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Saint Isidore the Farmer
[In the diocese of the United States]
Optional Memorial
May 15th

Francisco Goya


Also known as Saint Isidore the Laborer. A Spanish day laborer; born near Madrid, about the year 1070; died May 15, 1130, at the same place. He was in the service of a certain Juan de Vargas on a farm in the vicinity of Madrid. Every morning before going to work he went to Mass at one of the churches in Madrid. One day his fellow-laborers complained to their master that Isidore was always late for work in the morning. Upon investigation, so runs the legend, the master found Isidore at prayer, while an angel was doing the ploughing for him. On another occasion his master saw an angel ploughing on either side of him, so that Isidore's work was equal to that of three of his fellow-laborers.

He was married to Maria Torribia, a canonized saint, who is venerated in Spain as Maria della Cabeza, from the fact that her head (Spanish, cabeza) is often carried in procession especially in time of drought. They had one son, who died in his youth. On one occasion this son fell into a deep well and at the prayers of his parents the water of the well is said to have risen miraculously to the level of the ground, bringing the child with it, alive and well. Hereupon the parents made a vow of continence and lived in separate houses. Forty years after Isidore's death, his body was transferred from the cemetery to the church of Saint Andrew.

He is said to have appeared to Alfonso of Castile, and to have shown him the hidden path by which he surprised the Moors and gained the victory of Las Nevas de Tolosa, in 1212. When King Philip III of Spain was cured of a deadly disease by touching the relics of the saint, the king replaced the old reliquary by a costly silver one. He was canonized by Gregory XV, along with Saint Ignatius, Francis Xavier, Teresa, and Philip Neri, on March 12, 1622. Saint Isidore is widely venerated as the patron of peasants and day-laborers. The cities of Madrid, Leon, Saragossa, and Seville honor him as their patron.

(Principal source - Catholic Encyclopedia - 1913 edition)

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, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.

Readings are taken from the Common of Holy Men and Women.

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