Unless you know Latin you’re probably baffled by most of the inscription on the statue of Notre Dame founder Edward Sorin, CSC, in front of the Main Quad.
Nearly 100 years after statue’s installation, even some people who know Latin are bewildered. The inscription reads:
Hoc in memoriam
Sup. Gen. C.S.C.
Nostrae Dominae Universitatis
Qui apostolicis Virtutibus Clarus
VIII ID. Feb. A.D. MDCCCXIV Natus
Discipuli, Alumni, Amici,
Some of the abbreviations are easy to guess. Sup(erioris) Gen(eralis) means Superior General, and “C.S.C.” is universally known by Domers as shorthand for Congregatio a Sancta Cruce or Congregation of Holy Cross. Some of the other initials are more obscure.
According to Daniel.J. Sheerin, professor of classics and theology, the “D.O.M.” at the beginning is short for deo optimo maximo or “To God, Greatest and Best” while “AN SAL REP” in the last line stands for anno salutis reparatae or “in the year of salvation regained.”
Here then is Sheerin’s complete translation:
To God, Greatest and Best.
In Memory of Edward Sorin,
Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Cross,
Founder of the University of Notre Dame,
who, renowned for apostolic virtues,
most zealous for American Catholic Education,
born February 6, 1814,
lived for 78 years and ten months,
students, alumni, and friends
have erected this pledge
of their respect and gratitude
in the year of salvation regained 1905.