Saturday, March 15, 2008

Daytrip to New Norcia

I decided (after Low Mass of St Joseph this morning, and a doctor's appointment, and some coffee and the newspaper, and...) to go for a drive out to New Norcia, that famous monastic settlement about 130km north of Perth. Upon arriving, I remembered that a relative of mine was out there too this weekend, and paid her a brief visit. My main aim had in fact been to look at their secondhand books, but these were pretty slim pickings as it turned out. I paid a brief visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and to the wonderworking image of Our Lady of Good Counsel, given by St Vincent Palotti to Dom Rosendo Salvado - which averted a bushfire in 1847, in the earliest days of the monastery; the event is still commemorated at the abbey in their Office each year - and said None in the church before I left. I must say, I find the abbey overcommercialized and not terribly prayerful: gawping tourists made even praying in the church a trial.

6 comments:

Mark said...

Sounds like a mixed bag. Indeed, seeing the website has "Tourist Information" makes me wince.

One day you'll have to visit the UK's most northerly Benedictine abbey, Pluscarden... :-D

Mark said...

P.S. It still always astounds me that Saturday's been and gone in Oz.

Joshua said...

New Norcia has a proud history, but their youngest monk is in his forties, I think, and it doesn't seem to exude a thriving Catholic spirit.

Apparently the present abbot was administrator or whatever for about a decade, because the monks were unable to decide on whom to elect.

Fr Rowe no longer takes pilgrimage groups to New Norcia, because he was told that our Latin Mass group was not quite appropriate there, or words to that effect; the same has been said to other Catholic groups - but Buddhists, Anglicans, and secular humanists are welcome: in other words, those of a congenial liberal mindset.

Mark said...

Joshua: to be honest, then, based on the symptoms you're describing, it actually sounds like a place to avoid.

Rob A said...

I understand the sentiments that have been expressed here concerning New Norcia. To be honest, I don't actually mind the place, despite all that -- there's just something very peaceful about the nineteenth century heritage that the town contains that I like and seem able to warm to. It would be all the better if they only returned to the fullness of their Benedictine heritage (though I do not hold out a great deal of hope).

They may be modernists, but it sure beats the pagan rat-race of Perth after a full semester of Uni.

Joshua said...

Mark and Rob,

You're both right - it's an interesting and historic spot, and quiet even with the touristds - without whom the monks couldn't make a living, BTW - but I wouldn't go there for Mass unless one brought one's own priest. But Office is fine, and dining with the monks in their refectory is very fine indeed! I guess I just hope for something more, and hope that through a return to the sources they will over time rebuild and flourish again.