Blessed Isidore of Saint Joseph, also known as ‘the Brother of the Will of God’ born Isidore de Loor, a lay brother of the Passionist Congregation, born on April 13, 1881 in Vrasene, Belgium; died October 6, 1916 at Kortrijk, Belgium. Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1984.
Isidore de Loor, was born on April 13, 1881, in the small town of Vrasene, located in the diocese of Gent-Gand, in Eastern Flanders. His parents, Aloysius and Camilla had been married for two years when Isidore was born and they were a deeply Christian couple.
Isidore’s education came to an end when he was aged 12 and from then on he joined his father in working on the family’s farm. He grew up to be a devout and hard-working young man and often thought of following a vocation to the religious life.
At a mission given by the Redemptorist Fathers he discussed the matter of his vocation with a priest who advised him to join the Passionists. On April 15 1907 he set off for the Passionist monastery at Ere (which had been founded by Blessed Dominic Barberi). Here the French language was spoken and the Flemish-speaking Isidore found it very difficult to navigate his way to the monastery.
Initially shy, Isidore quickly put himself to work and greatly impressed the superiors with his determination. On the feast of the Birthday of the Virgin Mary he was vested as a Passionist lay brother and received the religious name Isidore of Saint Joseph. A year’s novitiate followed during which Isidore became an example to his fellow novices who were impressed by his charity and joyful disposition. On September 13, 1908 he professed his vows as a Passionist.
After his profession Brother Isidore was transferred to the Passionist monastery of Kortrijk where he was employed as gardener and cook.
Despite suffering with a painful tumor in his eye Isidore was reluctant to complain about it, cancer was diagnosed and his right eye was removed. The cancer had spread throughout his body however and Isidore was given only a few years left to live. He served as porter of the monastery thereafter.
As World War I took its toll on Belgium more and more visitors prevailed upon the monastery for help, help Brother Isidore was only too willing to offer. In late summer 1916 his health worsened and finally, having asked the permission of his superior to die, he died of cancer and pleurisy on October 6, 1916. He was only thirty-five years of age, and had lived as a religious for only nine years. Pope John Paul II declared him blessed on September 30, 1984.
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