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October 2016


Dear Abbot Pennings,

I’ve noticed that near the dates on several campus buildings is the inscription D.O.M. What is the significance of that?

Jenna Decker ’18


Dearest Jenna,

I do thank you for your most intelligent inquiry. I know how much love our students have for their college home. It is gratifying indeed to me that you are paying attention to inscriptions placed, so long ago, by men godly and far-sighted enough to lay the foundations – both literal and metaphorical – for your own education 

As you are no doubt aware, the Latin language is woven throughout Catholic history and practices. The inscription that you reference is one example of how this so-called “dead” language lives on. The phrase deo optimo maximo, often abbreviated to D.O.M. or Deo Opt. Max., is a Latin phrase that means “to the greatest and best God,” or “to God, most good, most great.” 

Indeed, our friends the Benedictines have taken this phrase as their motto, as you may know if you have ever enjoyed a glass of their delicious liqueur, which is also so dedicated – as its label attests, I see. Dear me! For all the works of men, what dedication could be more fitting! As far as our own dear college is concerned, it was with great faith and in the strength of Our Lord that I founded the institution many a year ago. My heart overflows with gratitude as I witness this same faith in action continuing through the ages. 

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, O.Praem., who founded St. Norbert College in 1898.  

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