Chronicle in a new language
IT is simply called the Monastery Chronicle.
And the monks of WA’s monastic town New Norcia have kept it going since their second abbot, Fulgentius Torres, initiated the daily record in 1901.
Up until the mid-1950s the chronicle was in Spanish, reflecting the Benedictine community’s roots.
Now a project to translate it into English is in full swing.
And a section of that work – a translation of the entries for 1911 – has just been published in the 25th anniversary issue of the annual New Norcia Studies journal.
Journal editor Joan Oakland launched the 2018 edition at a City of Subiacohosted reception at The Palms Community Centre at the end of last year.
She described the 1911 chronicle as a “fascinating read”.
“It gives you a bite-size look into the day-to-day microcosm of life in a monastery, particularly this one, the one we all adore,” she said.
Apart from the 1911 chronicle, there is an article on “remarkable couple” Mary Helen Pangieran and Benedict Cuper, some of the first residents of Salvado’s Aboriginal cottages built in the 1860s.
Of Mary Helen, the first Aboriginal postmistress and New Norcia’s first telegraphist, article author Larrie Strautmanis concludes:
“It was an extraordinary achievement for a young Aboriginal female to be appointed to a government position so early in WA’s history. But Mary Helen’s achievement was even more notable considering that she had to deal with the emotional effects of being removed from her family, unable to have children which she so desperately wanted and the physical effects of tuberculosis.”
The journal also includes a New Norcia link to Ireland’s War of Independence by serving Garda John Reynolds, a look at New Norcia’s contemporary art and its map collection, and a study of renowned composer Dom Stephen Moreno’s Adoro Te.
Ms Oakland said 163 authors had written 259 articles since the New Norcia
Studies journal started in 1993, with WA historian Tom Stannage as its founding editor.
The journal can be ordered at www.newnorcia.wa.edu.au.
New Norcia Abbot John Herbert, Subiaco Freeman Heather Henderson and Joan Oakland with New Norcia Studies 2018 contributors Geoffrey Coad, Andrew Walton and Bob Reece.