boys, with the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, whose Congregation she founded.

  6. David says:

    At Emmitsburg [locative] in Maryland in the United States of North America, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who, after she was widowed, confessed the Catholic Faith and worked tirelessly to educate girls and to nourish poor children with the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, whose Congregation she founded.

  7. W. Schrift says:

    At Emmetsburg in Maryland in [lit. from] the United States of North America, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, who, having been widowed [lit. made a widow], professed the Catholic faith and paid expert attention to girls to be educated as well as poor boys to be fed,* with the Sisters of Charity of Saint Joseph, whose congregation she established.

    *I must admit I’m flummoxed by the use of the gerundive in the “puellis instituendis…” I have assumed it’s to convey something like the sense that those girls were just begging to be educated!

  8. Seth says:

    Re W. Shrift:

    on “puellis instituendis” – this is an entirely regular (and Classical) use of the gerundive as basically a passive participle: Latin prefers to say ‘paid attention to girls being trained’ rather than ‘to training girls’ (i.e. with a gerund + direct object). For example, “bello gerendo” is the standard way of saying ‘by waging war’, not “bellum gerendo”.

  9. Seminarian says:

    Here is my best try at a literal translation:

    In Emmitsburg, in the Land of Mary [Maryland], a state of the Federated States of North America [USA], Saint [lit. Holy] Elisabeth Anne Seton who, having been widowed, professed the Catholic Faith and worked with great skill at the [task of] instructing girls and also nourishing impoverished boys [and girls] within [lit. with] the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, a Congregation which she founded.

    Here is a more “English” translation:

    In Emmitsburg, Maryland, USA, St. Elizabeth Anne Seton who, after having been widowed, professed the Catholic Faith and worked skilfully at educating girls and feeding impoverished children as a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, which she founded.

    ICEL Version ???:

    In Emmitsburg, MD, USA, Elizabeth (“Liz”) Seton. She was widowed, became a Christian, and spent the rest of her life teaching girls and feeding kids as a “Sis of Charity”, a nun in the religious congregation she founded.

  10. Truman says:

    I am out of my league here: both the literal and substantive translations have been done far better than I could.

  11. Megan says:

    Truman, I’m with you there – I’m working on my Latin, got a “gisted” translation done before reading, and was on the right track, but not for the literal translation part ;-)

    Seminarian – LOL!!!!!!!!! Love the ICEL Version. Sis of Charity. Tee hee.

  12. Geo F. says:

    Seminarian :

    Woe betide you if you call a (liberal)sister a nun !
    I guess in pre-Vat.II times all women were nuns, after the council sisters are those who work out in the world, whereas nuns are cloistered.

    I worked at a ‘catholic’ high school and the principal (a liberal ‘sister’)made sure that you knew the difference !

  13. Geo F. says:


    I guess in pre-Vat.II times all women religious were nuns

  14. Maureen says:

    The same thing was true before Vatican II. After Vatican II, certain sisters became touchy about it.

  15. “Of Emmetsburg, in Maryland, the seventh of the United States of America, Saint Elisabeth Anne Seton, who, vidua effecta, professed Catholic faith … Oh I give up. My Latin is rusty. But here’s what the ICEL would do:

    Elisabeth Anne Seton, a nice woman who believed in God, did some good things for poor boys and so we think of her and feel good about ourselves.”

    Nice..I guess I recognized it was about Elizabeth Ann Seton, and not St Joseph, but context, but my latin is REALLY bad.

    It truly is a catch 22 that nuns dont want to be called nuns… Thats like wanting to leave out “Catholic” when describing one’s self.

  16. Remember the Martyrs of the Holy Land says:

    News from the Latin Patriarchate

    Statement by the Patriarchs and Heads
    of the Churches in Jerusalem
    On the current devastating situation in Gaza
    We, the Patriarchs, Bishops and the Heads of Christian Churches in Jerusalem, follow with deep concern, regret, and shock the war currently raging in the Gaza Strip and the subsequent destruction, murder and bloodshed, especially at a time when we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the King of love and peace.

    As we express our deep sorrow at the renewed cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians and the continued absence of peace in our Holy Land, we denounce the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip and all forms of violence and killings from all parties. We believe that the continuation of this bloodshed and violence will not lead to peace and justice but breed more hatred and hostility – and thus continued confrontation between the two peoples.

    Accordingly, we call upon all officials of both parties to the conflict to return to their senses and refrain from all violent acts, which only bring destruction and tragedy, and urge them instead to work to resolve their differences through peaceful and non-violent means.

    We also call upon the international community to fulfill its responsibilities and intervene immediately and actively stop the bloodshed and end all forms of confrontation; to work hard and strong to put an end to the current confrontation and remove the causes of conflict between the two peoples; and to finally resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a just and comprehensive solution based on international resolutions.

    To the various Palestinian factions we say: It is time to end your division and settle your differences. We call on all factions at this particular time to put the interests of the Palestinian people above personal and factional interests and to move immediately toward national comprehensive reconciliation and use all non-violent means to achieve a just and comprehensive peace in the region.

    Finally, we raise our prayers to the Child in the manger to inspire the authorities and decision makers on both sides, the Israelis and Palestinians, for immediate action to end the current tragic situation in the Gaza Strip. We pray for the victims, the wounded and the broken-hearted. May the Lord God Almighty grant all those who have lost loved ones consolation and patience. We pray for all those living in panic and fear, that God may bless them with calm, tranquility and true peace.

    We call on all to observe next Sunday, January 4, as a day for justice and peace in the land of peace.
    + Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
    + Patriarch Fuad Twal, Latin Patriarchate.
    + Patriarch Torkom II, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate.
    Fr. Pier Battista Pizzaballa, ofm, Custody of the Holy Land
    + Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate.
    + Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate.
    + Abune Matthias, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
    + Archbishop Paul Nabil Sayyah, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate.
    + Bishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem & the Middle East.
    + Bishop Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan & the Holy Land.
    + Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
    + Bishop Youssef Zre’i, Greek Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate.
    Fr. Raphael Minassian, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate

    Jerusalem on 30 December 2008

  17. joe says:

    My understanding is that all cloistered women religious were, technically, nuns; otherwise they were Sisters.

    Can anyone shed light on this?



  18. Geo. F. says:


    I understand this to be correct.
    Both are addressed, and continue to be addressed as “Sister”.
    Many religious congregations re-wrote their religious constitutions after the concil, and maybe here is where the distinction became more pronounced.
    God bless the sisters and the nuns !

  19. Rob in Maine says:

    In Emmetsburg, in Maryland, out of the League of Northern American States, Saint Elizabeth Anne Seaton, who completely bereft [of a husband?], the catholic faith having professed and for girls establishing [?] and also feeding poor boys with the Sisters of Charity of St Joseph, the congregation which she founded, gave skilled care.

    I’m with W Schrift on the gerundive. Thank you Seth for your comments and thank you Father! I look forward to these exercises to “exercise” my brain.

    A professor of mine once said concerning French, “You can read French. You’ve had a couple years and know how to use a dictionary.”

  20. Tom in NY says:

    “The remembrance (understood) of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, of Emmitsburg, Maryland, USA. After she lost her husband, she professed the Catholic faith. She brought up and educated poor children with the congregation she founded, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph.”
    “Sollers opera instituenda” seems more than a school, perhaps a modern Latinism for “orphanage” or “charity school” — compare the social service works of Nelson Baker in Lackawanna, NY. The key seems to be “sollers” and “tueor.”
    Regards as always.

  21. Kevin says:

    At Emmetsburg in Maryland, USA, Saint Elisabeth Ann Seton: who, having become a widow, professed the Catholic faith and worked devotedly for the training and caring of poor girls and boys with the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph, whose congregation she founded.

  22. Kevin says:

    As to nuns vs. sisters: technically, the term “nun” is used in English to refer to those in “solemn” vows, while “religious sister” refers to those under “simple vows”. As far as I know, the term “nun” only can be accurately applied in the US to “Visitation nuns”; this was true twenty years ago, and I am not aware of the Church recognizing any other US foundation’s vows as “solemn” since then. This is, of course, “canonically-speaking,” as the terms are interchangeable in common parleance.

  23. Charivari Rob says:


    There was a discussion related to this recently over on the Catholic Online Forum (http://forum.catholic.org/viewtopic.php?f=62&t=53683 (don’t worry about the thread title, it’ll make sense)). There are several orders of nuns present in the US, including the Poor Clares and the Discalced Carmelites.

    Is there some other distinction that was missed in that conversation?

  24. Fr. Aidan Logan, O.C.s.o. says:

    Yes, Fr. Kevin is correct. The English word Nun derives from the Latin Nonna (feminine) and Nonnus (masculine), affectionate terms for one’s mother or father that became synonymous in patristic literature with what we mean by Monk and Nun. Religious women in simple vows and active outside a cloister are a modern (19th-20th Century) phenomenon. The traditional vocabulary was applied in common parlance to all women religious, especially because the vast majority of these sisters wore a more or less traditional religious habit. Especially in America, most lay people had no contact with or real concept of cloistered nuns. When I was a boy in the 1950’s and well before Vatican II the Dominican Sisters who taught in our parochial school (in their beautiful Dominican habits) were insistent that we not refer to them as nuns. They explained to us many times that Dominica Nuns were cloistered and did not teach in schools. All the orders of men in Solemn Vows (except the Jesuits) have a corresponding branch of women in Solemn Vows: Benedictines, Cistercians, Carthusians, Norbertines, Augustinians, Franciscans, Carmelites, Knights of Malta, etc. With the exception of orders of Canons (where the women are called Canonesses) all these women are called nuns, even if their male counterparts are not monks, but friars or knights. These orders may also have, though not necessarily, congregations of religious sisters in simple vows (with or without a religious habit) associated with them.

  25. Kevin says:

    Charivari Rob:
    Living in a “monastery” does not make vows “solemn” or “simple”; it is the Church that recognizes them as such. This is a canonical distinction and, unfortunately, I don’t have my trusty CIC here at work to cite the proper canon. Some twenty years ago, only the vows of Sisters of the Visitation were recognized by the Church as solemn, among American communities; matters not whether enclosed or not, but whether the vows are recognized as such. Sicut dixi, there may have been some determination since then, but I keep a close eye on things like that (ecclesiatical legislation et talia) yet it may have escaped my notice. Yet this highlights the inexact status of English nomenclature of women religious. Some use “sister” and nun” interchangeably; others distinguish by enclosure. But the traditional distinction (at least canonically) has been the recognition of religious vows as simple or solemn by the Church per se.

  26. Andreas says:

    I wonder if all modern Latin English dictionaries are weak on providing a good rendition of “sollers” and “sollertia”. For instance, Columella in De Re Rustica has a sentence: “anser … sollertiorem custodiam quam canis praebet” – that is “a goose is “sollertior” a guard than a dog”. He says that because a goose wakes up when a dog might sleep and never notice a quite intruder. But none of the translations of “sollers” found in dictionaries (clever, skillful, ingenious) can be used to provide a satisfactory translation of Columella’s sentence. Vigilant, diligent, might apply, but the dictionary does not provide that possibility. Isn’t it true that “dictionaries are not infallible”?

    The word “sollers” appears in some Vat. II documents (sacrosanctum concilium being one of them) and the English translation of “sollers” is always curious, at best. E.g. no. 118 has: “Cantus popularis religiosus sollerter foveatur” which is rendered as “Religious singing by the people is to be intelligently fostered.” Who talkes like that? Intelligently fostered? Isn’t it diligently fostered?

  27. Joe says:

    so how does the National Coalition of American Nuns (http://www.ncan.us/) fit in here?

  28. tradone says:

    I’d say they are nuns in name only and don’t fit in anywhere worthwhile.
    Time for prayers.

Comments are closed.