St Isidore the Labourer healing oil
The St Isidore the Labourer healing oil is dedicated to the Spanish farmworker known for his piety toward the poor and animals. He is the Catholic patron saint of farmers and of Madrid. His feast day is celebrated on May 15.
Isidore was born in Madrid, in about the year 1070, of poor but very devout parents. He was christened Isidore from the name of their patron, St Isidore of Seville. Isidore spent his life as a hired hand in the service of a wealthy farmer. He shared what he had, even his meals, with the poor. The owner would later make him baliffe of his entire estate of Lower Caramanca.
It was said that he stood two meters (6.5 feet) tall.
Isidore married Maria Torribia. She has never been canonized, pending confirmation by Pope Francis. Isidore and Maria had one son. On one occasion, their son fell into a deep well. However, the parents prayed. The water of the well is said to have risen miraculously to the level of the ground. This brought the child with it. In thanksgiving Isidore and Maria then vowed sexual abstinence and lived in separate houses. Their son later died in his youth.
Isidore died on May 15, 1130, at his birthplace close to Madrid.
In the morning before going to work, Isidore would usually attend Mass at one of the churches in Madrid. One day, his fellow farm workers complained to their master that Isidore was always late for work in the morning. Upon investigation 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 field workers. 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 to quench his master’s thirst.
One snowy day, when going to the mill with wheat to be ground, he passed a flock of wood-pigeons scratching vainly for food on the hard surface of the frosty ground. Taking pity on the poor animals, he poured half of his sack of precious wheat upon the ground for the birds, despite the mocking of witnesses. When he reached the mill, however, the bag was full, and the wheat, when it was ground, produced double the expected amount of flour.
Isidore’s wife, Maria, always kept a pot of stew on the fireplace in their humble home as Isidore would often bring home anyone who was hungry. One day he brought home more hungry people than usual. After she served many of them, Maria told him that there simply was no more stew in the pot. He insisted that she check the pot again, and she was able to spoon out enough stew to feed them all.
On April 2, 1212, after torrential rains had exhumed cadavers from cemeteries in Madrid, his body was discovered to be incorrupt.
When King Phillip III was cured of a deadly disease after touching the relics of the saint. The king replaced the old reliquary with a costly silver one. Also, he instigated the process of his beatification. Throughout history, other members of the royal family would seek curative powers from the saint.
Isidore was beatified in Rome on May 2, 1619, by Pope Paul V. He was canonized nearly three years later by Pope Gregory XV.
In 1760, his body was brought to the Royal Palace of Madrid during the illness of Maria Amalia of Saxony. In 1769, Charles III of Spain had the remains of Saint Isidore and his wife Maria relocated to the San Isidro Church, Madrid.
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