Easter: May 15th
Friday of the Sixth Week of Easter; Optional Memorial of St. Isidore (USA)
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Isidore was a Spanish laborer who worked most of his life as a ploughman for a nobleman who lived near Madrid, Spain. Although working many hours a day, he never failed to attend daily Mass, and spend time praying before the Holy Eucharist. He married a maid-servant, Maria de la Cabeza, who was also canonized a saint. They were always willing to help their neighbors and worked with the poor in the city slums. In 1947, he was proclaimed the Patron of the National Rural Life Conference in the United States.
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. John Baptist de la Salle. He was inspired by God to give a Christian education to the poor, he founded the Brothers of the Christan Schools which soon spread throughout the world. In private life he treated himself with extreme rigor. He died in 1719. His feast in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated on April 7.
Historically today is the feast of St. Dymphna, the daughter of a pagan Celtic chieftain and a Christian. She fled from home on the death of her mother to escape the incestuous interest of her father and went to Antwerp accompanied by her confessor, St. Gerebernus, and two companions. They then built an oratory at Gheel where they lived as hermits. Tracked down by Dymphna's father, the two companions and the priest were murdered by his men, and Dymphna was beheaded by her father when she refused to return with him.
Today marks the beginning of the The Novena to the Holy Spirit.
St. Isidore the Farmer
When he was barely old enough to wield a hoe, Isidore entered the service of John de Vergas, a wealthy landowner from Madrid, and worked faithfully on his estate outside the city for the rest of his life. He married a young woman as simple and upright as himself who also became a saint-Maria de la Cabeza. They had one son, who died as a child.
Isidore had deep religious instincts. He rose early in the morning to go to church and spent many a holiday devoutly visiting the churches of Madrid and surrounding areas. All day long, as he walked behind the plow, he communed with God. His devotion, one might say, became a problem, for his fellow workers sometimes complained that he often showed up late because of lingering in church too long.
He was known for his love of the poor, and there are accounts of Isidore's supplying them miraculously with food. He had a great concern for the proper treatment of animals.
He died May 15, 1130, and was declared a saint in 1622 with Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila and Philip Neri. Together, the group is known in Spain as "the five saints."
Patronage: Farmers; farm workers; ranchers; rural communities; Madrid, Spain; National Catholic Rural Life Conference in the United States; death of children; for rain; livestock.
Symbols and Representation: White oxen; spade; hoe or rake; plough.
Highlights and Things to Do:
- St. Isidore (and his wife Maria) are the patrons of the Catholic Rural Life Conference. Read this reflection on St. Isidore, their patron, some ideas to celebrate his feast and Novena to St. Isidore.
Two books we especially recommend: Cooking for Christ by Florence Berger (although we prefer the original 1949 edition; this is an edited version), and Rural Life Celebration Guide.
- Learn more about St. Isidore the farmer.
- Establishing or replenishing a a Mary garden would be an appropriate way to celebrate the combination of the feast of St. Isidore and the month of May, dedicated to Mary.
- Visit mgardens.org to learn more about Mary Gardens.
- There is also a lovely book on Mary gardens printed by St. Anthony Messenger Press called Mary's Flowers: Gardens, Legends and Meditations by Vincenzina Krymow.
- Visit Stokes Marys Gardens.
- Another book by Vincenzina Krymow is Healing Plants of the Bible which explains Biblical gardens and plants.