The Latin text says:
In approximate translation:
There is no evidence that the formula was composed by Saint Benedict, or even that it is older than the 14th century. It came to general attention in 1647, when certain women who were prosecuted for witchcraft declared that they had been unable to harm the Abbey of Metten because it was protected by the sign of the Holy Cross. A search in the monastery turned up painted crosses with the formula's initials. The meaning of those letters remained a mystery for some time, until the complete verses were found in a manuscript at the abbey's library , next to an image of St. Benedict.
That manuscript had been at Metten since 1414, and the same formula was later found in an Austrian manuscript from the 14th century . Following its 1647 rediscovery, the formula was for a time considered a superstition, but in 1742 it got the approval of Pope Benedict XIV, and is now part of the Roman Catholic ritual. The formula popularity grew considerably in the 19th century, mainy due to the efforts of Léon-Papin Dupont.
The phrase vade retro satana is often used as a witty or scholarly prose device, dissociated from its religious implications, to express strong rejection of an unacceptable (but possibly tempting) proposal, or dread of some looming menace. Namely, in the sense of "do not tempt me!", "I will have nothing to do with that", "will someone deliver us from that", and so on.
Cantelmo, Marinella, and Antonio Lucio Giannone, eds.: In un concerto di voci amiche. Studi di letteratura italiana dell'Otto e Novecento in onore di Donato Valli.(Poetry, Fiction, & Miscellaneous)(Book review)
Jan 01, 2010; Cantelmo, Marinella, and Antonio Lucio Giannone, eds. In un concerto di voci amiche. Studi di letteratura italiana dell'Otto e...