St. Isadore gives hope to those of us who will never build a church, convert the masses or have beatific visions and yet yearn to lead a blessed life. Isadore was a simple man and following his very modest path, has been recognized as the patron of farmers.

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 who 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 supplying them miraculously with food. He also had a great concern for the proper treatment of animals.

He died May 15, 1130, and was declared a saint in 1622, with Sts. Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, and Philip Neri. Together, the group is known in Spain as “the five saints.”

Isidore is an example of how labor has dignity. Clearly, sainthood does not stem from status; contemplation does not depend on learning; the simple life is conducive to holiness and happiness. Legends about angel helpers and mysterious oxen indicate that his work was not neglected, and his duties did not go unfulfilled.

Perhaps the truth which emerges is this: If you have your spiritual self in order, your earthly commitments will fall into order also.

Adapted by A.J. Valentini from: St. Isidore the Farmer | Franciscan Media. (n.d.). Franciscan Media. Retrieved May 4, 2021, from