St. Isidore, Bishop of SevilleDoctor of the Church
St. Isidore’s two brothers, “Leander, who was greatly his senior, and Fulgentius, became, like himself saints as well as bishops, and of his sisters one was St. Florentina, abbess of many convents…Isidore’s education was entrusted to his brother Leander, who seems to have been a somewhat severe taskmaster.
The system, whatever it may have been, at any rate had good results, for Isidore became the most learned man of his age and, what is even more remarkable in the circumstances, an ardent educationist.
St. Isidore presided over the second Council of Seville in 619 and again over the fourth Council of Toledo in 633, where he was given precedence over the archbishop of Toledo on the ground of his exceptional merit as the greatest teacher in Spain…Many of the enactments of the council emanated from St. Isidore himself, notably the decree that a seminary or cathedral school should be established in every diocese.
St Isidore seems to have foreseen that unity of religion and a comprehensive educational system would weld together the heterogenous elements which threatened to disintegrate his country, and it was mainly thanks to him that Spain was a centre of culture when the rest of Europe seemed to be lapsing into barbarism.… He compiled a sort of encyclopedia, a dictionary of synonyms, a treatise on astronomy and physical geography, a summary of the principal events of the world from the creation, a biography of illustrious men, a book of Old and New Testament worthies, his rules for monks, extensive theological and ecclesiastical works, and the history of the Goths, Vandals and Suevi.”
He lived to be almost eighty years of age. “During the last six months of his life, he increased his charities to such an extent that from morning to night his house was crowded by all the poor of the countryside to see him. St. Isidore was declared a doctor of the Church in 1722…”
May we too remember and meditate on Gaudium et Spes 5: “Advances in biology, psychology, and the social sciences not only bring men hope of improved self-knowledge; in conjunction with technical methods, they are helping men exert direct influence on the life of social groups,”