The OTHER Saint Francis: The Holy Miracle-Worker of Paola

chiesa ss pietro e paolo inside view 25 saint francis of paoloBy K Iacobbo
Six hundred and five years ago, amid turmoil in the Roman Catholic church, and in the world, a prayer was answered by a miracle that would affect the course of history.
A baby, Francisco D’Alessio, was born, March 27, 1416, in Paola, Calabria,in what is now the nation of Italy. His parents Giacomo and Vienna D'Alessio prayed for years to have a child.Then neighbors reported seeing tongues of fire above the house, and the D’Alessio’s knew this was a sign from God. Francisco, from an early age, demonstrated holiness and worked miracles. In his ninety-one years of life, Francis would heal the sick, raise the dead, walk on water, perform other miracles, and prophesize of wars, popes, and kingdoms.
Yet Saint Francis of Paola, one of the greatest saints, perhaps the greatest, who ever inhabited the Earth, is almost unknown in America, oddly even among generations of immigrant families from Italy. His feast day is April 2, the day on which he did in 1507. Like Jesus, he died on Good Friday.
Legend has it that supernatural light and soft music surrounded baby Francis. Nevertheless, while yet a newborn, he was blinded in one eye by an abscess. The parents prayed, asking Saint Francis of Assisi to heal their baby, and promising to dedicate a year of the boy’s life to study and worship at nearby monastery.
The boy was healed.
The father, Giacomo D'Alessio, in the tradition of the early Christians, and because of his love of animals and his devotion to Saint Francis of Assisi, ate only fruits and vegetables.
In those days apparently fasting for Lent meant the ancient tradition of abstaining from all animal products. Francis followed his father’s way, but would drink milk, only because his mother insisted. Veganism later would be an important factor in the holy life of Francis and his followers. Abstinence from all animal products, combined with obedience to God, and intense and frequent praying, was essential to Francis in his worship and holiness and to that of those who would follow him.
From a young age, Francis preferred hours of solitary praying at home or outdoors to the play of other children. At age 13 Francis had a vision of his namesake saint who told the teen it was time to leave home.
His parents brought him to the St. Mark Franciscan monastery in nearby Argentano, where he became known for exemplary Christian character of love, kindness, generosity.
What’s more, he was at this age already demonstrating powers God bestowed upon him. Among other miracles, Francis was said to have been seen in two places at one time - bilocation.
After the year at the monastery, with his family, Francis made pilgrimages to holy places, such as Assisi and other shrines, and to Rome.
There he saw a Cardinal riding in an ostentatious carriage and shouted that Jesus did not travel so. Cardinal Guiliano Cesarini stopped, addressing Francis, explaining the church had to have finery because the people expected it. That religious leader later died fighting against the Turks, which would have significance in the story of Francis.
At age 14 and no longer a boy, Francis returned to Paola and moved out of the family home to live alone in the woods in a rundown barn, and later in a cave, where he could pray, and commune with God’s natural world, including animals.
Once a terrified young goat was escaping from hunters and ran to the arms of Francis. The hunters astonished and perhaps frightened by the holy young man called off their dogs and went home.
Francis lived alone six years and word of the remarkable young man’s holiness had spread, and by his late teens he was joined in his hermit prayerful life by a couple of other young men.
For Francis and his followers, said by neighbors to be friars of Saint Francis of Assisi, this was the beginnings of the young man of Paola’s religious order, which he named Ordo Fratrum Minorum -- Minims -- which meant to be the least; that is, to be humble, have humility, live minimally. The order’s motto “charitas” means to be charitable, that is to love. The motto was given to Francis in a vision from Saint Michael the Archangel.
Francis and his flock took vows of a life of poverty, chastity, obedience -- and veganism.
More followers emerged and volunteers and a wealthy benefactor helped Francis build a monastery.
Eventually the Roman Catholic church took notice, heard of the holy young man, and sent a representative to look into rumours of the miracle-working holy man of Paola.
Francis showed his God-given miraculous ability to the Vatican representative by holding red hot coal in his hand with no sign of burning or pain to his body.
The miracles and accomplishments and adventures of Saint Francis fill many volumes.
Another example: refused passage on a ship to Sicily for lack of money - Francis used his cloak as a boat and his staff as a sail and traveled to Sicily.
One of his miraculous powers was the ability to make objects move, such as a great boulder that many men together could not budge.
Great gifts bestowed upon Francis seem in proportion to his great love of God and for people and animals. However, he was human, and spoke out strongly when he knew people were sinning. Yet he was forgiving and full of love and compassion.
Francisc's clairvoyance was another of his gifts. He warned with all his might King Ferrante of Naples of the exact date in 1480 that Otrato would be attacked by the Turks. The apparently arrogant king ignored Francis.
Unfortunately, the holy man foresaw precisely what then happened: Turk invaders entered the cathedral in Otrato after a mass and murdered hundreds of Catholics, including children, women, and old men, and tortured and killed the priests and Archbishop Stefano Pendinelli. The Turks also rounded up all the men over age 15 and gave them an ultimatum: renounce your religion and join the Turk’s religion or die. Led by Antonio Primaldo, all 800 faithful Catholics refused, and were beheaded.
Finally understanding, King Ferrante with other leaders marshaled the troops, and the invaders were pushed back and out of the land.
This, it has been said, saved the western world from being conquered.
The power to raise the dead was given to Francis of Paola.
When his beloved nephew Nicholas died, he brought him back to life. The young man thereafter was a friar in the Minim order, whereas before his death, his mother, Francis’s sister, had refused to allow that. Francis is said to have raised five other people from the dead.
What’s more, when his beloved lamb Martinello, and his beloved trout Antonella, in separate incidents, were murdered for food by people who didn’t realize the animals were pets, Francis brought both animals back to life - even after they had been chopped up or devoured.
Francis also had the ability to self-heal; after a severe injury he rested for many days until his body was completely back to normal.
Healing the sick was another of the numerous miracles of Francis.
Against his desire to remain where he was, Francis was told by
Pope Sixtus IV to relocate to France; this was at the request of King Louis XI.
At that time, the eastern side of France was ravaged by plague. People were not dining out or shopping for groceries, but it’s said, they were sickly or dropping in the streets, and in some towns more than half the residents succumbed to the plague.
Wherever Francis went, crowds came out for healing, and he healed them. Filled with compassion, he even healed every person in a hospital by making the sign of the cross.
King Louis XI had a reputation for tyranny, which was not pleasing to Francis.
The royal had suffered a stroke and was paralyzed, and his speech was impaired.
Unluckily for the king, Francis would not heal him. Instead he told the king to focus on healing his soul, and get ready to go to the next world. The king is said to have on his knees begged “The Holy Man”, as he called Francis, for healing, but the humble hermit explained to the king that only God chose whom Francis was allowed to heal.
The ruler known as “the spider” tried lavishing Francis with what the monarch assumed were temptations to The Holy Man, from elaborate meat and fish dishes, to gifts of gold, and fancy living quarters in the castle Plessis - all of which Francis refused. Instead, Francis wanted only to have time alone to pray and to sleep on a board or the floor with a rock for his pillow.
Evidently Francis and the tyrant king over time established a relationship. At the end of his life, the king seems to have repented, instructing his son who would become king, and his daughter Anne who would have powers about equal to those of a queen, to lessen taxation on the people and otherwise treat them better than he had.
King Louis is said to have died in the saint’s arms. Anne, grateful to Francis, whom he also guided, had a church built in his honor.
The humble native of Paola was welcomed by Pope Sixtus IV,
even inviting the humble holy man Francisco to sit beside him.
They would meet privately several times, and it’s believed to not only discuss spirituality but politics. It’s said the advice of Francis to the king of France and of Naples, as well as what he told the pope, helped the geopolitical world.
What Francis wanted from the pope was his approval of the all-plant diet (vegan) for the Minims.
The pope would not approve, which greatly disappointed Francis. Moved by God, Francis prophesized, pointing at the pope’s nephew, saying the young man, Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere, would one day be pope, and he would sanction the diet.
That’s exactly what Pope Julius II did in 1505.
Francis also prophesized that the son of Lorenzo de Medici would become pope and make Francis a saint, which he did in 1519, just a few years after the death of the holy man.
He passed away peacefully, after praying and confessing trespasses he was prepared to meet his maker. Several churches and monasteries in a few countries of Europe were dedicated to Francis, and the Minim other grew.
On a side note: It is known one of the Minim friars, Father Boyl, was on a voyage with Columbus to the new world of America. The friar became an apostolic delegate, and advocated for charitas.
The Minim order still exists in 2021 but only has three monasteries as over time others were destroyed or went out of use. A lay person order also exists today, and a few churches in America are named for Saint Francis of Paola and at least one society exists.
It’s said the saint still to this day does miracles.
The world is again in turmoil, perhaps somewhat similar to as it was at the time of the birth of Francis. His charitas is needed in 2021, likely many people would agree.

Dozens of books in several languages have been written about Saint Francis of Paola. The only one in English is “St. Francis of Paola: God’s Miracle Worker Supreme”(1976) by Gino J. Simi and Mario M. Segretti, who stated in their book they would like to write the definitive biography, yet they wrote a fact-filled, fascinating, invaluable account of the saint’s outstanding life.

"So celebrated and revered  and well-loved was Saint Francis even centuries after his death, that he was remembered by two masters, composer Franz Liszt and artist Peter Paul Reubens, who seemed inspired, perhaps compelled, to create pieces that honor the Holy Man. Such works of genius is the art of the masters, one might wonder if the creators were hoping people of the future might take notice of the feeling and beauty of the music and the painting and dwell on the life of the great saint.

Liszt Legend 2 St Francis Walking on the Water Horowitz Rec 1947 

composed by Franz Liszt (1860s-1870s)

The Miracles of Saint Francis of Paola - painting (1627-1628) by Peter Paul Rubens 


If you’re interested in St. Francis of Paola, we would be happy to hear from you.

​K. Iacobbo freelance reporter, creativity coach & instructor, award-winning writer-filmmaker specializes in media and teaching about Italians, history, animals, film, 20thC art, biography, vegetarianism, and other topics. If you would like to learn more, and or about Saint Francis of Paola: 401-339-0131 (leave your number), This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; providencelyceum.com/saintfrancisofpaola
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History of Vegetarianism

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History of Vegetarianism

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The story of IVU's attempts to communicate with its members

Compiled by John Davis, IVU Manager and Historian

The first communications from IVU to its members and supporters were done entirely by the individual Society hosting each Congress, IVU had no funds of its own until 1913 when the first General Secretary was elected. But that turned out to be the last Congress for 10 years.

From the report from the 1923 Congress, held in Sweden:

The Hon. General Secretary of the International Vegetarian Union, Miss Mathilde Hompes (Manchester), read a full report on the work of the Union, . . . . During the long gap from 1913 to 1923, we could do very little, but the members of Committee have not lost touch. We have kept up a fairly lively exchange of opinions by correspondence, and have from time to time published any matters which we deemed of sufficient importance, in the organs of the various Vegetarian Societies. . . .

INTERNATIONAl. CORRESPONDENCE. The Esperantist Delegates asked that the organ Vegetarano should become the organ of the International Vegetarian Union. After some discussion the matter was left for the Committee to decide later. It was resolved that:- The General Secretary should issue a short bulletin every three months.

General Secretary : Miss Hompes expressed her desire to retire. . . . Miss Ortt was duly elected to the office of Honorary General Secretary of the International Vegetarian Union.

The quarterly bulletin was published as planned, we are not aware of any surviving copies but some brief extracts were reprinted in The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester).

As early as 1923 we have the three main options:

  1. IVU publishes its own bulletin/newsletter/magazine;
  2. member societies are invited to reprint items in their own publications;
  3. another journal is used to include IVU's news.

From the reports of the 1926 Congress, held in London:

From time to time the Hon. Secretary had issued bulletins containing reports of the activities of affiliated societies, and giving the Hon. Treasurer's statement of the financial position.

Miss Ortt intimated that she was not able to continue to act its Hon. Secretary, and her resignation was accepted with keen regret. . . The following officers were elected .. Hon. Secretary, Oluf Egerod, Esq., Denmark.

The reports from the 1929 Congress make no mention of publications. Mr. Egerod became the treasurer and was replaced as General Secretary by Hans Feix of Czechoslovakia. However, the report from the 1932 Congress stated:

It was agreed, purely on the ground of expense, to discontinue the publication of Vegetarano and to issue in its place a duplicated news sheet from time to time. At this juncture the members present expressed their grateful thanks to Mr. Oscar Bunemann for his work as Editor of the magazine.

- which suggests that, at some point, the Esperantists 1923 offer of using their publication as the official IVU news medium had been taken up (option 3). There was no further mention of any publications until IVU was re-formed at the 1947 Congress in England:

Introduced by Mr. J. H. BOLT (Holland), consideration was given to the publication of an international vegetarian magazine, and it was finally agreed that it be a recommendation to the I.V.U. Committee that they take steps forthwith to have I.V.U. news circulated along the following lines :-

(a) The news to be sent in English to a central editor who will edit, duplicate and remit this news sheet to National Societies who will be asked to translate it into their own language and to publish it in full in this language in their magazine.

(b) Each national representative to the I.V.U. to be responsible for the news supplied to the editor.

What they appear to have agreed was not to produce an IVU magazine (option 1), but instead to distribute articles for local publication - back to option 2.

In 1950 IVU appointed a full time salaried General Secretary, Mr. Jon Hanworth Walker, thanks to financial support from a wealthy American woman. The meeting of the Executive Committee on July 17, 1951, minuted:

It was agreed that we aim at producing our own World Magazine at the opportune time in the future, but that the present time was too early for such an important venture. A duplicated bulletin should be used for the present.

- back to option 1. ...

The Rudd Solutions

However the report by Mr. Walker to the 1953 Congress included:

A significant step was that when the proprietors of the international vegetarian magazine World Forum agreed to their excellent publication being used for IVU news, notices, and articles.

- this was confirmed at the meeting of the Executive Committee on October 18, 1953:

The secretary drew the attention of the meeting to the valuable and friendly co-operation given by the proprietors of World Forum stating that free and extensive use of the pages of this excellent magazine was always available and that we were mainly indebted to Mr.Geoffrey Rudd for this invaluable assistance to our work.

This was an independent publication, more correctly titled The Vegetarian World Forum (many issues now online, opens in a new window), edited by Geoffrey Rudd. So now we're back to option 3.

The Forum was further discussed at the meeting of the Executive Committee on May 1-2, 1954:

The position linking the IVU with World Forum was discussed and Mr Rudd - the Founder & Editor of this unique magazine said that he is most happy to place World Forum at the fullest disposal of the IVU.
Secretary stated that if World Forum could be developed & its revenue employed by the IVU this would enable us to employ Mr Rudd fully in IVU work.
Mr Rudd expressed the view that World Forum as a business concern should be quite apart from direct IVU control and finances.

By this time Mr. Rudd was a member of the committee and had become assistant treasurer. The employment of the salaried secretary was terminated in 1956 and he was replaced an unpaid General Secretary. In 1958 Mr. Rudd became the (unpaid) IVU General Secretary.

By 1960 Mr. Rudd was also the (salaried) Secretary of the Vegetarian Society (Manchester) which had combined with the London Vegetarian Society to produce a joint magazine 'The British Vegetarian'. The British Vegetarian report of 1960 IVU Congress, held in Germany began:

THE Proprietors of The British Vegetarian have very kindly agreed to allow The I.V.U. to publish its news and reports in this magazine, and the facility is gratefully acknowledged. Secretaries of Societies affiliated to The I.V.U. already receive free copies as part of the service given to the movement by The Vegetarian Society and The London Vegetarian Society, so it will be greatly appreciated if Secretaries will watch these columns for official announcements and also keep us constantly in touch with all developments in their countries so that a helpful and interesting feature can be published in each issue.

- so we're still on option 3, but now in a different magazine, still under the supervision of Mr. Rudd, and it it did contain many frequent articles about IVU over the next few years (many articles from the British Vegetarian are included in the reports of IVU Congresses in the 1960s - see www.ivu.org/history ). In 1968 Mr. Rudd stood down as General Secretary and was replaced by Brian Gunn-King. The use of The British Vegetarian appears to have gone with Mr. Rudd as reports about IVU suddenly became very sparse.

IVU Newsletter

We have no records of any mass communication with members for the next 11 years. In 1979 Maxwell Lee became the General Secretary. At the meeting of the International Council in May 1980, the minutes record:

The meeting approved the suggestion from the General Secretary that a regular newsletter should be produced to enable him to keep in touch with Members The first issue would appear later in the year and Members were invited to send in suitable news items for it. In addition the General Secretary hoped to develop the link with Members which was available through the "Vegetarian Voice" produced by the North American Vegetarian Society.

- now back to option 1, not used since the 1920s. From the next meeting, in July 1981:

The Hon. General Secretary reported that the newsletter had been used by the Regional Secretary for Australasia in his local information sheet and that the Swiss vegetarians had translated the newsletter and printed much of it in their magazine 'Regeneration'.

A number of messages welcoming the newsletter had been received. Members of the International Council were invited to send in any items they might have for the next issue of the newsletter.

The Council meeting of July 1983 noted:

Members expressed appreciation of the newsletters produced by the General Secretary. It was agreed that they served a valuable service to members.

The meeting of August 1985 gave an alternative offer:

A suggestion from Mr Keith Akers of Washington, D.C. that he and others in his area should produce a newsletter for I.V.U. on a quarterly basis was discussed. It was suggested that it might offend the N.A.V.S. as they included I.V.U. news in their publication. Various views were expressed but it was decided to postpone a decision until the World Congress.

At the meeting of March 1986, they changed their minds:

The Hon. General Secretary reported that he would be happy to accept the kind offer of Mrs Madge Darneille and Mr Keith Akers to undertake the production of the I.V.U. Newsletter. The International Council agreed that it would be willing to pay the reasonable expenses for this and expressed gratitude for the offer.

- this appears to be a specific IVU Newsletter produced in the USA, rather than including some IVU news in another publication.... the meeting of August 1987 minuted:

Hon. General Secretary's Report The General Secretary reported his appreciation of the work being done on the Newsletters by Mrs Darneille and Mr Akers.

IVU Newsletter: It was agreed to discuss the matter at the Toronto Congress. Mr. Akers indicated he might not be able to continue to help in its production. It was emphasised that information should be sent in if a successful newsletter is to be produced.

The minutes give no indication of what happened for the next few years but, by the Council meeting of January 1993 we're back to the UK:

It was reported that the IVU Newsletters were still being sent to some societies and individuals who did not reply at all. This was in line with an earlier decision of the International Council. It was agreed that this should cease where there was a lack of response over a period of time. There were favourable comments about the Newsletter and it was agreed that we should aim to move towards four issues per year.

The Hon. General Secretary indicated the problems he had with a printer and the fact that the present computer system was not able to operate a desk top publishing system for the Newsletters. It was agreed that a desktop publishing system and a good printer, possibly a laser printer, should be purchased. The cost was left open and the Hon. General Secretary agreed to seek the best deal possible.

The meeting of the International Council in July 1995 minuted:

It was agreed that the Hon. General Secretary should be asked to include a statement in the IVU newsletter indicating the various reports etc. that were available from the Research Officer of the Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom.
It was felt that it was desirable to resuscitate SCIVU [Science Council of IVU] but that the name of the organisation should be The Scientific Committee of the International Vegetarian Union. The Hon. General Secretary was asked to put an article in the Newsletter about the possibilities for such a development.
[re regional reports] Due to the lack of time, it was agreed that the Hon General Secretary should consider giving other reports in summary in a future newsletter if they are sent to him.

The Age of the Internet

In December 1995 the IVU website was created to further the aims of mass communication and attracted 1,000 page views in the first month online (in 2009 it attracts about 1.5 million page views per month). The newsletters produced by Maxwell Lee, at two or three month intervals during 1995/6 are available online at www.ivu.org/news/magazine.html.

At the July 1996 Council meeting, the General Secretary's report mentioned: " The increasing importance of the internet for communication was leading to a growing need for IVU to lead the way and to take some responsibility for the Vegetarian Pages which were becoming more and more popular." [Vegetarian Pages was the major website at that time, now largely defunct].

In 1996 Francisco Martin became IVU General Secretary and produced 3 issues of a more substantial, glossier, magazine up to the summer of 1998. The full contents of these issues can also be found at www.ivu.org/news/magazine.html.

The September 1997 meeting of the International Council commented: "The General Secretary was congratulated on the quality of the newsletter. It was agreed that its value in promotional and recruitment terms justified the cost of producing it. New members received a newsletter straight away. Although sales revenue was not great new membership subscriptions were generated."

In February 1997 the 'ivu.org' domain was registered.

In December 1998 the IVU webmaster started a monthly email newsletter, IVU Online News. Apart from a few of missed issues this was sent to up to 2,000 readers every month until 2006. Subscription is public but only news by or about IVU members and supporters was normally included.

Shortly after Online News began, IVU also took over the running of the 'veg-news' list, now called 'ivu-veg-news'. This has news items forwarded from the many online newspapers around the world by any of the list members. This is open to the public and currently has about 450 subscribers, most of them activists running other magazines or newsletters, either in print or online, and many of them re-use the news items in their own publications. There have also been a couple of attempts to create a 'syndicated' email list, whereby original articles can be sent to editors of publications produced by IVU member societies for their own use. This has met with limited success.

The ivu-sci email group replaced SCIVU in 1999, and is open to scientists and all editors of IVU member society publications. This has removed the need for scientific articles to be distributed by print & post. It currently has about 140 subscribers.

There are also many other ivu email discussion groups with several thousands subscribers between them, many carrying local or specialist news items.

In January 1999 Paul Turner was appointed IVU magazine editor and produced 5 issues of IVU News up to the summer of 2002. Most of the contents of these issues are also linked from www.ivu.org/news/magazine.html .

At its July 2000 meeting, in Toronto, the International Council had some discussion about the magazine:

Paul Turner discussed the production of the IVU magazine and reviewed areas of difficulty. He suggested we have a theme for each issue; new and regular contributors (such as Rae Sikora and Dr. Claus Leitzmann); a letters page would be included; a Q & A section; more advertising; and member society contributions.
The next issue might have the theme of local and regional organizations. The Regional Coordinators should submit their reports for the upcoming issue.
Paul requested more regular input from Council members and more local and regional societies' reports. It was agreed that Gerry, Tina, and Saurabh would prepare a report on the Congress for the next issue.

At the 2002 Congress a new magazine editor was appointed, but no further issues were ever produced.

In 2005 the International Council decided to produce an Annual Report, to be printed and posted to all members and supporters. This was commenced with the 2006 report and there were plans to continue in this way, but they never materialised.

In 2006 George Jacobs took over as editor of IVU Online News and expanded the content whilst maintaining more regular publication than had been previously achieved. It also moved to becoming primarily web based, but with the email version going to those requesting it - all these issues are online at www.ivu.org/news/online . The success of these editions has ended any further discussions about printing and posting news - IVU news is now fully online.

In 2009 IVU added a new database for news at - www.ivu.org/news - this opens up further possibilities for the future...

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Ancient Greece and Rome

 
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History of Vegetarianism

Some Notes on the History of IVU
Compiled by John Davis, IVU Webmaster

How many went....??
Attendees at IVU World Vegetarian Congresses since 1908

1908 Dresden : about 20 visitors, plus a few more from Dresden.

1909 Manchester: no numbers but seems to have been a few more, they met in a restaurant so obviously not huge.

1910 Brussels : no numbers but seems to have been slightly more again.

1913 The Hague : "Over a hundred assembled" for the opening reception

1916 Paris - cancelled due war

1923 Stockholm : "over thirty foreign delegates" plus Swedish guests.

1926 London : no numbers during the week but on two days lunch was in local restaurants suggesting modest numbers, but the Saturday evening social had "about 150".

1929 Czech Rep.: "considerably more than five hundred people listened to some of the principal speeches"

1932 Berlin : "reception organised by the Berlin Vegetarian Society was attended by about four hundred people . . the number of visitors from outside Germany being about two hundred";

1935 Denmark (moved at short notice from Zurich) : "200 visitors in residence at the School" ; "evening festival over 200 Congress members and guests" ; "one hundred were originally expected, . . . the booking gradually grew to two hundred"

1938 Norway (moved at short notice from Bulgaria) : "some ninety delegates and visitors" . Travel around Europe was getting very difficult by this time.

1941 England - cancelled due war
1944 - Holland - cancelled due to war

1947 England : photos indicate about 70. Severe food rationing still in force in England.

1950 Holland : the mid-Congress day trip required "two fifty-seater single deck buses" suggesting 100 from outside Holland, presumably more from Holland.

1953 Sweden : "20 nations represented", "Coach loads" went on the trips.

1955 Paris, France : "Over a hundred delegates stayed in the University and surrounding hostels," presumably plus more locals from Paris.

1957 India : no numbers, but: "The inauguration in Bombay was held in a colourful flat-roofed durbar tent - at least two acres in extent - with seating accommodation for 5,000, and a vast food exhibition with products and speciality dishes from all over India." The report implies large numbers in all four cities. A report from the next Congress also mentioned 5,000 in India.

1960 Hamburg : "In the evening a Festival Banquet was held at the Maschseegaststatten when about 350 enjoyed the magnificent views over the lake "

1963 Barcelona : no numbers

1965 England : "Among the 350 people taking part . . . - there had been about 600 applications to attend the Congress and it was with great regret that so many had to be refused through lack of space - we had committed ourselves some two years before to this, the largest conference centre we could find, thinking that we were taking a great risk in guaranteeing 200 delegates, an estimate based on previous congresses.

1967 India : "One of the outstanding events of the Congress was the Vegetarian Youth Session which was attended by more than 2,000 students." ; "The Deputy Prime Minister of India opened the Bombay Sessions at the Cricket Club of India and the occasion was attended by more than 3,000 people." ; "A religious gathering of 2,000 people was held at Chowpatty Beach".

1969 Israel : we have a verbal report that 'only about 90 people attended' probably due to the political situation in Israel at the time. The Congress was almost cancelled completely.

1971 The Netherlands : "There were 290 delegates from 26 countries"

1973 Sweden : no numbers, but seems to have been well attended.

1975 USA : "1500 vegetarians from across the world gathered at the University of Maine" ; "1,400 (plus) participants meeting for simultaneous lectures and events in up to 26 halls by over 100 speakers giving 120 items, events, etc."

1977 India : "Over the next 17 days Congress participants attended further sessions in Agra, Jaipur, Varanasi, Calcutta, Madras, Bangalore and Bombay in halls holding anything up to 1500 people from 15 countries or more."

1979 England : " 400 plus participants from some 20 nationalities"

1982 Germany : "Six hundred or so vegetarians from over 20 societies"

1984 USA : "350/400 people"

1986 Yugoslavia : "In all over 200 people attended."

1988 Mexico : cancelled for administrative reasons

1990 Israel : no numbers, but verbal reports suggest it was relatively small.

1993 India : no reports available

1994 Holland : very limited reports, no numbers

1996 USA : "More than 800 participants from 21 countries" - but this was moved from Sydney, Australia at short notice to be combined with the NAVS Summerfest. Many of the attendees were already booked NAVS.

1999 Thailand : "over 450 visitors with 400 of them Thais" verbal reports suggested nearer 200 non-Thais and 400 Thais.

2000 Toronto : "more than 500 attendees from 20 different countries." No details of how many of the 500 were day visitors from Toronto. Another report says "More than 300 participants from 20 nations" ; another referred to "a thousand vegetarians".

2002 Edinburgh : "brought together over 100 vegetarian societies and 300 participants"

2004 Brazil : "700 subscribers from 35 different countries and 2000 all together – about 1000 came to the Veg Fashion Show – including the dean of University and about 300 come to the Cruelty Free Fair – both of witch were free of charge."

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