Franciscan Spirit Blog

Lent with the Saints: Isidore the Farmer

Isaiah 55:10–11; Psalm 34:4–5, 6–7, 16–17, 18–19; Matthew 6:7–15

An old joke defines a farmer as someone “outstanding in his field.” St. Isidore the Farmer not only stood out for his work in tilling the soil but was also a deeply prayerful man.

Today’s First Reading uses images familiar to farmers. Isaiah describes the fertility of the word of God, comparing its power to that of the rain and snow in watering the earth, allowing it to bear fruit, producing seed for the sower and bread for the hungry.

Isidore lived from 1070 to 1130 in the vicinity of Madrid, Spain, where he worked on the estate of a wealthy landowner. He was generous to the poor, helping to feed them, and sensitive to the care of beasts of burden. But it is his spirit of prayer that is remembered—whether rising early to pray in church or praying as he plowed his fields. He is honored today as patron of Madrid and of the U.S. Bishops’ Rural Life Conference.

Legend has it that Isidore’s coworkers grumbled when he was late for work because he had stayed in church praying; the tales go on to relate how angels then came to take up the slack in his work. We may have trouble finding time this Lent to pray. Isidore can teach us that it’s possible to find the time for prayer in the midst of a busy life.

Today’s Action

Decide how you will make time to pray this Lent.


Word enfleshed, be fertile and fruitful in us,
that we may come to know how you reveal the Father,
and come to fulfill the divine will on earth as it is in heaven.

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