Saint Isidore of Seville

Guardian and Gardener of the Faith

    April 4 is the traditional feast of this holy cleric born in the middle of the sixth century when the Arian heresy was in full force. Like today's remnant, he resisted going along with the crowd and held true to the constituted evangelic traditions and the purity of the orthodox faith despite the pull of the world, the flesh and the devil. In a time regarded as the beginning of the Dark Ages, he beamed the brilliant light of Christ's Truths wherever he could. It brings to mind that nearly fifteen centuries later, God's one True Church and His teachings are being squeezed from the collective consciousness of souls and, other than prayer, the chief means of communicating to so many lost souls is through the phenomenon known today as Social Media which incorporates the internet, texting, cell phones and twitter. It is through these mediums that traditional outlets such as ours has been able to reach out to the four corners of the world as Christ asks and ask the intercession of St. Isidore as...

    This holy Bishop and Doctor of the Church is today regarded by many as the "Patron Saint of the Internet." Needless to say, he knew nothing of the fiber-optic world or the world wide web, but the truths he spread will continue long after high technology has become obsolete for his domain was Christ's and he planted the seeds of the uncompromising Faith in his beloved Spain where he stifled and converted the Arians. He was Saint Isidore of Seville.

    Saint Isidore was born of a noble, religious Hispanic-Roman family at Carthagena in Spain in 560. His two brothers, Leander, Archbishop of Seville, Fulgentius, Bishop of Ecija, and his sister Florentina, are all recognized by the Church as Saints. As a boy Isidore despaired over his poor success in study, and ran away from school. Resting in his flight at a roadside spring, he observed a stone, which had been hollowed out by the slow but constant dripping of water. This lesson convinced him to return, and then, by determined application, no matter how long it would take, he would succeed.

    He went back to his master and with the help of God became, even as a youth, one of the most learned men of the time. He assisted in converting Prince Recared, the leader of the Arian party; and with his aid, though at the constant peril of his own life, expelled that heresy from Spain. Then, following a call from God, he turned a deaf ear to the entreaties of his friends, and embraced a hermit’s life. Prince Recared and many of the nobles and clergy of Seville went to persuade him to come back, representing the needs of the times and the good he could do, and had already done, among the people. No matter how much they pleaded with him, he realized that duty would come in God's time, not man's. It also gave him the necessary opportunity of acquiring the virtue and power which afterwards would make him an illustrious Bishop and Doctor of the Church. Though he was most interested in the monastic rule and its strict observance to which he composed his own rule that was observed faithfully throughout Spain, he was never a monk.

    On the death of his brother Leander, he was called to fill the vacant see. This, he knew, was God calling him to replace his saintly sibling. As a teacher, ruler, founder, and reformer, Isidore labored not only in his own diocese, but throughout Spain, and his influence attained foreign countries. There for forty years he governed the diocese, converting the pagan Visigoths who had embraced Arianism to the Catholic faith. He was loved by all and founded a famous seminary in Seville where he also headed the faculty. It was so successful that in 633 the Fourth Council of Toledo made it mandatory that the same curriculum be established in other schools which would become the benchmark and model for famous universities throughout Europe. He always taught that temptations we would always have for it flattered our fallen nature of pride. He cautioned that though it was wise to listen to others, the faithful soul should always balance temporal wisdom with the divine wisdom infused through the Faith and to beware when temporal voices conflict with the will of God.

    Isidore was an etremely educated man who was also a great historian, having written the History of the Goths and the Book of Etymologies; the latter dealt with word origins helping all understand languages while the former was a compendium of mankind's journey to that time. He died in 636 at the ripe age of 80 and was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Innocent XIII in 1722.

Note: [editor's bold, brackets and italicized for emphasis] Some of the sources taken from: Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 5; The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908).

Feast of St. Isidore of Seville on April 4