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Classical Languages

Department Overview

Mr. Thomas Carroll
Fair Family Chair of Classical Languages

The Department of Classical Languages provides a course of study integral and fundamental to the mission of Saint Louis Priory School “to provide a Benedictine, Catholic, college preparatory education of the highest excellence so as to help talented and motivated young men develop their full potential as children of God.”

The Latin language is the official language of the Catholic Church, the Greek language that of her New Testament scripture.  The propagation of these two languages, therefore, is a matter of intrinsic and vital concern to her (cf. Veterum Sapientia).  The Latin language is inextricably woven into the fabric of the Benedictine tradition, being the language of its founding documents and of its tradition of prayer (indeed, the Benedictine congregations have been specially charged with its preservation and cultivation; cf. Sacrificium Laudis).  The work of the Benedictines through the centuries has been vital to the transmission and propagation of Latin and Greek literature; the utility of the study of this literature to their spiritual way has ensured that they must ever devote significant attention to it.  The careful attention to the weight of individual words and phrases required by the study of Latin and Greek is particularly conducive to the Benedictine way of meditation (lectio divina) and to a more conscious and attentive participation in the sacred liturgy.  Because of its role in refining the mind and as a medium of prayer, Latin constitutes, as it were, an anchor of our community.  As a Catholic and Benedictine school, it is our obligation to pass down to our students a knowledge of the Latin and Greek languages and of their literatures.

As preparation for higher studies, instruction in the Greek and Latin languages is unsurpassed. The bulk of our English intellectual vocabulary is derived from Latin and Greek roots.  The structures of our intellectual writing are largely based on Latin and Greek models.  It is through the medium of these two languages in particular that the intellectual inheritance of our civilization has been developed, codified, and transmitted.  The advantages which knowledge of these languages offers students taking the tests necessary for admission to undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs are well-documented, as are the benefits to those who pursuing such professions as law or medicine.

The Department of Classical Languages currently offers five years of instruction in Latin (the first three of which are required of all students) culminating either in AP Latin or in Latin V (for those students who prefer to continue their study of Latin outside the context of preparation for the AP exam). Beginning in Latin II, Latin courses are offered in both standard and honors sections, allowing students to receive instruction more tailored to their individual aptitudes and interests.  The department also offers, on an elective basis, three years of ancient Greek – two years of the Attic dialect (which students may elect in lieu of the course offerings in Fine Arts) and one of New Testament Greek (under the aegis of the Department of Theology).


Faculty Members Course Assignments, 2018-19
Mr. Thomas Carroll, Fair Family Chair of Classical Languages Latin I, Latin II, Latin III, Latin IV Honors
Dr. Brian Apicella Latin II, Latin III Honors, Latin IV Honors, Greek II
Father Cuthbert Elliott, O.S.B., '02 New Testament Greek
Dr. Patrick Owens Latin II, Latin III, Latin IV, Latin V
Mr. Dennis Toscano Latin I, Latin II Honors, Latin III, AP Latin, Greek I

“Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.”

Prologue, 1

“This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it, and faithfully put it into practice.”

Prologue, 1

“First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.”

Prologue, 4

“If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim. (Ps 33[34]:13)”

Prologue, 17

“Clothed then with faith and the performance of good works, let us set out on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may deserve to see him who has called us to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12).”

Prologue, 21

“If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive unless we run there by doing good deeds.”

Prologue, 22

“What is not possible to us by nature, let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.”

Prologue, 41

“Therefore, we intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.”

Prologue, 45

“The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love.”

Prologue, 47

“The reason why we have said all should be called for counsel is that the Lord often reveals what is better to the younger.”

Chapter 3, 3

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else.”

Chapter 4, 20-21

“Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” –Chapter 4, 25-26

“Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false, but speak the truth with heart and tongue.”

Chapter 4, 27-28

“Place your hope in God alone.”

Chapter 4, 41

“Respect the elders and love the young.”

Chapter 4, 70-71

“Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. “

Chapter 4, 72

“If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down.”

Chapter 4, 73

“The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.”

Chapter 5, 1-2

“Speaking and teaching are the master’s task; the disciple is to be silent and listen.”

Chapter 6, 6

“The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes (PS 35[36]:2) and never forgets it.”

Chapter 7, 10

“Let us consider, then, how we ought to behave in the presence of God and his angels, and let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

Chapter 19, 6-7

“On arising for the Work of God, they will quietly encourage each other, for the sleepy like to make excuses.”

Chapter 22, 8

“Every age and level of understanding should receive appropriate treatment.”

Chapter 30, 1

“Above all, let him be humble. If goods are not available to meet a request, he will offer a kind word in reply, for it is written: A kind word is better than the best gift (Sir 18:17).”

Chapter 31, 13-14

“Let all the rest serve one another in love.”

Chapter 35, 6

“Indeed, nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God.”

Chapter 43, 3

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore, the brothers should have specified periods for manual labor as well as for prayerful reading.”

Chapter 48, 1

“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”

Chapter 49, 1

“All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35).”

Chapter 53, 1

“Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims.”

Chapter 53, 2

“(B)ecause wherever we may be, we are in the service of the same Lord and doing battle for the same King.”

Chapter 61, 10

They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10).”

Chapter 63, 17

“We wish this rule to be read often in the community, so that none of the brothers can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

Chapter 66, 8

“Trusting in God’s help, he must in love obey.”

Chapter 68, 5

Never to do another what you do not want done to yourself (Tob 4:16).”

Chapter 70, 7

“No one is to pursue what he judges better for himself, but instead, what he judges better for someone else.”

Chapter 72, 7

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.”

Chapter 72, 11-12

“What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life?”

Chapter 73, 3

“What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator?”

Chapter 73, 4


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Saint Louis Priory School

500 South Mason Road
St. Louis, MO 63141
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