Sunday 15th May
Day 45 - Day trip to New Norcia Monastery.
It was a mild night, but actually warmed during the wee hours, enough to take off a blanket, which I did.
We left camp about 9:50am for the 130kms drive to New Norcia, arriving about 11:45am. The daily tours commence at 11am and 1:30pm, so to fill
in time until 1:30pm, we visited the Art Gallery and the paintings were unbelieveable. There were original paintings, painted in the 16th century
absolutley unbelieveable. I would hate to guess how much the art collection is worth.
As I shared the faith of this community (I am a Catholic), New Norcia was special, I loved it and all the buildings and historic artifacts.
There are only 10 religious members at the monastery now, The Abbott, The Prior and 8 monks. Our tour guide was Richard, a lay man with a wonderful
voice. All the chapels had great acoustics and in one of the chapels, Richard sang "I am Australian' written by Bruce Woodley, some of us joined in. I didn't, Marg did.
This is what you can expect to see and hear on the guided tour. (taken from the New Norcia website).
We managed to help increase the New Norcia economy by approx $200. We had lunch at the Roadhouse owned by the monks, toasted sangas. Yumma. The 2 hour
guided tour and shock horror, after the tour Marg and I descended upon the shop, buying 3 books (A town like no other-The living tradition of New Norcia,
The story of New Norcia, The Salvado memoirs) and some other things like 6 stubbies of Abbey Ale and an Abbey Muscat for the child bride.
I was a little disappointment that I didn't see a monk in the flesh, but I did hold a door open and 5 elderly nuns walked in. That was pretty impressive.
The monks were in prayers while we were in their monastery, so I left them to do their own thing.
New Norcia photos here.