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Thursday 23 May |
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Saint of the Day: St. Isidore the Farmer

Patron Saint of Farmers and Day Laborers


© Wolfgang Sauber CC

Laborer (ca. 1080-1130)

His life

+ We know very little of the life of Saint Isidore, who spent most of his life serving as a peasant-farmer in the service of a wealthy landowner near Madrid, Spain.

+ A devout man, Isidore would visit local churches and shrines and was known for praying as he worked in the fields.

+ A famous legend about Saint Isidore relates that one day, when he should have been serving in the fields, he had stayed too long at morning Mass. When the landowner heard that Isidore was not working, he rushed to the fields to catch him only to discover angels guiding the plough and Isidore standing in prayer nearby.

+ Saint Isidore the Farmer died in 1130. He was canonized in 1622 in the same ceremony as Saints Ignatius Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Philip Neri, and Francis Xavier.

+ The relics of Saint Isidore are enshrined in the Church of St. Andrew in Madrid and he is honored as a patron saint of farmers and of the Catholic Rural Life Conference of the United States.

+ The wife of Saint Isidore the Farmer, known as Maria de la Cabeza, is also honored as a saint. Her memory is celebrated on September 9 and her relics are enshrined alongside those of her husband.

For prayer and reflection

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest, says the Lord.”—Matthew 11:28

Spiritual bonus

On May 15 we also we remember Blessed Andrew Abellon. A Dominican priest, he served as the prior of the friars’ community in Provence, France. He supported the work of Dominican missionaries and preached missions in the region around the priory and he was also known as a gifted artist, especially honored for his manuscript illuminations. Blessed Andrew died in Aix-en-Provence on May 15, 1450, and devotion to him was approved by the Holy See in 1902.


Lord God,
all creation is yours, and you call us to serve you
by caring for the gifts that surround us.
May the example of Saint Isidore urge us
to share our food with the hungry
and to work for the salvation of mankind.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Liturgy of the Hours)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.

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