May 15: Feast Day of St. Isidore the Farmer

“In March 1622, five great saints were canonized together. They included St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Philip Neri. The fifth, St. Isidore, stood apart. He founded no order; he accomplished no great deeds (apart from tilling the land).

He was, in fact, a simple farm worker, born in Madrid, who spent his entire working life in the service of the same wealthy landowner. With his good wife, Maria, he bore one son, who died in childhood. He knew the hardships, the toil, and sorrows of all farmworkers then and since. And he displayed the simple though profound faith so common to campesinos the world over. He attended Mass daily and prayed continuously as he worker the fields. In Isidore’s case, however, his faith was attended by visible signs and wonders. It is reported, for example, that angels were seen assisting him as he plowed.

Isidore was famous for his generosity toward those even poorer than himself. His table was always open to the indigent, while he lived on the scraps left over. His kindness extended to animals. One winter day he was so moved by the sorrowful noise of some hungry birds that he opened the sack of corn he was carrying and poured out half its contents. Though witnesses scoffed at his prodigality, later, at the mill, the bag was found miraculously to be full.

Other similar stories are told of this holy peasant, who dies May 15, 1130.”

from Give Us This Day: Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic