Who is Saint Isidore?
Saint Isidore is the patron saint of farmers and rural communities. Born in Madrid, Spain, in the year 1110, he came from a poor family and spent many years working as a farm hand on the De Vargas estate beginning from his childhood. Isidore was very prayerful and devoted to attending Mass and receiving the Holy Eucharist.
Isidore married Maria, a sweet and pious maid servant and together they had a son who died in his youth. Their deeds and devotion are an inspiration for couples everywhere.
In spite of personal hardships, both Isidore and Maria were generous and willing to help needy neighbors and people living in poverty-stricken areas.
Isidore died on May 15, 1170, a day declared as his feast day. He was canonized on March 22, 1622, the old Roman Rite American feast day. The remains of Isidore and his wife are buried in the main altar of the cathedral of Madrid.
Although Maria was not officially canonized as a saint. She is honored as a saint throughout Spanish countries. Her head is carried in solemn processions during times of drought.
It is certainly meaningful for us Catholics, especially if we belong in a farm family, to l the simple and saintly couple who, like farmers are “partners with God,” in sharing food and shelter with the world.
What Was Saint Isidore known for?
Saint Isidore loved working on the good earth and possessed immense integrity of character. He was diligent and meticulous in the way he carried out his farming practices. Because of his gentleness and compassion, domestic animals were often endeared to him.
Many wondrous things happened to Saint Isidore as he worked on the fields. His Master De Vargas watched two angels help Saint Isidore while he plowed the field.
This is where the saying “St. Isidore plowing with angels does the work of three farmers” originated.
Reflections on the Life of Saint Isidore
The farmer is the steward of the earth and everything on its surface. He works hard on the fields and is not just accountable for himself but also the needs of the community. The farmer must make sure to produce enough for himself and for others that are depending on the fruits of his labor.
Hard work is not enough to work successfully as a steward of the earth. Farmers also need to be sensitive and careful so as not to disrupt or cause significant damage to nature. They need to be compassionate to the animals that help them make their work possible. Being a farmer, therefore, requires patience, perseverance and focus.
We don’t have to be farmers to emulate the life and example of Saint Isidore. As workers, we can find inspiration in the honesty and sensitive way he performs his work.
Great things in life require patience, hard work and devotion. Saint Isidore upheld these qualities in everything that he did and so he is a wonderful role model for when we need motivation to persevere.
Whenever we feel discouraged in our work or feel that our responsibilities are too heavy a burden, we can read and reflect on the life of Saint Isidore. We can get lots of inspiration and insight from his story and life.
Prayer to Saint Isidore
Use this prayer as inspiration if you need help with any areas in your life that require hard work.
Good Saint, we are told that your devotion to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was so great that you would rise before it was light in order to be able to attend Mass before beginning your work in the fields. Obtain for us, we pray you, some of that loving devotion to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There it is that the fruits of our farm labor, bread and wine, are brought and offered to God by the priest. Then, in the consecration, Christ Himself, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, becomes present on our altars under the appearances of this same bread and wine. And in what was the altar bread, He comes to us to be the very food of our souls. If we deeply realize the value and beauty of Holy Mass, we will be very happy to attend as often as we possibly can.
Help us to understand that in the Mass we offer ourselves to God with Christ by the hands of the priest. There we can bring to God all that we do, and offer it to Him in union with His Holy Sacrifice. The oftener we do this now, the happier we shall be hereafter. Good Saint Isidore, bless us and our labors, that we may some day reap the reward of good works with you in heaven. Amen.
Source: “1956 Rural Life Prayerbook” (National Catholic Rural Life Conference)