In the spring of 1573, Campion found himself driven to a course he had not contemplated on coming to Douay. As he slowly saw his way, he followed it, to horizon beyond horizon. He had many steps to take, because in his thirst for perfection he had far to travel. He told Dr. Allen he wished to leave his present life, go on pilgrimage, in the spirit of penance, to the Tomb of the Apostles at Rome, and there seek admission into the Society of Jesus. The medi?val Orders would have less attraction for Campion: he was an intensely “modern” man. Now this was a severe blow to Allen: hardly less so to others of Campion’s circle. Campion, the pride, the example, the hope of the Seminary, to quit it for good, and to quit it in order to join the most recent of religious communities—one which as yet had few English members! It was inexplicable. But Allen, like the great-hearted and broad-minded commander-in-chief he was, let him go without protest. He little foresaw that far from losing his most promising champion, he was but lending him to better masters of the interior life than himself, and would receive his trained strength again in the English Mission’s spiritual day of battle neo skin lab derma21
Campion set out on foot across the Continent for Rome, along that road “trodden by many a Saxon king and English saint, to the Apostles’ shrine.” His companions walked with him all the first day; but the next morning he sent them back, and pushed on alone. Solitude was henceforth his choice, whenever duty permitted neo skin lab derma21
He must have had many strange adventures during that spring journey. We know of one of them, though not from him. At some point of the route, probably on the northern Italian border, he came face to face with an old friend, an Oxonian, and a Protestant. The horseman first rode past the poor mendicant on the highway, and then was prompted by some dim sense of recognition to return and speak to him. On realizing that it was really Edmund Campion whom he used to know “in great pomp of prosperity,” he showed much concern, proffered his good-will and his purse, and begged to hear how Campion had fallen into that ill plight. But the pilgrim refused aid; and the other traveller heard something then and there of the “contempt of this world, and the eminent dignity of serving Christ in poverty,” which greatly moved him: and “us also,” adds Robert Parsons of Balliol, “that remained yet in Oxford, when the report came to our ears.” A strange tale it must have seemed to those who knew their Master of Arts and all his old fastidiousness! He was by now a saint in the making, and they were fast losing touch with him. Personal holiness is, so to speak, a mining country: its progress and its wealth are underground, unguessed-at by the careless passer-by. A saint is a mystery because he walks so closely in the shadow of God, who is the Great Mystery neo skin lab derma21
When Campion reached Rome, and had paid his devotions to the holy places, he went to call upon Cardinal Gesualdi, who, as he stated afterwards, “having some liking of me, would have been the means to prefer me . . . but I, resolved what course to take, answered that I meant not to serve any man, but to enter into the Society of Jesus, thereof to vow and to be professed.” With this intention, Campion sought out the newly-elected head of that Society, Father Everard of Liège, whose surname was generally Latinized into Mercurianus, from Merc?ur, his native village. He was fourth in his office, having succeeded that great personality St. Francis Borgia, on St. George’s Day, April 23, 1573. Biographers have represented that Campion had a half-year’s delay in Rome before he was able to apply for admission to the Society; but such was not the case. He promptly presented himself, and was received as Merc?ur’s first recruit, and received not as a postulant, but as a novice.
As Anthony Wood tells us, “he was esteemed by the General of that Order to be a person every way complete.” Four years later, Campion most affectionately thanked his own old tutor, John Bavand, for unasked “introductions, help and money,” which had been supplied since he came to Rome. He speaks of himself as “one whom you knew never could repay you, but who was at the point, so to speak, of death. . . . You were munificent to me when I was going to enter the sepulchral rest of religion.” The aid he would not accept for himself on his journey from one friend, he had accepted in the city (and spent, no doubt, in almsgiving) from another. Perhaps Bavand was abroad, and heard of that incident which came to pass on the road: certainly, he was one from whom Campion could not in chivalry refuse whatever he chose to share with him.