Q. Has there ever been a canonized saint who was a farmer?
J.K., Des Moines, Iowa
A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D:
There may have been several, but the one who comes immediately to mind is St. Isidore the Farmer, also known as St. Isidore the Laborer. In the United States we may celebrate his optional memorial on May 15.
St. Isidore was a Spanish laboring man. Born near Madrid, around 1070, he lived there until his death, May 15,1130. He served on the farm of a Juan de Vargas. Each morning before going to work he attended Mass in one of the churches in Madrid.
There is a story that once his fellow workers complained that Isidore always came to work late. When his master investigated the charge, he found Isidore at prayer while an angel did his plowing. Another time St. Isidore’s master is reported to have seen two angels plowing with the saint, one angel on either side.
St. Isidore’s wife, Maria Torribia, is also a canonized saint. St. Isidore is the patron of peasants and day laborers, and of the cities of Seville, Madrid, Leon and Saragossa. He was canonized on March 12, 1622, by Pope Gregory XV. He was enrolled among the Church’s saints in very distinguished company. St. Teresa of Avila, St. Ignatius, St. Francis Xavier and St. Philip Neri were also canonized at the same time.