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The Wanderings of Felix Fabri: Mt. Carmel

Felix Fabri spends barely a day at Mt. Carmel. During his time there, he primarily recants the many biblical stories that make the mountain a holy and important site. Fabri also speaks somewhat of the land around the mountain. Fabri speaks of how the land of Carmel is the origin place of the Carmelite Friars as well as the location where the biblical prophet Elias killed the prophets of Baal according to 1 Kings in chapter eighteen. He also mentions the location of the burial sites of the Maccabee people and the brook of Kishon at the foot of the mountain. Fabri also makes brief mention of the relationship between the religious figures in the area in relation to the memory of Elias and the other biblical figures in the area. He also speaks how a man named Albert who was patriarch of Jerusalem when “Latin Christians held Siria” had friars wear copes with gray horizontal strips in homage to Elias. Fabri speaks of how this was the case up until Pope Honorius III changed the stripped cope to an all-white one due to the fact that it could not be proven whether or not Elias wore a grey stripped cope specifically. While this is unique in comparison to men like Marco Polo, it is not unique in comparison to other devote religious individuals. While Fabri’s recount of this specific area of the world is very short, it does give us a lot of background information on the significance of this area of the world, especially to anyone who is a devoted Catholic. While most of Fabri’s recounts are very clearly written for people who would already would have spent most of their time studying the bible, for instance a friar or priest, this specific account seems to have been written for anyone in comparison. I claim this primarily because, in this section, Fabri goes into detail about the history, biblical and religious, of this region of the world without any religious jargon aside from the word cope. He speaks of the beauty of the land and the history in a way that comes across as something he would recount to a religious congregation rather than something he would tell his other friar friends.  

Caspersen #5

The Book of Margery Kempe
Location: Her Soul’s Destination
Kempe claims that her relationship with God had reached a level where it merited official recognition and celebration. This wedding, to God, happened somewhere in her spiritual being and Kempe signifies that the love shared between Goof and her had moved to a greater destination (Kempe 175-176). Kempe. Kempe describes the people who came to bear witness to her relationship with God, including Mary, Jesus, many saintly virgins, and each of the apostles (Kempe 175-176). They all show their support for Kempe with their praying for the future of her relationship with God (Kempe 176). Kempe chooses to also give us a glimpse into her emotions when she talks about being awestruck and shy when conversing with God (Kempe 175). Kempe records that changes to her relationship with God caused changes to her senses. Kempe began to smell something so perfectly sweet that it was unrecognizable to her. She seems to have been incredibly impressed by this sensation as it was pleasant enough for her to want it frequently (Kempe 176) She also began to her hear music and noises that affected her ability to communicate with other people as it distracted her; Kempe states that she was more likely to experience the noise when she was currently in the process of worshipping. Kempe also joyfully received these sensations of sounds as joyfully as the delicious smell and claimed that both of them had a beneficial affect on her body (Kempe 176-177) Another of the fantastical things she experiences are displays of beautiful light (Kempe 177). These sensations may show Kempe starting to understand what the afterlife is like; this is because she finds herself pleased with smells that don’t belong to earth and having her hearing other people impeded by something which she attributes to God (Kempe 178). In this way, she may be saying that she is already experiencing heaven while still alive. (Kempe 176-177)
I find the fact that Kempe states Christ views her as both like a wife and a mother figure to be something that probably made more sense during Kempe’s lifetime. This is essentially true as Kempe articulates that God married her but wanted her relationship with him to have aspects that are described as a mother and child form of relationship (Kempe 175,175-179) I also cannot understand how Kempe describes God’s stronger love for her than most of his other followers, and expects readers to just believe her without offering them any solid proof(Kempe 175-179)I believe that it is possible Kempe’s description of Jesus calling her to treat him like a son and a husband is possibly due to common people in her culture not having the vocabulary to talk about love as thoroughly as they wanted to (Kempe 175-179) This could also be a result of a tendency to associate different types of actions displaying love with different relationships. I believe that Kempe may have written about this change in her relationship with God in order to gain attention. This is because it is so different room anything that I have ever heard of someone claim that it seems like she is so desperate for people to people her that she has made up this encounter to be as outlandish as possible. (Kempe 175-179)

Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe, chapter 35, translated by BA Windeatt, 1985.

caspersen #4

Kempe’s right to stay at the Hospital of St Thomas of Canterbury at Rome and have religious services performed for her there, such as communion and confession, is lost do to the words of only one man; this naturally takes a lot of her mental engery for her to process(Kempe 165). Kempe is also very focused on events in which God chooses to work for her, such as when she and a German priest are able to understand one another despite not having a language in common (Kempe 169). Another one of these occasions is when Kempe was visited by and made a confession to John the Evengelist; this drives home the point that the esteem God holds her in is incredibly high (Kempe 166). Kempe also describes her relationship with certain men, such as the priest that she befriends, and the priest that gets her kicked out of the place she stays at in Rome originally, as being impacted by a certain amount of distrust (Kempe 165, 170-173). The priest whom Kempe is on good terms with gives her tests in make sure that he isn’t helping someone who was not authentic. (Kempe 170-172) This shows how complex the priest’s whom she has befriended view of her is, because he is willing to listen to someone she describes hating her. (Kempe 165, 172). Kempe is very selfless with the woman whom she finds herself helping, deciding to give her her good wine, and drinking the low-quality wine the woman had (Kempe 173-174). Kempe is in Rome for more than 6 weeks (Kempe 173), but beyond that she does not state any information about the dates of her stay in Rome in thse chapters. Readers asko find out that white clothes, what Kempe wears until she is told not to, are a sign of being more devout than others, which helps explain why she is so controversal (Kempe 165, 171-172).
Kempe is not very offended nor does she seem very surprised that the priest she considers to be her friend talks to the other one who really hates her (Kempe 172). I believe that if these events were happening today, Kempe might feel uncomfortable enough to really express it in her book. This shows us that perhaps it was more culturally acceptable to show that you have mixed emotions and feelings about someone in Kempe’s culture. (Kempe 172) That is also probably why Kempe does a very good job of making sure what helps make her seem authentic, her crying when she is not in front of many people, is in her book(Kempe 170) . I doubt that people get kicked out of communal areas solely based on the words of one person, as Kempe is describing here, today in Rome (Kempe 165). This part of Kempe’s text feels like it was written for other people to read, and to make herself look good because of its discussion of how much God loves her and her being visited by John the Evengelist (Kempe 166-167-173). However, this is hurt by her use of words to describe herself as blessed more than most people.( Kempe 163, 166 173). Another aspect of the text that contradicts her writing this all down to look good and for other people to read is the fact that she does not name the two priest whose relationships with her are greatly discussed (Kempe 165-174) I almost feel like this detail makes her less credible.
Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe, chapters 31-35, translated by BA Windeatt, Penguin Books, 1985

The Wanderings of Felix Fabri: Brixen

Felix Fabri spends little to no time in the town of Brixen, however he does speak of some aspects of the town including the fact that the plague was present there at the time of their journey through. Fabri states that their lordships were informed that the plague was in the area and so Fabri rushed through. Fabri does not speak of the land or culture of the region, though he does talk about how he had spent a night there before in his life and about how during his stay a rich bishopric died causing fighting to break out among the nobles. Fabri also speaks of a time when the Duke of Austria known as Sigismund, set it up so that anyone who passed through the region would be excommunicated immediately whether they knew it or not. Fabri also speaks of how there is a cathedral there that he finds particularly beautiful and about how he had someone in his order who chanted canonical for hours there. He also speaks of how the canon of the church asked them what kind of friars they were and when they told him that they were Mendicants Friars, he gave them good fat alms. This type of focus on the church aspect of his previous visit shows that not only does he have a high regard for this region but he also intends for his writings to be read by those who also hold a similar value to the church and their workings in the many areas of the world. 

The Book of Margery Kempe: Jerusalem

When Margery Kempe finally made it to Jerusalem, she is overcome with joy. She, “arrived on an ass- she thanked God with all her heart, praying him for his mercy that, just as he had brought her to see this earthly city of Jerusalem, he would grant her grace to see the blissful city of Jerusalem above, the city of heaven” (Kempe 103). She nearly fell off of the donkey she was riding because she was so overcome with how the Lord had blessed her soul.  She visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the place of the Lord’s Passion (The Mount of Calvary). Again, Margery was so moved by the Lord’s compassion that she wept and wailed as if she felt as though she should have suffered too. She received communion at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and saw the grave where Mary was buried. She says the Our Lady spoke to her soul, reassuring her that she will receive more grace than she will know what to do with from Jesus and people will be in awe of her. She jumps around a lot in this section, talks about crying in Rome and England, before returning back to her story about her time in Jerusalem. She compares and contrasts her crying in Jerusalem to her crying in these other places. Margery then continued to Bethlehem where her pilgrimage continued.

Margery finally makes it to Jerusalem! After enduring so many hardships of being abandoned several times and falling ill, Margery arrives in Jerusalem. She is over joyed and amazed to be there and continues her crying and wailing at each site she visits. Arguably, this is one of the most important moments for Margery because she is so devout. Witnessing the places like the place of the Lord’s passion and the Virgin Mary’s burial site is incredibly moving and overwhelming for her. Margery writes a lot about how what she is doing and justifies it by saying that she will see make it to heaven. Ever time she is abandoned throughout her journey or gets judged by others for her wailing, she justifies it by saying that they don’t know that she knows and that she will go to heaven after she dies. This is reinforced by her supposed conversation with Mary while she is at Mary’s burial site when Mary tells her that she will be blessed with grace and that she will see the “blissful city of Jerusalem above, the city of heaven.” This is very revealing of Margery’s goal- to get to heaven. She is only concerned with where her soul will go after she dies that she doesn’t care what other people think of her. She seems to think that everyone else is lesser than her because they don’t understand. This is why she insists on eating alone and constantly wailing. The public display of devotion, she seems certain, will guarantee her  a spot in heaven. This pilgrimage to Jerusalem is yet another obvious and public action of devotion, proving her piety over and over again.

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