Date of Award


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Schools and Centres


First Supervisor

Catherine Kovesi Killerby


This thesis explores the complex issues of abbatial authority and the canonical status of an abbey in Western A u stralia. The abbey was found ed in 1846 in the Victoria Plains of Western Australia by two Spanish Benedictines, Dom Rosendo Salvado amd Dom Joseph Serra, and they called it New Norcia. In September 1900 Bishop Salvado incorporated the New Norcia Monastery into the Spanish Province of the Cassinese Congregation of the Primitive Observance. Bishop Salvado died that very year, but before his death he secured New Norcia's next Abbot, Dom Fulgentius Torres. Torres' period as abbot of New Norcia started in 1902 and came to a sudden end when he died in 1914. In this short period Abbot Torres embarked on an ambitious building programme and by the time of his death he appeared to have been a highly successful abbot. However, in 1906 Torres had attempted to resign. This Thesis explores hitherto unexamined documents which shed light on the reasons for his resignation attempt. It is this dissertation's position that it was the problems caused by the complex canonical status of New Norcia, undefined abbatial autho1ity and conflicts with Provincial Superiors that influenced Abbot Torres's decision to resign in 1906 and later in 1908.

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