MORE of significant West Australian figure Rosendo Salvado’s writing is now available in English.
Academic and journalist Stefano Girola has translated the Italian of the New Norcia founder’s report in 1900 to church authorities in Rome.
It follows the release last year of Girola’s heralded translation of the Benedictine bishop’s 1883 report to Rome.
WA State archivist Cathrin Cassarchis launched the1900 report and the latest New Norcia Studies journal at a joint City of Subiaco-New Norcia function in Subiaco on Thursday night.
“This is an exciting development as it makes the papers of Salvado that much more accessible to scholars and historians,” Ms Cassarchis said of Girola’s work.
“And I am sure this is equally exciting for New Norcia as I hope and expect it will encourage new works and publications based on these rich papers.
“I understand this is part of a long-term plan to produce scholarly editions of all Italian reports written by Salvado to Propaganda Fide (in Rome).”
Ms Cassarchis said Salvado featured in each of the New Norcia Studies journal’s 10 articles; “so I feel I have learnt a lot about his life.”
That included – from Girola’s journal article on the 1900 report – learning of “the contemplative nature” of Salvado’s piece, written just a few months before his death at 86 and “outlining his transition from idealist to realist”.
“Salvado was looking back reflecting on what had or had not been achieved (since his arrival in WA in January, 1846 to set up a mission to the Indigeni),” she said.
Ms Cassarchis also learnt of Salvado’s presence at the First Vatican Council in 1869-70 as one of three Spanish bishops from Australia, his help of convict well diggers at New Norcia, his taking of Yued Noongar objects to Italy and his prolific correspondence and 17 diaries.
Ms Cassarchis said she had “upmost admiration for the tenacity of researchers and historians” and commended the journal writers for “bringing us new understandings of the past”.
She also said it was fitting the journal paid tribute to the late Professor Geoffrey Bolton and fellow historian George Russo, who published a book on Salvado, Lord Abbot of the Wilderness, in 1980.
“Their influence continues to be felt,” she said.
New Norcia Abbot John Herbert thanked Ms Cassarchis and was pleased she had referred to Salvado’s pride in the achievements of “the Aboriginal people whom he loved”.
Abbot Herbert had not long returned from an abbots congress in Rome where he had “assisted with the launch of the Australian Catholic University Francis Xavier Conaci Scholarship for Indigenous Students. Conaci was one of two Aboriginal boys who accompanied Salvado to Europe in 1849 and later died in Rome.
“It was wonderful to be in Rome and have this Aboriginal boy remembered and revered in such a wonderful way,” Abbot Herbert said.
“So Salvado would be very proud of the mission he established and this continues to go on, of course.”
It is hoped the 10-year project to complete the translation of Salvado’s diaries in Spanish will be completed next year.
n Report of Rosendo Salvado to Propoganda Fide in 1900 is available at http://www.newnorcia.wa.edu.au/
n New Norcia Studies No. 23, Voices from the Archives, is available at http://www.newnorcia.wa.edu.au/