Are St. Peter Canisius’ writings available in English?

By | July 16, 2011

Generally not. There is his Sum of Christian Doctrine printed in 1622 in English. Ok, technically it is A SUMME OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE composed in Latin, by the R. Father PETRUS CANISIUS, of the Society of Jesus.

Still, no English translation exists of his monumental work DE MARIA VIRGINE INCOMPARABILI ET DEI GENITRICE SACROSANCTA. I had thought this work in Latin was not available online, but I was (thankfully) wrong. It was, in fact, reprinted in Jean-Jacques Bourass√©’s monumental 12 volume work, Summa aurea de laudibus B. V. Mariae.

A link to volume 8 of the Summa Aurea which contains the first 4 books of the work: Summa Aurea Volume 8

Volume 9, which contains the fifth book, can be found at this link.

The quality of the scan of the text leaves something to be desired, and the OCR of the text has many, many errors. Still, if you type out a passage you want to translate and use Google Translate for a rough English translation, you at least have a start.

Here is an example I created. In a section where St. Peter Canisius deals with the accusation of Jesus being harsh with His mother when he is found in the temple, here is (roughly) part of what St. Peter says:

“He did not allow them to suffer for three days out of contempt, but because of love and honor of the sovereign Father, he remained in the temple, and gave this example in accordance with teaching others a method of more perfect obedience, and eventually it is, as it were, a prelude to the teaching in public after the baptism, which gave glory to the eternal Father.”

The Latin original:
Hac oratione Christus puer exponit parentibus, cur minus admirari debeant, quod ipse in urbe Hierosolymitana hoc triduo manserit, illos vero in quaerendo permiserit sollicite et anxie laborare. Subindicat etiam, se ex nullo illorum contemptu, sed ob amorem et honorem summi Patris in templo remansisse, quodque hoc exemplo velit docere alios perfectioris obedientiae praestandae normam atque rationem; ac demum dicto et facto quasi praeludit ea quae post baptismum in publico docendi et disputandi munere, ad aeterni Patris gloriam apud Judaeos erat exhibiturus.

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