Monastic town 'takes responsibilities seriously'

The monastic town of New Norcia in WA (Benedictine Community of New Norcia)

A safeguarding audit report has found that the Benedictine Community of New Norcia has demonstrated compliance with 99 per cent of the indicators relevant to their operations under the National Catholic Safeguarding Standards. Source: CPSL.

Located 130km northeast of Perth, the Benedictine Community of New Norcia (BCNN) is the only monastic town in Australia. Founded in 1847 by Spanish Benedictine monks, New Norcia has had a range of functions over the years, including as an Aboriginal mission, monastery, boarding schools for Indigenous and other children, a working farm and today offers itself as a place for spiritual retreat.

There are nine monks living in the community at New Norcia, with the current Abbot, Fr John Herbert OSB, installed in 2009. BCNN has 39 employees and a small number of volunteers who work in various capacities throughout the town.

It was named in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as having had a number of claims of child sexual abuse made against a number of monks (all now deceased) and BCNN’s previous institutions.

BCNN’s direct engagement with children today is limited. Guided tours of the historic town are run for the public daily and a range of accommodation options are hired and used regularly by visiting school groups for camps and other school-related activities. Due to the presence of the school groups on site, as well as children participating in guided tours of the town, BCNN has been assessed as a “Category One” Church entity for application of the NCSS (Working with Children).

Catholic Professional Standards Limited (CPSL) conducted the audit and CEO Sheree Limbrick said it was evident BCNN takes its safeguarding responsibilities seriously and that BCNN employs a whole of community approach to safeguarding.

“Many of BCNN’s employees both work and live in the New Norcia community. The nature of the relationship between the monks, the services offered at New Norcia and the local community means that engagement with families and community in relation to safeguarding is strong,” Ms Limbrick said.

The audit has resulted in two recommendations for BCNN to strengthen its safeguarding practices. There are no Priority 1 (high rated) audit recommendations for BCNN.

FULL STORY

Safeguarding audit for the Benedictine Community of New Norcia published (CPSL)

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