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St. Isidore the Farmer

St. Isidore the Farmer by Julie Lonneman

Artist Narrative:

St. Isidore, a peasant and day laborer, spent his life working on the estate of a wealthy landowner from Madrid. Each morning he rose early to attend Mass before working in the field, and spent the day in prayer as he labored. He was known for his love of the poor and for his great concern for the proper treatment of animals. Isidore is the patron saint of farmers. In many rural communities, he and his wife, St. Maria Torribia, are venerated with processions in which the fields are blessed.

His feast day is May 15.

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St. Isidore the Farmer

1070-1130 

Isidore was born to very poor yet very pious Catholic parents in Madrid, Spain. His parents were unable to support him when he was a youth and sent him to work for a wealthy landowner, John de Vergas (He ended up working for him for the rest of his life). 

He married a very religious woman named Maria Torribia (also known as Maria de la Cabeza). She, like Isidore became a saint. They had one son who died unexpectedly as a child. Their grief inclined them to believe their son's death to be a sign from God and consequently vowed to live a life of perfect continence. 

Isidore frequented Holy Mass every morning but often reported to work late. Late, though he was, his plowing was nevertheless accomplished by angels that resulted in three times more productivity. His coworkers and his boss witnessed such miraculous events and accorded Isidore with great respect. 

St. Isidore loved the poor and loved the animals. The miracle of the multiplication of food occurred when Isidore fed a flock of starving birds and on another time when Isidore shared his food with a large group of beggars. 

Isidore died on May 15, 1120 at 60 years of age and was canonized in 1622 along with four very notable Spanish saints. The group, known as "the five saints", included St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis Xavier, St. Phillip Neri, and St. Isidore. His body has been found incorrupt. His memorial is celebrated on May 15th on the Roman Calendar. 

St. Isidore is known as the patron of Madrid, Spain as well as Leon, Saragosa, and Seville. He is also considered the patron of farmers, peasants, day laborers, and rural communities. Lastly, he is the patron of the United States National Rural Life Conference. 

Born: c.1070 at Madrid, Spain 

Died: May 15, 1130 

Canonized: 1622