Historical Events/Stories/Do You Remember? (181)

Friday, 15 May 2015 23:48

San Ysidro, Patron Saint of Farmers

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May 15:  Dia de San Ysidro

The patron saint of Madrid and of farmers, San Ysidro was born to a poor family in 1070. While young, Isidore’s devout parents instilled in him a strong work ethic and deep Christian faith. This was reflected in his life as a farmer on the estate of the wealthy Vargas family (ancestors of Don Diego de Vargas, governor of New Mexico in 1691-1697 and 1703-1704) outside of Madrid, where he was renowned for the hours he prayed each day while still managing to complete all his farming tasks. According to legend, another laborer on the estate complained that Isidore was taking too much time off to pray and was not doing his share of the work. When the overseer investigated this complaint, however, he did indeed find Isidore praying—and an angel taking his place behind the plow.

Although quite poor all his life, Isidore was known for his generosity to both his fellow humans and to animals. It is said that once when he was returning home with a coveted sack of grain he saw some birds foraging for scarce food. He punctured the sack and allowed the grain to escape, but when he arrived home it was full again. Another legend recounts that his wife, María, insisted that he work one Sunday rather than attend Mass. Isidore agreed and the Lord subsequently threatened him, first with torrential rains, then with a plague of locusts, but was not successful in getting him to go to church. In the end, it was the threat of a bad neighbor that got him to abandon his plow and attend Mass. When he returned home, however, his wife was not angry because an angel had guided the plow in his stead.

Isidore was canonized as San Ysidro Labrador in 1622 for the many miracles associated with him. His wife, to whom miracles are also attributed, was canonized soon after as Santa María de la Cabeza. Devotion to San Ysidro spread to the Americas, and in New Mexico, the Saint became an important part of local lore and agrarian life.

Thanks to Maria Montez-Skolnik


Sunday, 28 September 2014 17:21

Elk Mountain

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