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0282 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 282 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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Jordanus the spirit of the missionary breaks out strongly and clearly, showing his heart in the work. Odoric's narrative again gives one decidedly the impression of a man of little refinement, with a very strong taste for roving and seeing strange countries, but not much for preaching and asceticism. Qui peregrimantur raro sanctificantur, says Thomas a-Kempis. And one wonders what odd chance picked out Odoric as the wanderer to be accredited with such exceptional sanctity. " Molto cliverso it guiderdon dall' opre ! " Had the simple and hardly bestead Jordanus of Séverac, or that zealous patriarch John of Montecorvino striving for the faith at the world's end to the age of fourscore years, been made a saint of, one could have understood it better.

Miracles also, and miraculous experiences, are assigned to the friar by his biographers, of which no trace will be found in his own story. Thus we are told that as he was on his way back from Tartary, commissioned by the Great Khan to call more brethren to the work of preaching to that monarch's subjects (a commission which seems again to be purely imaginary) he was met by the Great Enemy,' who reviled him, and taunted him with the bootlessness of his errand, seeing that he was fated never to return. The assailant was repelled by the sign of the cross, but his words proved true.

So bowed and changed was Odoric by the hardships and starvation that he had endured in his years of wandering, say the biographers, that his nearest of kin could scarcely be brought to recognise him.9

It was after visiting them no doubt that he betook himself to the House of his Order attached to St. Anthony's at Padua, and there in the month of May, 1330, he related his story, which was taken down and done into homely Latin by William of Solagna, a brother of the Order ; Friar Marchesinus of Bassano also afterwards lending a hand in the redaction, and adding at least one interesting anecdote from his recollection of Odoric's stories.

Sub forma mulieris gravid !" says Mark of Lisbon,


Rodulphius, Hist. Seraphicce Religionis, Ven., 158e,

Wadding, 1. c. " quoted in the Acta Sa Wadding ; Petrus p. 125.