May 14, 2017

St. Isidore, Patron of Farmers and Rural Communities

Saint Isidore the Farmer
May 15th, is the optional memorial of Saint Isidore the Farmer (1070-1130), the patron saint of farmers, laborers. peasants and rural communities. He was married to Maria de la Cabeza, who was herself a saint. Their only son died in childhood. St. Isidore was especially devoted to the poor and to animals. According to tradition, the miracle of the multiplication of food occurred when Isidore fed a flock of starving birds and again when he shared his food with a large group of beggars.

It is perhaps no coincidence that St. Isidore’s feast day occurs during the same month that many farmers, after a long and difficult winter, are finally able to plant their own fields. Although legend tells us that his story is filled with the miraculous appearance of angels plowing fields with him, the lesson that can be drawn for us is no less wonderful: that saints can and do spring from the very soil beneath our feet, and that there is sanctity in physical labor, humility and simplicity of life.

He was born near Madrid, Spain around the year 1070 and died in the same place 60 years later. He spent his life working for a wealthy Spanish landowner named John de Vergas, but it was his prayer life and devotion to God that set him apart from his fellows. They were known to complain that Isidore was often late to the fields, but that was because he “lingered long in church.”

St. Isidore died on May 15, 1130. Many years later, his body was exhumed and found incorrupt. He was canonized in 1622 along with four other Spanish saints. The group, known as "the five saints", included Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint Francis Xavier, Saint Philip Neri, and St. Isidore. Lord God, to whom belongs all creation, and who call us to serve you by caring for the gifts that surround us, inspire us by the example of Saint Isidore to share our food with the hungry and to work for the salvation of all people. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who reigns with you and with the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever.

1 comment :

Marie said...

And oh, by the way. It's amazing to learn that San Isidro Labrador, the humble saint of humble farmers, was canonized on the same day as the "greats" - St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Philip Neri, and St. Francis Xavier! How wonderful!