St. Isidore of Seville was born in Cartagena, Spain, and was one of four children. His parents were religious and raised their kids to be religious––and they did such a good job that all four children became saints! Isidore’s siblings are St. Leander of Seville, St. Fulgentius of Cartagena, and St. Florentina of Cartagena.
Isidore was educated in the Cathedral school of Seville and, being a good student, he soon learned Latin, and also learned some Greek and Hebrew. Soon, his brother Leander took over his education––and though he also became a saint, he did not treat his little brother very well. Even though he was treated cruelly by his brother, Isidore did actually learn quite a lot. However, one day, he was tired of being treated unfairly by his brother, so he ran away. Away from home, Isidore realized he wanted to keep learning––even at the hands of his brother––so he returned home. Believing Isidore was a flight risk, Leander decided to lock him up in a cell to continue his studies. Isidore didn’t let his relationship with his brother impact his love of learning, and he eventually became known as the greatest teacher in Spain.
Isidore eventually entered the religious life and served as bishop of Seville for 37 years. He made sure to establish a seminary in every diocese of Spain because he wanted others to have access to education just like he did. He also helped convert the Visigoths from Arianism to Christianity.
Isidore’s love of learning eventually translated into his desire and attempt to record all human knowledge. He wrote an encyclopedia called the Etymologies, which served as a popular textbook for nine centuries! The encyclopedia was 448 chapters long in 20 different volumes. He also wrote books on astronomy, geography, history, biography, grammar, and theology. Some sources also say he invented the period, comma, and colon.
Pope Innocent XIII declared St. Isidore a Doctor of the Church in 1722.
St. Isidore of Seville is depicted in bishops’ robes and crozier, and with a large book or stack of books. He is also sometimes depicted with a bee, a beehive, or a swarm of bees.
St. Isidore of Seville is the patron saint of students, the Internet, computer users, computer technicians, and programmers.