Isidore the Laborer

Isidore the Laborer

:"San Isidro Labrador" redirects here. For the city in El Salvador, see San Isidro Labrador, Chalatenango."Infobox Saint
name=Saint Isidore
birth_date=c. 1070
death_date=death date|1130|5|15|mf=y
feast_day=May 15 [Roman Martyrology 2001 for 21st-century date; [ Catholic Encyclopedia (1910)] for (same) early 20th-century date]
venerated_in=Roman Catholic Church

caption=St. Isidore the Farmer
birth_place=Madrid, Spain
death_place=Madrid, Spain
beatified_date=May 2, 1619
beatified_by=Pope Paul V
canonized_date=March 12, 1622
canonized_by=Pope Gregory XV
patronage=farmers; day laborers;
prayer=Dear Saint Isidore, you know how normal it is to cultivate the land for you were employed as a farm laborer most of your life. Although you received God's help materially through Angels in the field, all farmers are aided spiritually to see the wonders God has strewn on this earth. Encourage all farmers in their labours and help them to feed many people. Amen.
prayer_attrib=Prayer to Isidore

Saint Isidore the Laborer or the Labourer, also known as Isidore the Farmer, or San Isidro Labrador in Spanish, (c. 1070–May 15, 1130), was a Spanish day laborer known for his goodness toward the poor and animals. He is the Catholic patron saint of farmers and Madrid.


Isidore was born to very poor parents near Madrid, about the year 1070. He was in the service of the wealthy Madrid landowner Juan de Vargas on a farm in the vicinity of Madrid. Juan de Vargas would later make him bailiff of his entire estate of Lower Caramanca. Every morning before going to work, Isidore was accustomed to hearing a Mass at one of the churches in Madrid. One day his fellow-laborers complained to their master that Isidore was always late for work in the morning. Upon investigation, so runs the legend, the master found Isidore at prayer while an angel was doing the ploughing for him. On another occasion, his master saw an angel ploughing on either side of him, so that Isidore's work was equal to that of three of his fellow-labourers. Isidore is also said to have brought back to life his master's deceased daughter, and to have caused a fountain of fresh water to burst from the dry earth in order to quench his master's thirst. St. Isidore married Maria Torribia, a canonized saint, who is known as Santa María de la Cabeza in Spain because her head ("cabeza" in Spanish) is often carried in procession, especially during droughts. Isidore and Maria had one son, who died in his youth. On one occasion their son fell into a deep well and, at the prayers of his parents, the water of the well is said to have risen miraculously to the level of the ground, bringing the child with it, alive and well. Isidore and Maria then vowed continence and lived in separate houses.

Isidore died on May 15, 1130, at his birthplace close to Madrid.When Philip III of Spain was cured of a deadly disease by touching the relics of the saint, the king replaced the old reliquary with a costly silver one.

St. Isidore was beatified on May 2, 1619 by Pope Paul V. He was canonized almost three years later by Pope Gregory XV, along with Saints Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, Teresa of Avila, and Philip Neri, on March 12, 1622.
San Ysidro, California and San Ysidro, New Mexico were named after him.

His master Iván de Vargas's house in Madrid is now a museum with temporary exhibitions on Madrilenian subjects, as well as on the life of the saint.

St. Isidore is widely venerated as the patron saint of peasants and day laborers, as he had been one himself. In 1947, at the request of the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, he was officially named patron of farmers, with a feast day on March 22 in all dioceses of the US, with a proper Mass and Office.

The traditional date of his liturgical feast, which, though not included in the General Roman Calendar has been celebrated for centuries in several countries and dioceses, is May 15. When it was first inserted in the United States calendar in 1947, that calendar had the feast day of Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle on May 15 and other feast days on the following days, with the result that the celebration of Saint Isidore the Farmer was at first assigned in the United States calendar to March 22. With the freeing up of May 15 through the 1969 revision of the General Roman Calendar the United States calendar restored the date of May 15 for celebrating the optional Memorial of Saint Isidore.

Celebrations and festivals

Many towns venerate Isidore and his wife Maria Torribia with processions in which the fields are blessed.

Spain (Canary Islands)

In La Orotava, the greatest celebrations honor Isidore and Maria. The "Dance of "Magos" ("mago" being Spanish for "magician", but also used for "farmer" in Guanche), the "Blessing of the cattle", and finally the "Romería," or pilgrimage, are all celebrated to honor both patrons of this important city of the Canaries.

Celebrations honoring both saints are also held elsewhere on the islands. For years, the Alicantine locality of Castalla has been celebrating the Fair of San Isidro, where numerous companies display their products in a playful and festive atmosphere. A medieval swap meet and mechanical attractions are especially popular.


May 15th is San Isidro Day in Cuz-Cuz, about 5 kilometers from the city of Illapel, Choapa province, in the Coquimbo region of Chile. If the day falls on a Monday, the following Sunday is celebrated. Celebrations begin at noon with a Mass, followed by a procession and Chinese dances.


The residents of San Isidro de Carampá of Ayacucho in the city of Lima celebrate a San Isidro festival. The First Society of San Isidro de Carampá organizes the festival, along with the Butler and the Adornante festivals. In the evening, after the celebration of the Mass, a procession moves to the house of the Adornante. On the next day, Central Day, another Mass is said, this time celebrated by the Butler. Another procession is held, followed by a festival.


Throughout the Philippine archipelago, several feast were celebrated and offered to St. Isidore. Among of them are:
*The Nabas Bariw Festival is celebrated to commemorate the feast day of St. Isidore the Farmer, the patron saint of Nabas, a municipality of Aklan province in the Visayas.It is celebrated annually from May 12 – 15. This celebration showcase the town's hat, mat and other bariw products as well as the town's unique tourism sites and natural attractions.

*Also, May 15th celebrates the fiesta of San Isidro de Labrador in Talavera, Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Talavera is a 1st class municipality in the province of Nueva Ecija, one of the top producers of agricultural goods in the country. Its principal crops are rice, corn, and onions. The province is often referred to as the “Rice Granary of the Philippines". The feast begins a few days before the feast day and is celebrated with a week of festivities, including daily novenas, Masses, processions, entertainment events and a fair (or "perya"). The fiesta is held on the actual day.

*The Pahiyas Festival in Lucban, Quezon

*San Isidro de Labrador was also the parish saint of the town of Mogpog,Marinduque.During his feast day, the town people celebrates the Kangga Festival,which highlights on Filipino farmer's traditions and customs, as well as a thanksgiving ritual for a bountiful harvest.

External links

* [ St. Isadore entry on]
* [ Visitors guide to the Fiestas San Isidro in Madrid


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