Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Pior, Solitary


When very young, Pior left his home, promising God never again to behold the face of his relations. He placed himself under Saint Antony, and made such progress in virtue that, when only twenty-five, Antony deemed him fit to live in solitude. The cell in the desert of Nitria in which he spent his life was so miserable that other solitaries who tried to imitate him could not remain in it a single year. The little food he took he ate walking about, lest he should feel any pleasure in the act. The last thirty years of his life he drank nothing but water so salty and brackish that the solitaries who visited him brought water with them rather than taste it. Yet by his prayers he obtained a spring of excellent water for some of the brethren.

Fifty years after he left home, his sister hearing he was living sent her sons to implore him to visit her. He refused, and she then procured letters from the bishop to Saint Antony, desiring him to send Pior to her. Antony gave him the obedience, and Pior immediately complied. When he reached her house he shut his eyes, and said, “My sister, behold your brother Pior; take your fill of gazing at him.” She begged him to enter, but he would not; and after making his prayer outside her door he returned to the desert without having seen her, faithful to his early promise. Pior died in his hundredth year, towards the end of the fourth century.

In this life we are crossing, as it were, a stormy sea in an overladen ship. If we do not throw overboard the useless cargo, we shall perish. The more we lighten ourselves of earthly goods, the sooner shall we reach our eternal haven, the vision of God.

If we shun the bitterness and labour of penance to seek repose in this world, we shall have no share in the true and infinitely sweet goods of eternity. – Saint Pior

Pior hired himself one summer to a husbandman to gather in the harvest, as was the custom with some solitaries, that they might earn their bread in the sweat of their brow, and when he came for his wages the man told him he should be paid another time. Pior did not ask again, but returned next summer and worked for him with equal care. Again he received no payment; the same happened the third year, and Pior uttered no impatient word, nor relaxed in his diligent labour. At length the man brought the money, and throwing himself at his feet, implored him to pardon bis delay. But Pior simply told him to go to the church and take it to the priest.

Health of the soul in holiness of justice is better than all gold and silver. – Ecclus. 30:15

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Pior, Solitary”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. CatholicSaints.Info. 9 March 2015. Web. 8 December 2019. <>