Rosendo Salvado

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Rudesindo Salvado

1st Roman Catholic abbot
Fundiciones Manuel Malingre, Orense 1949.JPG
Statute of Rosendo Salvado, located in his hometown of Tui, Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain
ChurchTerritorial Abbey of New Norcia
Installed12 March 1867
Term ended29 December 1900[1]
SuccessorFulgentius Antonio Torres
Other post(s)Bishop of Port Essington (1849 – 1867)
Ordination23 February 1839 (Priest) in Naples[2]
Consecration15 August 1849 (Bishop)[1]
Personal details
Born(1814-03-01)1 March 1814
Tui, Pontevedra, Galicia, Spain[2]
Died29 December 1900(1900-12-29) (aged 86)
Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Rome
BuriedNew Norcia
DenominationRoman Catholic Church
OccupationRoman Catholic bishop

Rosendo Salvado Rotea OSB (1 March 1814 – 29 December 1900) was a Spanish Benedictine monk, missionary, bishop, author, founder and first abbot of the Territorial Abbey of New Norcia in Western Australia.

Early life and background[edit]

Salvado was born at Tui, Galicia, Spain. At the age of 15 he entered the Benedictine Abbey of San Martin at Compostela. He was clothed in the habit in 1829 and took his final vows in 1832. In 1835, he was forced to flee to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, after the anti-Catholic government of Juan Álvarez Mendizábal decreed the closing of all monasteries and the secularisation of monks as a result of the First Carlist War. He was received into the Abbey of Trinità della Cava, near Naples, where he was ordained to the priesthood in February 1839.[2]


Strongly desiring to labour in the foreign missions, his wish was granted after John Brady was consecrated as first bishop of the Diocese of Perth. With his longtime friend Father Joseph Serra OSB, Salvado sailed from London with the bishop's party and landed in Fremantle in January 1846. At Brady's instruction, Salvado and Serra, alongside a small party of their fellow Benedictines, journeyed deep into the Victoria Plains via ox drawn cart. On 1 March 1846, they founded "The Central Mission" in the midst of the bush, intending to convert the Indigenous Australians to Catholicism. This was later renamed "New Norcia" after the birthplace of St. Benedict.[2]

The priests soon established relations with the Nyungar people, but conditions at the mission proved so harsh that soon only Salvado and Serra remained. Salvado was an accomplished musician and in the first year of the mission he travelled back to Perth and on 21 May 1846 gave a well-received piano recital in tattered robes in the hall of the courthouse. The recital raised much needed funds for provisioning the new mission.[3] Then, in 1848, Serra was appointed Bishop of Port Essington in the Northern Territory and later to coadjutor of the Diocese of Perth. In 1849, Salvado sailed for Europe to raise funds for the mission accompanied by two young Nyungar boys, Joseph Conaci and Francis Dirimera. Salvado was consecrated Bishop of Port Essington in August that year, much against his will, as he strongly desired to return to New Norcia. After Port Essington was abandoned, however, he was left as a bishop without an episcopal see.[2]

While waiting permission to return to Australia, he wrote and published Memorie Storiche dell' Australia in March 1851. This book, which chronicled the beginnings of the mission and his relations with the Nyungar people, went through multiple printings in Italian, Spanish and French. It was published in English in 1977.[2]

Later life[edit]

He returned to Australia in 1853, accompanied by a large number of priests and monks bound for the Australian missions and especially for New Norcia. For four years he administered the Diocese of Perth during Bishop Serra's absence in Europe. He returned to New Norcia in 1857. In the following years he shifted the focus of the mission to serving the White settlers who were pouring into the area. In 1866 he was nominated as Bishop of Perth, but convinced Vatican authorities that his true vocation lay with Aborigines.[4] In 1867, he was appointed "Lord Abbot" and the mission was upgraded to an independent abbey by Papal decree. He died in 1900 at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, while on a visit to Rome. His body was returned to New Norcia three years later and buried in a tomb of Carrara marble behind the high altar of the abbey church.[2][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Abbot Rudesindo Salvado, O.S.B." The Hierarchy of the Catholic Church. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g William, Dom. "Salvado, Rosendo (1814–1900)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  3. ^ The Salvado Memoirs, Benedictine Community of New Norcia Inc, 1977
  4. ^ Serle, Percival (1949). "Salvado, Rosendo". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  5. ^ "The Salvado Era: 1846–1900". The Story of New Norcia. New Norcia Benedictine Community. 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Prada Blanco, Albino [es] (2014): Crónica desde el país de los sin alma. Rosendo Salvado en Australia 1846-1899, A Coruña, Biblioteca Gallega-La Voz de Galicia (ISBN 978-84-9757-282-8)
  • Salvado, Rosendo (1851). Memorie Storiche dell' Australia: Memorias historicas sobre la Australia y particularmente acerca la mision Benedictina de Nueva Nursia y los usos y costumbres de los salvajes (in Spanish). Barcelona: Herederos de la V. Pla. p. 400.
  • Salvado, Rosendo (1883). Relazione della Missione benedittina di Nuova Nurcia nell’Australia Occidentale (1844–1883). Roma, 1883; en Cipollone, G. y Orlandi, C. Aborigeno con gli aborigene, Librería Editrice Vaticana,2011
  • Salvado, Rosendo (1883). Manoscritto Originale (e Reservato) della Relazione che per ordine dell’ Cardinale Simeoni, Prefetto della Sacra Congregazione di Propaganda Fide, scrisse Monsignor Rudesindo Salvado vescova di Porto-Vittoria, o Vittoria, nell’Australia Settentrionale e Abbott Nullius del Monastero e Mission di Nuova Norcia nell’Australia Occidentale, nell’occasione della sua visita ad Limina Apostolorum, sull’origine, adamento e stato presente, cioè dal 1844 al 1883, della detta missione do Nuova Norcia, e presentò al suddetto Porporato in Roma nella data del 15 Agosta 1883. New Norcia Archives 2953A/39. English Translation: Report of Rosendo Salgado to Propaganda Fide in 1883, translated by Stefano Girola. Abbey Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1-925208-98-6
  • IStormon, Edward James (1977). The Salvado Memoirs: historical memoirs of Australia and particularly of the Benedictine Mission of New Norcia and of the habits and customs of the Australian natives. University of Western Australia Press. p. 300. ISBN 0-85564-114-2.

External links[edit]