Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint Sisoes, Hermit

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Sisoes spent seventy years in the Egyptian desert. His sanctity led numbers to consult him, and the virtue he recommended above all others was humility.

A solitary saying, ‘My father, I always consider myself as standing before God,’ Sisoes answered, ‘That is not much, my son. Better were it didst thou look upon thyself as below all creatures.’

Another said, ‘If a barbarian tried to murder me, should I kill him if I could?’ ‘By no means,’ he answered; ‘commit thyself to God, and believe all evil happens to thee for thy sins by the just judgment of God, whose providence is righteous and cannot err.’

Sisoes was as gentle as he was humble. He never reproved the brethren, but patiently aided them to rise again after their falls. One whom he had often helped said to him, ‘Father, how many times do you allow me to rise again after I have fallen?’ ‘Do so,’ he answered, ’till death finds you either fallen or risen again.’

At his death the face of Sisoes grew radiant, and he said, ‘Behold, Abbot Antony is here.’ A little later he said, ‘The choir of Prophets are come,’ and he added, ‘Behold, also the choir of Apostles.’ When asked with whom he conversed, he said, ‘The angels are come to fetch me, but I am begging them to leave me a little longer to do penance, for I have not yet begun.’ And with his face shining as the sun, he said, ‘Behold the Lord,’ and expired.

There are few of us who would like to face our friends, were we obliged to carry hung round about our necks the catalogue of our past sins. Yet we know that the judgment men would then form of us would be a correct one, while the respect and friendship they now show us are based only on their ignorance of our true selves. This thought will help us to imitate the humility for which Saint Sisoes was distinguished.

‘Hold thyself in low esteem, renounce the pleasures of the senses, detach thyself from the vain cares of this world, and thou shall gain true peace of heart.’ — Saint Sisoes

Some solitaries once asked Saint Sisoes to say to them a few words of edification. Out of humility he excused himself, and leaving them to confer with his disciple, withdrew into the interior of his cavern. Overhearing some praise of himself, he called out from within, ‘No, I am only a glutton, who eats without rule and without necessity.’ And the brethren, who well knew the austerity of his life, went away more edified by his humility than they could have been by the holiest discourse.

‘In humility let each esteem others better than themselves. — Philip 2:3

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint Sisoes, Hermit”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. CatholicSaints.Info. 23 February 2015. Web. 21 October 2017. <>