Patron Saint of Internet Users
(c.560 - 636)
A Prayer before Logging onto the Internet and the Catholic Online Forum:
Almighty and eternal God,
who created us in Thy image and bade us to seek after all that is good,
true and beautiful,
especially in the divine person of Thy only-begotten Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
Grant we beseech Thee that,
through the intercession of Saint Isidore,
bishop and doctor,
during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee
and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter.
Through Christ our Lord.
Saint Isidore of Seville:
Also known asDoctor of the Church:
•Isidore the Bishop
•Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages
Son of Severianus and Theodora, people known for their piety. Brother of Saint Fulgentius of Ecija, Saint Florentina of Cartagena, and Saint Leander of Seville, who raised him after their father’s death. Initially a poor student, he gave the problem over to God and became one of the most learned men of his time. Priest. Helped his brother Leander, archbishop of Seville, in the conversion the Visigoth Arians. Hermit.
Archbishop of Seville c.601, succeeding his brother to the position. Teacher, founder, reformer. Required seminaries in every diocese, and wrote a rule for religious orders. Prolific writer whose works include a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a history of Goths, and a history of the world beginning with creation. Completed the Mozarabic liturgy which is still in use in Toledo, Spain. Presided at the Second Council of Seville, and the Fourth Council of Toledo. Introduced the works of Aristotle to Spain.
Proclaimed Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIV in 1722, and became the leading candidate for patron of computer users and the internet in 1999.
•c.560 at Cartagena, Spain
•4 April 636 at Seville, Spain
Patron Saint of Computers and the Internet:
Feastday: April 4, 636
Isidore was literally born into a family of saints in sixth century Spain. Two of his brothers, Leander and Fulgentius, and one of his sisters, Florentina, are revered as saints in Spain. It was also a family of leaders and strong minds with Leander and Fulgentius serving as bishops and Florentina as abbess.
This didn't make life easier for Isidore. To the contrary, Leander may have been holy in many ways, but his treatment of his little brother shocked many even at the time. Leander, who was much older than Isidore, took over Isidore's education and his pedagogical theory involved force and punishment. We know from Isidore's later accomplishments that he was intelligent and hard-working so it is hard to understand why Leander thought abuse would work instead of patience.
One day, the young boy couldn't take any more. Frustrated by his inability to learn as fast as his brother wanted and hurt by his brother's treatment, Isidore ran away. But though he could escape his brother's hand and words, he couldn't escape his own feeling of failure and rejection. When he finally let the outside world catch his attention, he noticed water dripping on the rock near where he sat. The drops of water that fell repeatedly carried no force and seemed to have no effect on the solid stone. And yet he saw that over time, the water drops had worn holes in the rock.
Isidore realized that if he kept working at his studies, his seemingly small efforts would eventually pay off in great learning. He also may have hoped that his efforts would also wear down the rock of his brother's heart.
When he returned home, however, his brother in exasperation confined him to a cell (probably in a monastery) to complete his studies, not believing that he wouldn't run away again.
Either there must have been a loving side to this relationship or Isidore was remarkably forgiving even for a saint, because later he would work side by side with his brother and after Leander's death, Isidore would complete many of the projects he began including a missal and breviary.
In a time where it's fashionable to blame the past for our present and future problems, Isidore was able to separate the abusive way he was taught from the joy of learning. He didn't run from learning after he left his brother but embraced education and made it his life's work. Isidore rose above his past to become known as the greatest teacher in Spain.
His love of learning made him promote the establishment of a seminary in every diocese of Spain. He didn't limit his own studies and didn't want others to as well. In a unique move, he made sure that all branches of knowledge including the arts and medicine were taught in the seminaries.
His encyclopedia of knowledge, the Etymologies, was a popular textbook for nine centuries. He also wrote books on grammar, astronomy, geography, history, and biography as well as theology. When the Arabs brought study of Aristotle back to Europe, this was nothing new to Spain because Isidore's open mind had already reintroduced the philosopher to students there.
As bishop of Seville for 37 years, succeeding Leander, he set a model for representative government in Europe. Under his direction, and perhaps remembering the tyrannies of his brother, he rejected autocratic decision- making and organized synods to discuss government of the Spanish Church.
Still trying to wear away rock with water, he helped convert the barbarian Visigoths from Arianism to Christianity.
He lived until almost 80. As he was dying his house was filled with crowds of poor he was giving aid and alms to. One of his last acts was to give all his possessions to the poor.
When he died in 636, this Doctor of the Church had done more than his brother had ever hoped; the light of his learning caught fire in Spanish minds and held back the Dark Ages of barbarism from Spain. But even greater than his outstanding mind must have been the genius of his heart that allowed him to see beyond rejection and discouragement to joy and possibility.
The 76 years of Isidore's life were a time of conflict and growth for the Church in Spain. The Visigoths had invaded the land a century and a half earlier and shortly before Isidore's birth they set up their own capital. They were Arians—Christians who said Christ was not God. Thus Spain was split in two: One people (Catholic Romans) struggled with another (Arian Goths).Read more about this Saint here, here, here and here.
Isidore reunited Spain, making it a center of culture and learning, a teacher and guide for other European countries whose culture was also threatened by barbarian invaders.
Born in Cartagena of a family that included three other saints, he was educated (severely) by his elder brother, whom he succeeded as bishop of Seville.
An amazingly learned man, he was sometimes called "The Schoolmaster of the Middle Ages" because the encyclopedia he wrote was used as a textbook for nine centuries. He required seminaries to be built in every diocese, wrote a Rule for religious orders and founded schools that taught every branch of learning. Isidore wrote numerous books, including a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a history of Goths and a history of the world—beginning with creation! He completed the Mozarabic liturgy, which is still in use in Toledo, Spain. For all these reasons Isidore (as well as several other saints) has been suggested as patron of the Internet.
He continued his austerities even as he approached 80. During the last six months of his life, he increased his charities so much that his house was crowded from morning till night with the poor of the countryside.
Our society can well use Isidore's spirit of combining learning and holiness. Loving, understanding knowledge can heal and bring a broken people back together. We are not barbarians like the invaders of Isidore's Spain. But people who are swamped by riches and overwhelmed by scientific and technological advances can lose much of their understanding love for one another. So vast was Isidore's knowledge that some moderns have proposed him as the patron of Internet users.
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