Saints and Loneliness


Were the Saints lonely? Did they have many friends? Were they viewed as strange or weird by those different from them? And if so, how did they cope with it?

I had heard that Padre Pio cried because he was so lonely. I presume it was like that for many of the saints because they were so contradictory to the way of the world.


It really depends, there’s a bunch of different saints.


I think, perhaps, that can be a difficult one to answer. Loneliness is an interior state that is not immediately apparent by others. I think some were. It is a type of cross. Jesus was lonely, I think, in the garden, during his passion when his disciples fell asleep when he asked them to watch with him.

I believe that God allowed little Jacinta Marto to be lonely at the time of her death. She died completely alone in a hospital with no one to comfort her.

On 2nd February, Jacinta was finally admitted to the Estfania hospital where she was lonely and unhappy. On 10th February two of her ribs were removed under local anaesthetic. Although the daily dressing of the wound caused her agony she never complained. She told the lady in charge of the orphanage when she visited her that Our Lady had appeared and promised to fetch her soon and that her pain would stop. It did. On the evening of 20th February, 1920, she asked to receive the Last Rites. A priest heard her confession and promised to bring her Communion next morning, but Jacinta died peacefully that night. Alone. She was almost eleven.

Visitors who saw Jacinta in her open coffin exclaimed that she seemed to be alive, with the loveliest colour. The unpleasant odour due to her illness was replaced by ‘a fragrance as of the most delicious flowers’.


How about the anchorites?

Or stylites


Well, an anchorite or anchoress, chooses solitude. Still, many, like Julian on Norwich, received frequent visitors, standing outside her little “cell”. They sought her out for counsel.


Some saints liked, and chose, a solitary life of contemplation.

Some other saints chose a life where they were constantly surrounded by people, running big orders or hospitals or going out ministering to people all day.

I am sure all of them, whether surrounded by people or not, felt varying degrees of loneliness. You can feel lonely even while in the middle of a big crowd of people dealing with tons of responsibilities. Some saints also had personal situations that caused them to be more lonely - for example, experiencing the death of beloved parents or spouses, or having personal situations where they were at odds with their families. There is a long prayer by St. Claude de la Colombiere where he goes on about how Jesus is his only friend. I have not been able to bring myself to say the prayer because it seems incredibly sad to me that St. Claude felt so alone, although probably the saint was happy to have Jesus for his only friend.


I would say no, because it’s Jesus who gives you peace and satisfaction in your life.


I believe St Therese of Lisieux had a loving family, but had trouble relating to her peer group.


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