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Catholic Activity: St. Ives



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A short description of St. Ives, and his link with soup and cats.


Ordinarily one does not link law with soup, but May 19 brings us St. Ives, and he was a lawyer who knew the importance of a good big soup kettle.

Ives, also called Yves or Yve, lived in Brittany during the thirteenth century. A lawyer, judge, and man of great wealth, he chose to live as a Franciscan tertiary, devoting himself to the care of the poor. He liked nothing better than to defend the needy, the widowed, and the orphaned, and he never charged a fee. Although he objected out of humility, he was compelled by his bishop to receive Holy Orders. Before entering the priesthood, he willed his manor to the poor. After his death, the poor always came there to be fed on the eve and day of his feast. Legend has it that on one of these occasions there were so many beggars that it was feared the food would give out before all could be fed. But as fast as the soup was dipped out, the kettles miraculously refilled, and no one went hungry.

Cats, long considered wise and all-knowing, are associated with wise men of law, and St. Ives is often pictured with a feline companion at his side. It is sure that if the good saint had a cat of his own, it would have slumbered and purred with contentment on a hearth where great kettles of savory soup were simmering.

Activity Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965