Saint of the Day ~ April 4

SAINT ISIDORE OF SEVILLE (c.560-636), bishop and Doctor of the Church – Patron saint of school children

Today, the universal Church honors Saint Isidore of Seville, an amazingly learned man who was sometimes called “The Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages,” because the encyclopedia he wrote was used as a textbook for study in most schools for nine centuries.

Isidore was born in Cartageña, Spain about the year 560. After his father’s death, while Isidore was still at an early age, he was raised and educated by his older brother Leander, whom Isidore eventually succeeded as the archbishop of Seville. Isidore was a prolific writer on the Scriptures and theology, as well as on the knowledge of his day in the fields of physics, astronomy, history and geography. He also wrote a dictionary of synonyms.

During his episcopate as archbishop, the classic learning institutions of the Roman Empire were being destroyed by the barbarous Visigoths, who were in power in Spain. In an effort to counter this, Archbishop Isidore reunited Spain, encouraging education and the study of law, medicine and the liberal arts.

He eradicated Arianism and other heresies and reinforced religious discipline. He also required seminaries to be built in every diocese, wrote a Rule for Religious Orders and founded schools that taught every branch of learning.

He continued his life of asceticism and religious discipline even as he approached the age of seventy-six. During the last six months of his life, he increased his charities to such a degree that his house was crowded with the poor of the countryside from morning till night. He died from natural causes on April 4, 636 in Seville, Spain.

Archbishop Isidore of Seville was the last of the ancient Christian Philosophers, as he was the last of the great Latin Fathers of the Church. He was undoubtedly the most learned man of his age and exercised a far-reaching and immeasurable influence on the educational life of the Middle Ages.

We commemorate his feastday on April 4.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Isidore of Seville)

“Lord, hear the prayers we offer in commemoration of Saint Isidore. May Your Church learn from his teaching and benefit from his intercession.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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