Saint Yves of Brittany, Confessor

May 19

Today is the feast day of Saint Yves of Brittany.  Ora pro nobis. 

Yves,  (Ivo of Kermartin was born of noble parents (Ivo was the son of Helori, lord of Kermartin, and Azo du Kenquis) in Brittany in 1253. The lessons his pious mother instilled in the heart of the boy through Christian training, preserved him amid the grave dangers to which he was exposed during his student years at Paris and Orleans. (1)

Not only did he go to church in the morning to attend holy Mass, but every evening he performed his devotions there. Besides studying his textbooks, he delighted in reading the lives of the saints, and the reading drew him very strongly to imitate them. He drank no wine, and his pastime consisted in visiting the sick in the hospitals. (1)

On his return to Brittany, he became a judge of the Rennes diocesan court and then of his own diocese, Treguier, where he became known as “the poor man’s advocate” for his defense of the poor and his refusal to accept fees from his poor clients. In 1284, he was ordained, resigned his legal position in 1287 to be parish priest at Tredrez, and later filled the same role at Lovannec. (2)

Yves arranged his household and his wardrobe in the simplest fashion. All his time and labor he devoted to his flock, to whom he was a true shepherd and father. He strove to uproot vices of long standing, especially usury and immorality, and by his zeal, charity, holy example, and fervent prayers, he succeeded. Here, too, the poor were his special friends. His home was an open guest-house for the poor, the blind, the lame, and the helpless of the entire vicinity. During a famine God almighty came to the assistance of his generosity by visible miracles. A flour bin which a domestic had found empty was found filled when Yves himself went with the domestic to examine it. Once he fed two hundred hungry persons with seven loaves of bread; at another time he fed twenty-four persons with a small loaf. (1)

Saint Yves of Brittany’s labors and his strict life sapped all his energy. He was hardly fifty years old when he felt his end nearing. Fortified with the last sacraments, he commended his soul to the hands of his Creator and died with a smile on May 19, 1303. His body was entombed in the cathedral of Treguier. The finest eulogy was tendered him by the poor, who flocked thither in great numbers and raised such lamentations that all present were deeply touched.

After many miracles at his grave, Pope Clement VI added Saint Yves of Brittany to the list of saints of the Catholic Church. (1)

Image: Saint Ivo (3)

Research by Ed Masters, REGINA Staff


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