By Robin Gomes
Pope Francis on Monday met representatives of the association of hairdressers, hairstylists and beauticians of Italy, encouraging them in their profession in a “Christian style” and help contribute to the common good of society.
Some 230 members of Saint Martin de Porres Committee, that is present in many regions of Italy, met the Pope in the Vatican on their weekly day of rest on Monday, which this week coincided with the feast of their patron.
The Pope noted that their pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles in Rome and their meeting with the Successor of Peter are a sign of the importance they attach to the Christian faith, as well to the religious dimension that characterizes their association. This, he said, is because of St. Martin, their patron.
The Peruvian saint of mixed race, the Pope explained, was accepted into the Order of the Dominican Fathers only as a tertiary and then as a brother and co-worker. He accepted this condition, living a life of utmost humility, radiated by love. With self-sacrifice, he devoted himself to the poor and the sick, providing them with health care, thanks to the concepts he learned first in a pharmacy and then as a pupil of a barber-surgeon, according to the custom of the time.
Born in Lima, on December 9, 1579, St. Martin died there on November 3, 1639. He was declared a saint by St. Pope John XXIII in 1962.
Pope Francis said that the “humble and great figure of Saint Martin de Porres”, whom Pope Paul VI proclaimed patron of their category in 1966, helps them to “bear constant witness to Christian values.” “He encourages you, above all,” he said, “to practice your profession in a Christian style, treating customers with kindness and courtesy, and always offering them a good word and encouragement, avoiding giving in to the temptation of gossip that easily creeps into your work environment, that we all know about.”
In conclusion, the Holy Father pointed out that each one of them, in their “typical professional work, can always act with righteousness, thus making a positive contribution to the common good of society.”