Saint Isidore of Seville

4 April

It is hardly believable that a saint from the sixth century could be the patron saint of the Internet and users of the Web! That is exactly what a group of internet users proposed during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II and that is how St. Isidore of Seville has been regarded ever since.
Isidore was born during the year 560 in Cartagena, Spain, the youngest in an influential family of saints and leaders. He had a tough act to follow. Two of his brothers were Bishops and his sister was an abbess of a monastery. His brother, Leander, much older than Isidore, took him under his care for his education, making sure that Isidore would achieve high academic standards, by enforcing very strict measures and punishment.
Leander, no doubt meant well, but Isidore could not endure this treatment and he ran away! He was overcome by a sense of failure by not rising to his brother’s expectations. It is believed that an experience changed Isidore’s attitude to the situation. One time he noticed that while a drop of water did not leave a mark on solid rock, by time it started to leave holes in the rock. This made him realize that by small efforts he could achieve the academic levels expected of him. By time he succeeded in surpassing all expectations!
He returned home and his brother kept him in a cell, probably in a monastery to make sure he would not run away again. There he completed his studies. Eventually, he worked in close relationship with his brother, succeeding him as Bishop of Seville.
During this time, Spain was experiencing a time of great conflict especially within the Church. The Visigoths (German tribes) had invaded Spain about 150 years before Isidore’s time and had in fact established their own territory. As a result Spain was split in two factions because the Visigoths were Arians, Christians who did not believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, while in the other faction were the Roman Catholic believers. It was through Isidore’s incessant efforts and teachings that the Catholic Church in Spain was reunited in its beliefs.
As a Bishop of Seville, he organised synods to discuss and re-organize the function of the Catholic Church in Spain. He supported and protected the monastic life and the monasteries that were thriving in those times while he endeavoured to establish a seminary in every diocese in Spain, promoting the inclusion of the study of arts and medicine in every seminary.
But St. Isidore of Seville continues to be remembered as a great scholar with ‘encyclopedic knowledge’. He continued to write books even when he was advanced in age, succeeding in producing a collection of books on all subjects not only religious. His literary work has been described as ‘a vast storehouse in which he gathered, systematized and condensed all the learning possessed during his time.’ It continued to be used as a textbook, more like an encyclopedia in ‘educational institutions.’
Isidore, the Bishop of Seville has been regarded as the greatest teacher in Spain and described  as a ‘human Wikipedia’!
Before dying, in 636, surrounded by so many poor people he had helped and supported during his life, he gave all his possessions to the poor.  
He is recognized as one of the Doctors of the Church because of his outstanding literary work and teaching to promote the Catholic Faith.

Watch the video of St. Isidore of Seville

As parents and carers we all have good intentions when we strive with our children to succeed and achieve happiness and good positions in life. But it is important for us to acknowledge the difference between encouragement and putting pressure.

We need to realize that our children are not an ‘extension’ of us, perhaps to fulfill hopes that we did not achieve! Without realizing, we might be causing stress by our excessive parental pressure, by comparing them to peers or siblings, not only on their academic performance but also in sports or other activities, even on their appearance.

  • Let us criticise less and praise more for what they do well, and when we need to criticise let us still use positive language suggesting opinions for improvement remaining open for their opinions.
  • -We need to ‘listen’ to what the child is feeling, while communicating our own feelings. These attitudes will augur well for a solid relationship through their teenage years and into adulthood.

Our children are living in a high-tech world!
– Whenever possible let us use the internet with our children especially the very young ones and make sure what the older children are doing online. Do not hesitate to use parental controls and privacy settings.
– With the older children create opportunities to educate them how to use the internet safely: not to share personal information or clicking on buttons that might lead to unwanted connections and to be aware of cyber-bullying.
– Sit down with your children and create a family media plan with suggestions from them. Create guidelines when it is expected for everybody to put away tablets, mobiles, video games, to be able to interact with the family or friends: during family meal times at home or restaurant, during any family activity, when entertaining friends.

Family Prayer Time
With your children browse the Internet with a purpose :
– Search for anecdotes/short films of events relating to the Paschal Mystery that the Church is celebrating during this time of the year.
– Follow with a short discussion and silent prayer as a family.

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.