Patron saint of farmers celebrated with Sonoran tradition, stew

Jim Griffith, an expert on some of the most fascinating historical people and events in the Southwestern United States, has been on something of a Catholic kick in his regular columns in the Arizona Daily Star, the Tucson daily newspaper.

AZbigJIMThere have been several pieces on Father Eusebio Kino, the Spanish Jesuit who established many of the missions in the region and, as Griffith points out, introduced the native people to cattle and wheat — the makings of a delicious carne asada burrito. (The Star is a secular paper, after all.)

This week he explains the devotion to St. Isidore, patron of farmers and farm laborers, among the people of the Sonoran Desert, which includes much of southern Arizona and the Mexican state of Sonora.

“First, the Who. Isidore (1070-1130) was a pious farm hand in Spain whose boss complained that he spent more time praying than actually working in the fields. One day Isidore was seen praying as usual, while an angel walked behind the oxen and plowed the field for him.

The good saint also had the habit of feeding the birds with his employer’s wheat, after which the sacks of grain would be miraculously replenished. No wonder he became the patron saint of farmers and farm workers!”

He goes on to discuss the traditional observance of St. Isidore’s feast, which often focuses on praying for rain. And he couldn’t resist another food angle, describing a traditional stew made for the saint’s day.

Griffith, former director of the Southwest Folklore Center at the University of Arizona, (now incorporated into the university’s Southwest Center) has written seven books on Southwestern folklore and folklife.

5 Responses

  1. How inspiring*
    Rich and Meat – Bountiful were Fr. Eucebio Kino’s prayers.
    I bet the stew wasn’t bad either =D
    +

  2. “the pressures of drought have resulted in a resurgence of faith, from Christian preachers and Catholic priests encouraging prayer processions to American Indian tribes using their closely guarded traditions in an effort to coax Mother Nature to deliver some much needed rain.” Hmm??

    Mother Nature defined by Webster’s dictionary: “nature personified as a woman considered as the source and guiding force of creation”.

    What are those closely guarded traditions?

    Animism: an·i·mism (n-mzm)
    n.
    1. The belief in the existence of individual spirits that inhabit natural objects and phenomena.
    2. The belief in the existence of spiritual beings that are separable or separate from bodies.

  3. My brother Jim,
    Are you a Native American?

    Do you think if you, authenticly were one, that you would inately possess and there for know the Native American Indian’s cultural practices and thus acknowledge them as your own .?.

    By default, and perhaps by unsympathetic or unsensible outsiders, might see it as a ‘pagan’ form of practice (consistant to the pagan world etc..) and thus is defining and believing these acts as such.

    But yet, someone with a more universal or common sence fram of mind and with a high appreciation upon human dignity would “respect” this practice and simply take it for what it’s worth- A Cultural Native Indian Belief and thus Practice.

    All this can be possible in observing people. All this can be possible yet, less try and “mix” these cultural traditions to Christianity.
    _________________’}WATER & OIL{‘___________________

    No sence in mixing two very distinct poles.. tic..tic. tic. tic. tic. tic. tic…

    God Bless Jim+

  4. JJ, I have seen Holy Water replaced with a burning of sage in healing ceremonies. If it works for them – more power to them but just don’t call it Christian. I’m not going to waste my time explaining the differences of those 2 cultures and the compatablity of them. One is secular at best and blasphemous, superstitions anamism at worst, the other religious founded on scriptural teachings. Each has a different story as to the orignin of man and the universe. At our peril we mix or call them equivalent. PC has been the death of Christian culture. Try saying “Merry Christmas” if you are a school teacher, for instance.

  5. Yes – At our peril, we mix or call them equivalent.

    It would be SENSELESS. (just my point) Agreed Jim.

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