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Gardener, cook and saint: The humble witness of Bl. Isidore De Loor

BL ISIDORE DE LOOR
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Isidore believed every task he was given, however simple, was the will of God.

Holiness doesn’t always entail extraordinary visions, miraculous healings or profound spiritual writing. Sometimes, it just means being a good gardener who is obedient to the will of God.

Such was the life of Bl. Isidore De Loor, also known as “the Brother of the Will of God.” He was born in 1881 in Belgium to a pious farm family. After completing his education he continued to work on the family farm and enjoyed it. Over time he felt called to the religious life and eventually entered the Passionists. By nature he was shy and reserved, but impressed his superiors through his hard working habits.

Isidore developed a strong interior life and was always obedient to his superiors. Whatever task was assigned to him, Isidore accepted everything as from the hand of God. He had a generous heart with a cheerful disposition. Even when cancer invaded his body and made it difficult for him to fulfill his duties, he did everything as before and offered his assistance to anyone who needed it.

The cancer continued to spread and he soon understood that he would pass from this life to the next. A letter from a fellow Passionist describes his final hours.

He quietly, cheerfully bore with the steadily increasing pain until one night between Wednesday and Thursday his Superior said: “Brother Isidore, now I give you permission to go to Heaven.” Full of joy he raised his hands and said quietly “To Heaven! Yes, to Heaven!” About one o’clock he asked for the Religious to come in. He was seated in an arm-chair to ease the pain a little. He begged pardon for all the trouble he had caused the Religious and promised to pray for them in Heaven. “Take courage Br. Isidore, we are going to heaven,” his Superior told him. “O Yes,” he replied … Fifteen minutes before he died all his sufferings ceased. Then quietly, submissively, as he had lived, with scarcely anyone noticing it, he died.

His simplicity, humility and charity were inspiring to many and it didn’t take long for the formal process of his canonization to begin. In 1984 Pope John Paul II beatified Isidore and praised him for his many virtues.

In Blessed Isidore De Loor we are given to contemplate above all the face of the suffering Christ, in whom the infinite love of God is revealed. The new blessed was able to grasp the supreme and absolute value of God’s will, and committed himself to accomplishing it in his own existence with love and trust, following the example of Jesus Christ, who always moved, even when it came to taking up the cross, to do what was pleasing to the Father. Such was the docility and promptness with which Blessed De Loor gave himself entirely to the will of the Lord, to follow Jesus crucified and resurrected, to be called “brother of the will of God.” Affected by one of the most common diseases of our century, cancer, Brother Isidore prepared himself for death with the same docility with which he had lived.

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