Today is the feast day of Saint Isidore the Farmer.
Even though in this modern age many don’t work on farms, we can still pray to Saint Isidore. Are you a gardener? Are animal rights near and dear to your heart? Do you want to show love towards the poor? Are you grieving the loss of a child? Saint Isidore is a person who suffered the pangs of losing a child young and took good care of the animals on the farm. He was a charitable and kind man also to the poor. Now, let’s take a closer look at his life.
Saint Isidore the Farmer’s Life
Like the Lord our Savior, Saint Isidore came from humble beginnings. During his life, he worked as a laborer for a nobleman and wealthy landowner by the name of Juan de Vargas. Juan de Vargas’s home was located directly outside of the city of Madrid and Isidore would work for him for the rest of his life. He eventually went on to marry a maidservant by the name of Maria Torribia (known as Maria de la Cabeza, who interestingly enough also is celebrated as a Saint by the Roman Catholic Church). The couple had one child, a son who never grew into adulthood.2
Saint Isidore attended morning Mass every day and often took pilgrimages to local churches and shrines in Spain. It is said that he often spoke with God while he worked the plow in the fields. His fellow laborers often complained about his spending too much time in church and coming too late to the fields.
Isidore showed such love and charity to the poor. Tradition tells us that he would miraculously come by food to give to the poor while he was content eating scraps. He was known also for his kind treatment of animals and advocated for the proper treatment of them.
He was born in 1070 and died on 15 May 1130. He was officially canonized on 12 March 1622 along with Saints Teresa of Avila, Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, and Philip Neri (who are known as “the five Saints” in Spain).
Saint Isidore’s Miracles
Tradition tells us that Juan de Vargas heard the complaints of his workers and sought out Isidore to speak with him. While he was walking one day, Juan suddenly saw angels in the fields working the plow. When the angels weren’t working the plow when Isidore was absent, they plowed alongside him so that double the work was done. Juan believed in faith and saw that Isidore was a good man. Isidore was also known to have saved Juan de Vargas’s daughter as well as a horse who was necessary for the field work.1
Saint Isidore in Sacred Tradition
There are detractors who hold that these miracles didn’t happen. Regardless, Saint Isidore was an upright man who sought God in all things. He was a seeker. He sought God before the Blessed Sacrament. He sought God in his fellow human beings. He sought God in the fields.
There is so much we can learn from this saint. Just like he sought after God in all places, so too can we seek God in any time or place. We can seek God in any situation. God is with us at all times. All we have to do is open our eyes and our heart to Him.
Saint Isidore is the Patron Saint of farmers, farm workers, ranchers, gardeners, rural communities, livestock, and praying for rain. Additionally, he is the Patron Saint of Madrid, Spain; for parents when a child dies; and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.
His symbols are white oxen, a spade, a rake/hoe, and a plough.
God, through the intercession of St. Isidore, the holy Farmer, grant that we may overcome all feelings of pride. May we always serve You with that humility which pleases You, through his merits and example.3
Dear Isidore, you know how common it is to cultivate the land, for you were employed as a farm laborer for the greater part of your life. In your toils, you were blessed to receive God’s help through Angels in the fields.
O Great Saint, help all farmers and gardeners spiritually to see the wonders God has strewn on this earth. Encourage them in their labors and help them to feed numerous people. Amen.
Featured Image: Saint Isidore Catholic Church in Bloomingdale, Illinois by Nheyob. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Note: Saint Isidore’s employer, Juan de Vargas is referred to as Juan de Vargas on Saints Resource and the more anglicized John de Vergas on CatholicCulture.org. I refer to him solely as Juan de Vargas.
- “Isidore the Farmer.” Saints Resource. RCL Benzinger. http://saintsresource.com/isidore-the-farmer
- “Optional Memorial of St. Isidore (USA).” CatholicCulture.org. Trinity Communications. https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/calendar/day.cfm?date=2018-05-15#
- “Saint Isidore, the Farmer.” Catholic.org. Catholic Online. https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=353