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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583; et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone (c. 1615)

Chapter 6: The port of Bichangor, its site and the fertility of the land, and the heathen of the district,   pp. 1-5 PDF (1.6 MB)

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Chapter 6
The port of Bichangor. its site and the fertility of the land,
and the heathen of the district
This town of Bichangor is situated five leagues up-river from Cacheu,
at a point where it can only be reached by water. While the heavens have
been unduly mean to it in awarding it a not very agreeable site, they have
been       ngsenerous in giving it advantages in almost every other
particular. Bichangor /f.21v/ is a sampler of the favours of nature.
Here the flowers smile, here little birds in woods composed of a variety
of trees sing in harmony, to the sound of the clearest water running from
the spring. This is especially delightful for the House of the Sacred
Virgin of Jesus, a Divine Olive-tree standing in its beauty amid its
surrounding meadows, or, to express it a better way, a lily planted here
among thorns. It was the will of the Lord that the founder of this
miraculous house should be a priest, a man of excellent example, known no
less for his virtues and his zeal for the conversion of souls than for his
evangelical teaching, a man who served a large part of Ethiopia as a true
apostle of the Gospel, a man who was as much divorced from the temporal as
he was united to the eternal, as much loosed from the ties of earth as he
was wholly committed to those of heaven. Because he was such a man and
because of the high opinion people held of him, he was thrice sent to the
Port of Our Lady of Victory as Visitor for these parts. It was here that
this man of religion(a) finished his course, here that the Lord called
him, here that he took him to receive the blessed prize of his holy
labours and excellent service, the most certain external signs of his
gaining eternal life being demonstrated in the beauty and joy of his face,
as if he had already begun to participate in that glory to which we
believe he was taken. Among the legacies which he left to the Sacred
Queen of Angels at Bichangor, the chief one was his own soul, an
inheritance which Our Lady prizes when the soul is that of a just man,
not only because it belongs to her Jesus, but because it resembles a
nosegay, a varied bunch of flowers, gathered in the orchard garden of
the Predestined in this lower world in order to be presented to the
whole of heaven. He (also) left the house that body of his which had
served it in his lifetime, and great efforts were made to fulfil the
intention of the legatee on this point, but as this was not the wish of
the Lady of Victory it was in her house that he was buried, with full
funeral ceremony.  And great was the sorrow of the sheep for the shepherd.
(a) Death of Padre Miguel Simoes.

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