Today’s saint was born in Spain to an extremely poor family and, at an early age, began to work in the fields of a wealthy landowner. He married Maria (who is also a saint) and had one son who died as a child. He went to Mass every day before going to work and tradition has it that angels helped him make up for the work that he lost while in church. As he followed the plow and planted seeds, he offered prayers with each seed. In doing this he is an example of how prayer and work can be integrated. St. Isidore is the patron saint of the U.S. National Catholic Rural Life Conference. Let us ask St. Isidore to pray with us today for rural families, that society may recognize the importance of the family farm and the role it plays in educating future generations in good values and care for the land. Our reflections is from the Vatican’s intervention at the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development held in Brazil in 2006.
The Holy See has always given particular attention to the rural world and its values, fully cognizant of the fact that its principal characteristics – its human dimension, direct knowledge of the order, harmony and beauty of nature, satisfaction of labor, generous exchange of services in correct individual conduct and relations with others, to name but a few – are constantly being rediscovered in every part of the world. Moreover, the Holy See realizes how much importance rural society attaches to religion, present in individual and community life, in work and in family life, and above all as a source of moral principles capable of permeating society, providing stability and integrity in the face of the difficulties and setbacks of daily life.