CLYDE, Mo. — A Benedictine nun in northwest Missouri has completed translating three volumes of scholarly work not previously available in English.
For Benedictines and others who want to completely immerse themselves in the study of the Rule of St. Benedict, the multi-volume work by Adalbert de Vogüé, “A Critical Study of the Rule of Benedict,” is considered the basis for that critical study.
Until 2013, when Benedictine Sister of Perpetual Adoration Colleen Maura McGrane, OSB, published the translation of the first volume from French to English, no part of the series had been available in any other language, the monastic community announced in a press release Tuesday.
“I started translating the first book in 2009 simply as a way to increase my knowledge and understanding of the Rule,” McGrane said in a statement. “As I gained both proficiency in translating and increasing appreciation of the significance of de Vogüé’s work, I started thinking about the possibility of publishing it for others.”
She recently released the third volume’s translation, which took three years to complete and another year to publish. Since translating is something McGrane undertakes in her limited free time, it can be an arduous and lengthy task.
“Translating has gotten easier in terms of general vocabulary, but each volume poses its own challenges,” she said. “This volume required not only learning vocabulary connected with Benedict’s liturgical and penal chapters, but also developing an understanding of what specific practices were and how they developed.”
Finding time to work on the translations can be difficult; McGrane serves as the congregation’s archivist and liturgist, and was recently named editor of the American Benedictine Review. But the de Vogüé project remains vitally important to her.
“I consider translating to be an art” she said. “It is not simply a matter of translating vocabulary, but of creating a text that flows smoothly and is as accessible as possible for readers. It is an opportunity to let go of everything else and just be present in the text.
“In that sense, it is a sort of spiritual practice.”
She is currently translating the fourth and final volume of the set.
The three previously translated and published volumes are available for purchase on Amazon.