On 25th December, Fr. Reginald Thomas Foster, Discalced Carmelite of the Province of Washington, died in St. Anne’s hospital in Milwaukee. He had been moved there eight days previously after testing positive for coronavirus and in addition to the care received in the hospital, his progress was monitored daily by Dr. Azcueta, the doctor in charge of health in the Province, since visits from religious were forbidden as he was in a ward designated for ‘COVID’.
There were no signs of pulmonary complications and he only had pharyngitis, together with a slight cough, so that it was hoped that he would overcome the illness. However, on Christmas Eve, he quickly took a grave turn for the worse, dying shortly after at precisely 12:34 AM.
Fr. Reginald, famous as a world expert in Latin language and literature, was born in Milwaukee on 14th November 1939, into a modest family of plumbers, of whom he was always very proud. From 1970 until his retirement in 2009, he worked in the Secretariat of the Vatican State, collaborating on texts and documents specifically in Latin. For 30 years, he was a professor at the Gregorian University and, furthermore, gave innumerable Latin courses and seminars in which he imparted his knowledge of the language and his revolutionary pedagogy, always tailored to the students, earning him their sincere affection. During his stay in Rome, he organised a programme for the study of the Latin language and knowledge of the city called Aestiva Romae Latinitas, totally free.
His classes were always very well attended and he continued to teach almost until his death.
In collaboration with Daniel Patricius McCarthy, he published a Latin teaching manual in 2016 (The Catholic University of America Press): Ossa Latinitatis Sola Ad Mentem Reginaldi Rationuemque (The Mere Bones of Latin According to the Thought and System of Reginald). It demonstrated his method of teaching, which not only sought to teach reading authentic Latin texts, but also to help the student write and speak the language.
In 2010, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana.
May Fr. Reginaldo Thomas Foster, OCD, rest in the peace of the Lord.