Buy PDF version from CUA Press.

ad mentem reginaldi rationemque

according to the thought and
system of reginald

Preview in Google Books
Enjoy this video of Reggie speaking about the OSSA book.

If video of Reggie and Dan does not appear, watch it here on YouTube.

from the authors’ introduction 

… The following pages are the meager result of over forty years of helping people to grow fast and solidly in the knowledge and use and appreciation of Latin…

Therefore, the objective of these pages is to get people into immediate contact with and understanding, love, and use of the entire Latin language in all its literary types and periods of time and authors. Personal practice has been that, by eliminating terminology and all kinds of preambles to the language and literature, people can have access immediately to real solid, natural Latin, which they can then imitate and use and find in these infinite authors and works of Latin in the world.

So the emphasis will be on what things mean, not on what they are called; on how the language functions, not on some sort of artificial rules it allegedly follows. Concentration will be directed to the immediate practice of Latin and the natural learning of it by means of a self-teaching approach which maintains contact with real solid Latin that has existed in this world for all this time.

Some approaches to Latin are far too slow because the learner is held back from genuine Latin for too long a time, because the learner is burdened with the baggage of terminology and irrelevant questions and subtitles, because the impression given is that of schemas, forms, and regulations that you need to master before you see the real language. And that is why any method which does not take on the language from the very first day is in all probability a tremendous waste of time, and, what is worse, it creates a false idea or perception of what Latin actually is.

On the other hand there are programs which are too fast in the sense that teachers or proponents of Latin think that by jamming in patterns of nouns and verbs and anything else you want, and by memorizing nonsense syllables quickly and blindly and superficially, the language is being learned or absorbed or lived out with joy and pleasure.

So on the one hand some people are going too slowly, because they are not dealing with true Latin but with stories, made-up sentences, false examples of Latin. On the other side some are being pushed through a nightmare of grammar talk and lists and forms, and so forth…

The book is clearly divided into “Experiences” large and small, not lessons, because we are not going to be working with a dead substance but sensing Latin grow inside of us, as we ourselves grow in our mastery and love of it. They are Experiences because, as we move along, it all just gets richer and fuller and more magnificent with time. No one ever decided or could determine what a first or second or third lesson is supposed to do in Latin, but people might want to say that they just have come to know Latin and to love it and to have had this living experience of this human language without breaking it down into artificial lessons.

We have here five bigger “Experiences,” which include various degrees or levels of learning.

The First Experience is the initial exposure to the nature and workings of Latin, especially in word position, verbs, and nouns through daily contact with genuine Latin texts.

The Second Experience is the immediate application of preliminary training through speaking activities, which run concurrently with all other experiences.

The Third Experience is the second grade of immersion into Latin realities.

The Fourth Experience is the final, third cycle of Latin assimilation and the end of the systematic language treatment.

The Fifth Experience is the open-ended, limitless familiarization and further enjoyment of Latin fine points and literary pieces of all times in all fullness…

Reading sheets: The objective is to touch on the whole Latin language in its uses and transformations during the various periods of literature. Every year, be it in the summer sessions or the annual ones, a different packet of Latin authors representing every age of Latin literature is supplied in the classroom to each participant. They are nothing but photocopies of real Latin texts as they exist in books and libraries, which are used by the teacher or self-instructor to find examples to use for filling out the skeleton presentation given in these pages. In addition, the teacher or self-instructor can get his or her own readings. The teacher is advised to find different authors each year so that the encounter with the Latin language may remain fresh and challenging. Collections of readings from past years remain in circulation among class participants, and one year’s edition is added partly at the end of each Experience in this book.

Ludi domestici = home games: As the emphasis in classroom teaching is placed on the student’s own practical self-teaching, exercises or personal projects called ludi domestici are given twice a week to confirm the learning of new material and repetition of old material. These assignments are corrected and reviewed in class together. Suggestions are always welcome and accepted and discussed with the students…

Consequently, this book is one-third of a certain kind of method, because it gives the theory. It also provides a second third, the original Latin sources so that the teacher can directly implement the theory in his or her classroom. The final third, the ludi domestici are not provided here, because we encourage the teachers to compose these. With the ludi the students teach themselves the Latin language, and they review them together in class. Collections of reading sources with ludi are already in informal circulation and our own collection of Ludi are in preparation for an accompanying volume number four to this one.

Our approach here to the Latin language deals with the essence or OSSA of the same language and is directed toward the essentials. There is only one essential reference book which the students must have in class and at home as a companion to everything presented here. That essential reference book is a complete Latin dictionary for the simple reason that, as we shall see, the language is presented and taught out of the dictionary, not out of any grammar book or manual textbook…

The explanations of the Experiences and the encounters given in this book are practically a transcription or dictation taken from the classroom oral dialogue. For that reason its language may appear on the lighter side, but should be more lively and accessible, and, as our colleague James Leachman said in his own introduction, it makes for good reading on the beach, while being deadly serious about the fullness and subtleties, the richness and glories of our perennial Latin language.

Reginaldus Thomas Foster and Daniel Patricius McCarthy 


First Experience 

1. Ossium Gluten: Sententiarum Latinarum Ordo = Exitus Et Vocabula. Signa Personarum In Verbis
the Bones’ Glue: the structure of Latin sentences = terminations and vocabulary. signs of persons in verbs

2. asinus—capra—vehiculum. Duplex Principium In Neutris Supremum
Block I nouns. super double principle in neuters

3. Personarum Pronomina. Et—Ac—Atque; Et . . . Et; –Que . . . –Que
pronouns of persons. conjunctions: and, also, even; both . . . and; both . . . and

4. Trapezita, Ae; Socer, Eri; Honestus, A, Um; Liber, Era, Erum
variations In Block I Nouns. adjectives of block I

… [over the course of three academic years]

105. Serioris Latinitatis proprietates
characteristics of later Latin literature

about the authors

FR. REGINALDUS THOMAS FOSTER OCD is a Discalced Carmelite priest from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For forty years a papal Latinist and professor of the Latin language, he is renowned for his unique pedagogical method and presentation of the living Latin language. His long experience of the Latin language and dedication to teaching have made his clear presentation of Latin the standard method of teaching the language directly and without jargon or confusing terminology. In 2010 the University of Notre Dame in Indiana recognized Reginaldus Legum Doctor honoris causa for his contribution to the field of Latin studies. Reginald continues to teach Latin for free in Milwaukee throughout the year and during summer school every June and July.

FR. DANIEL PATRICIUS McCARTHY OSB is a monk of St Benedict’s Abbey, Atchison, Kansas. His study of the Latin language concurrent with his doctoral study of liturgy in Rome led to his collaboration as assistant and eventual colleague with Reginald. He wrote weekly commentaries on the prayers of the liturgy with original English translations published in The Tablet of London, England, from 2006 through 2011. With Dom James Leachman he is co-founder of the project Appreciating the Liturgy and of the teaching and research Institutum Liturgicum, Ealing, England, where he teaches the Latin language and liturgy; and serves as co-editor of the publication project Documenta rerum ecclesiasticarum instaurata, with the series Liturgiam Aestimare: Appreciating the Liturgy. He serves as a guest professor of the Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium, and on the editorial board Questions Liturgiques: Studies in Liturgy. He also serves as a liturgical consultant for building and renovating churches. In February 2016 he began to teach on the faculty of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy, Rome, by offering courses on the Latin expression and theological meaning of short prayers of the liturgy. He also serves as an advisor to the Vox clara committee of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Bibliographic entry:

Foster, R.T. – D.P. McCarthy, Ossa Latinitatis sola ad mentem Reginaldi rationemque: The Mere Bones of Latin according to the thought and system of Reginald (Latinitatis corpus 1), Catholic University of America Press, Washington DC 2016.

  • ISBN-10: 0813228328
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813228327



Purchase the PDF version of Ossa from CUA Press here.

Leuven, Belgium:

Maria Theresiastraat 2-4
Postadres: Blijde Inkomststraat 22
B-3000 Leuven
T: +32 (0)16 62 80 73

Peeters Publishers
Bondgenotenlaan 153
B-3000 Leuven
E-mail: peeters@peeters-leuven.be
fax: +32-16-22 85 00
phone: +32-16-23 51 70


Order online – link here:
St. Benedict’s Abbey
1020 N 2nd St.
Atchison, KS 66002, USA.
by phone: +1 (913) 360-7906
OR: visit the Monastery Gift Shop in person. We accept Visa and MasterCard.


Pauline Multimedia
Via del Mascherino, 94, Roma

UK: London …

Note: prices subject to change.

$39.95 from the publisher: Catholic University of America Press, Washington, DC

$37.95 Amazon.com



Joseph Shaw, “Fr Reggie Foster and his book: Joseph Shaw bids farewell to the King of Catholic Latin”, Mass of Ages: The quarterly magazine of the Latin Mass Society, 208 (Summer 2021) 26-27. Joseph Shaw, chairman of the Latin Mass Society and Director of Studies in Philosophy at St Benet’s Hall, Oxford,  expresses his difficulty in taking seriously both the recently deceased author and this volume in his review which you may download here.

Mauritius Honegger, “Rezensionen”, Bulletin des Schweizerischen Altphilologenverbands SAV/ASPC/ASFC 96 (2020) 45-46 accessed online on 25 January 2021 at: link.

2021. Day, Jonathan, “On Reginald Foster’s Latin”, PrayTell: Worship, Wit & Wisdom (3 January 2021) accessed online on 4 January 2021 at: link. Article provides a deeper assessment of the teaching method of Reginald.

Paul Gwynne, Review, Bryn Mawr Classical Review (31 August 2018) available here. Perhaps the reviewer gives too much credit to my classroom notes, which were not used, but not enough attention to the living voice of Reginald Foster who contributed to every aspect of the Ossa volume. The best way to save the humanities includes clearly understanding and teaching the Latin language well. For the past 8 years we have been using drafts of these volumes to teach Latin in London over three summer sessions corresponding to the first, third and fourth experience.  Already Ossa and the ludi are being adapted for teaching secondary school and classics students: Laura Pooley attended Reggie’s courses in 1996-1997 and has since used her class notes and ludi to teach secondary and classics students. She has begun developing workbooks for the three experiences for other teachers.

Aurelio Porfiri, “Il Puntatore. Latin Lover”, Campari & de Maistre: La serietà non è una virtù, posted on 26 July 2018.

Gergely Bakos – Lúcia Petres, “Recenziók”, Sapientiana, (2018:1), table of contents here. The review Sapientiana is produced by the Sapientia College of Theology, Budapest, Hungary, a joint institution of three religious orders the Benedictines (OSB), the Friars Minor (OFM) and Piarists (SchP) (source: Rector’s welcome).

Chad, the last to post in this thread speaks about learning Latin with Ossa as an auto-didact.

Cragius: a studen of Reggie’s Latin course in Milwaukee talks about how to use the Ossa book in this posting.

Paul V. Mankowski, S.J., “Dem Bones”, First Things (June 2018) accessed online on 13 May 2018 at this web-page.

Cyril Jenkins, “Blogging My Way Through the Semester (without using any names)”, Lumen Christi (posted 14 January 2018) accessible online here(then scroll down).

Joe Bollig, “Keeping Latin Alive”, The Leaven (newspaper of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas) (6 June 2014), accessible online here. This is an article about the Latin week Reginald offered in Atchison, Kansas.

Daniel Lattier, “How to Actually Learn Latin”, Intellectual Takeout: A refuge for rational discourse, online publication accessible here.

Michael Fontaine, “That’s Latin!”, Hack Your Latin, media.com, published online here.

Sean Otto, “Review”, Reviews in Religion and Theology 24:4 (4 October 2017) 695-97, published online here.

S. Macdonald, “Brief Review: Ossa Latinitatis Sola: Encounter 1”, The PatrologistGreek and Latin ex fontibus pro populo, a blog available here.

Patrick J. Burns, “Latin Einstein on the Beach”, The University Bookman (9 April 2017) accessed by this link.

John Byron Kuhner, “The Vatican’s Latinist: On the career of Reginald Foster”, The New Criterion 35:7 (March 2017) accessed by this link.

“What is the Best Way to Learn Latin?”, Eidolon (9 February 2017) accessed from this link.

The Amazon.com book reviews by verified purchasers are available.

“Inspirational educator, the Rev. Reginald Foster is a master classicist who has devoted his life to saving Latin from extinction.” – The New York Times

“One of the world’s foremost scholars in Latin.” – BBC News

“Foster is the Vatican’s leading expert on Latin – expert enough to be charged with the official translation of papal documents into what was until 40 years ago the official language of the church.” – USA Today

“Father Reginald Foster, considered by many the worlds finest Latinist . . . and one of the Vatican’s most colorful characters.” – Catholic News Service

The OSSA book was mentioned on EWTN Live with Fr. Mitch Packwa, which is available courtesy of EWTN Global Network, at this link on YouTube or in the folloiwng video beginning at minute 51:11:


A book presentation was held by the Latin School of Chicago in collaboration with teh Paideia Institute on 1 December 2016.

A book presentation was sponsored by the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy, Sant’Anselmo in the Spring of 2017.

A Justor record has been created for the volume.


If you note any corrections that should be made to the text of Ossa Latinitatis Sola, please submit your suggestion by clicking on the email icon at the top of this page or by sending an email to this address:

Corrections will be posted below by page number, along with appearent errors that are not to be corrected.

Page n, line n. Change: xxx to: xxx

Page 143, in the text: inter flexit,
change: inter
to: iter

Page 173, in the text: ct tumulantur
change: ct
to: et

Page 225, in the text: oratione ct,
change: ct
to: et

Page 234,

Page 245
In the heading at the top of the page

Page 263, in the chart at the top of the page, the last word “better” should not be aligned with the third fourth column. Rather it should follow immediately after satius.
satius,                       better
satius, better

Page 394, in the text from Acts of the Apostles 13:12-17: incipiente autem Paulo aperire, os dixit Gallio ad Iudaeos

  1. capitalize: Incipiente
  2. omit the comma after: aperire
  3. add a comma after: aperire os

Page 416, in the text: vineas celerius,
change: vineas
to: vincas

Page 567, in the text: at is point
change: is
to: this

Page 781, change: taschenbuch to: Taschenbuch
Page 791, change: taschenbuch to: Taschenbuch
Page 794, change: taschenbuch to: Taschenbuch
Page 796, change: taschenbuch to: Taschenbuch

Page 787,
change heading from: The indexes appear on page 787-826


Page 827, in the following add the word: of
change: editorial board Questions
to: editorial board of Questions

New correction 30 January 2019:

p. 546 The presentation of the material from Gildersleeve and Lodge number 642 given at the bottom of Ossa page 546 should have one adjustment. The words in the left column: ita, sic should be moved down one line so that they are on the same line as: ut, uti, sicut, tamquam off tot he right. Leave the now blank row between the two large parentheses.

p 245
Note: in 1767 Mozart was twelve years old when wrote the music for this little play, but in 2001 Maurus Pisini translated the text into Latin and published it in the magazine Latinitas, which was the source from which we took this text, thus the reference [2001 CE]

New corrections 10 June 2021:

Page 494: Replace the second full paragraph: By the way … antecedent action.”
Replace the second full paragraph with the following paragraph:
By the way the Romans preferred to use the verb dicerentur personally so that its subject, here qui, is also the subject of the infinitive recepisse whose object is the reflexive se, as in our rendering “who were being reported as having transferred themselves,” rather than using the impersonal form of the verb diceretur, “it was reported,” accompanied by the object and inf., quos . . . recepisse, “whom it was reported to have transferred themselves,” where se remains the object of the infinitive se recepisse, “to have withdrawn,” “to have retreated”.

Page 581: Add to the paragraph ending: in T.4s as investigavisses.
Add the following: in T.4s as investigavisses. We can test this by following the sequence of tenses. The main verb adfirmant in T.1i establishes the sentence on Track I which produces te intellexisse, expressing a previous action. Next, te intellexisse is set in the past and so establishes Track II for the rest of the sentence, which produces either si investigares if the two events occur at the same time or si investigavisses if this action is prior to intellexisse

Page 581: There is a misalignment of the examples given at the top of the page. I have highlighted the correct placements in the following examples in the following image:

Share Button