Image: Saint Isidore of Seville
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)
On April 4, the Church celebrates Saint Isidore of Seville, the patron saint of the Internet and the author of the first encyclopedia.
A Confessor, Doctor of the Church, and Bishop of Seville, Isidore was born in Cartagena, Spain, 560 and died in Seville, Spain in 636. He was younger brother to Saint Fulgentius of Astigi and Saint Florentina and succeeded his brother, Saint Leander, a monk, to the See of Seville in 599.
He began as a poor student, but he turned his problem over to God and became one of the most learned men of his time. During his episcopacy he devoted his time and energy to promoting science and establishing schools and convents. He presided over the synod of Seville, 619, and the synod of Toledo, 633. He was a prolific writer whose literary works included: a dictionary, an encyclopedia, a history of Goths, and a history of the world beginning with creation.
He is the patron saint of computers, computer technicians, computer programmers, and the Internet. His symbols are bees and a pen.
So, how does Saint Isidore of Seville become the patron saint for the Internet? The Observation Service for Internet, who drew its mission from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, researched the Internet and related technologies to select a patron saint that best reflects the concerns and ideals of computer designers, programmers and users. The saint chosen by The Observation Service for Internet was Saint Isidore. “The saint who wrote the well-known “Etymologies”, gave his work a structure similar to that of the database. He began a system of thought known today as ‘flashes;’ it is very modern, despite the fact that it was discovered in the sixth century.
Saint Isidore of Seville Quotes
Prayer purifies us, reading instructs us. Both are good when both are possible. Otherwise, prayer is better than reading.
If a man wants to be always in God’s company, he must pray regularly and read regularly. When we pray, we talk to God; when we read, God talks to us.
All spiritual growth comes from reading and reflection. By reading we learn what we did not know; by reflection we retain what we have learned.
Reading the Holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man’s attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God.
The conscientious reader will be more concerned to carry out what he has read than merely to acquire knowledge of it. In reading we aim at knowing, but we must put into practice what we have learned in our course of study.
The man who is slow to grasp things but who really tries hard is rewarded, equally he who does not cultivate his God-given intellectual ability is condemned for despising his gifts and sinning by sloth.
Learning unsupported by grace may get into our ears; it never reaches the heart. But when God’s grace touches our innermost minds to bring understanding, his word which has been received by the ear sinks deep into the heart.
– from Book of Maxims by Saint Isidore of Seville
Prayer to Saint Isidore of Seville
Almighty and etenal God who has created us in thine 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 jounreys 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. Father we ask you this, through Christ our Lord. Amen
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