The Working Poor

Because much of the church honors Saint Solange on May 10th, I would propose we move the commemoration of an 11th Century saint also honored on the 10th to today: Saint Isidore the Farmer, Commoner and Tiller of the Land.

Saint Isidore is by most accounts utterly unremarkable.

This is, of course, why I like him.

He never penned a single thought that we’ve ever found. He never joined a religious order, never wrote a hymn, and never recorded a mystic vision for historical memory.

Instead he lived his life and tried to live it well, and for this he has my heart.

Born in the late 11th Century in Madrid, Spain, Saint Isidore was born into a working poor household and would die as a member of the working poor. He was a farmer by trade (often called a “husbandsman” having less to do with marital status and more to do with how he raised livestock), tilling the land for a wealthy landowner and working the farm, never fully able to buy the land outright. He married a young woman, Maria, and they had a beautiful baby boy who would not live past his elementary years.

Saint Isidore knew beauty and heartbreak, love and loss…like most of us in this mortal coil. He was you and me.

His shadow darkened his local parish hall weekly, and his prayers were said faithfully. He was known to have a lovely glow about him, despite his relatively meager existence. Some reported that they would see angels working with him in the fields, helping to push his plow.

Though Saint Isidore had very little money, he was known for being generous with his parish, with his family, and with his friends in need. Generosity is, after all, not a matter of means but rather a matter of the heart.

I’ll say that louder for the people in the back.

He died on May 15th in the year 1130, but because May is chock full of commemorations, sometimes they’re rearranged to fit them all in. May 11th is a relatively free day when it comes to saints worth remembering, so I’d suggest we lift up Saint Isidore today.

In his meekness he was mighty.

Saint Isidore is a reminder for me, and should be for the whole church, that the ordinary life is extraordinary, by God.

-historical bits gleaned from Clairborne and Wilson-Hartgrove’s Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals and common sources

-icon is from written in a classic style

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s