Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Abbot Aids Monastery in Journey; the Son of a Bundaberg Baker Touched Many Lives during His Inspiring Life of Faith

Newspaper article News Mail Bundaberg Qld.

Abbot Aids Monastery in Journey; the Son of a Bundaberg Baker Touched Many Lives during His Inspiring Life of Faith

Article excerpt

Byline: CHERIE CURTIS

MANY in Bundaberg would not have recognised the name Placid Spearritt when he passed away late last year, but the Bundy-born Abbot shaped lives and communities.

"For all his intellectual imminence and wealth of experiences, he was a simple and unpretentious man," said New Norcia Prior Dom Christopher Power.

"He loved the open sky, the bush and swimming at the beach, and he loved straight-forward people - he wasn't attracted by so-called sophisticated people - and I put that down to where he came from."

Selwyn Spearritt was born in Bundaberg on September 17, 1933, the youngest son of the Spearritt, who owned the Targo Street bakery.

Stan Harris remembers playing with Selwyn in the 1930s.

"We grew up together and used to play in the back yard of the bakery, but I lost touch with them when they moved to Brisbane," Stan said.

Selwyn was described as a bright, precocious child with an "original kind of mind".

"He was very witty and wicked, always against the government," Dom Chris said.

"He was a man of contradictions and always worried about the poor and outcast."

The family left Bundaberg when Selwyn was seven and, at 22, he became a Catholic.

"I'd heard that Selwyn joined the Catholic Church because the Anglican Archbishop thought he was too radical," Stan said.

Selwyn joined the large Benedictine Monastery of Ampleforth near York in England in 1959 and was given the religious name Placid.

For the next eight years, he studied at the Catholic University in Switzerland and was ordained a priest in 1967.

Fr Placid settled into teaching at Ampleforth and, in 1979, he was appointed Prior.

The UK Telegraph described him as one who "possessed radical views and a colourful vocabulary more familiar on building sites than in the cloisters".

Prior Placid was visiting family in Australia when the monks of New Norcia monastery invited him to give a retreat - and then stay on as prior administrator. …

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