DO YOU WANT TO KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT A MAN NAMED VITALIS OF GAZA?
I will tell you.
The man was a hermit, which means he lived a life of sparse pleasures, yo, and a lot of fasting and what not. Probably bugs, too.
Well, one day he decided to just not be a hermit anymore, and he travelled to a large city (Alexandria) and he became an honest laborer.
So, now he’s making money, right? Want to know what he does with this money? He learns where all of the prostitutes are the city. (Do you think you know where this is going? You don’t). And, at the end of every day, he would go to the pimp or madam or whatever and hire himself a lady for the evening.
Instead of taking advantage of said-lady, instead he would just…talk to her. And maybe, I don’t know, make her a nice dinner. And he would give her one night off. A night of rest. For herself.
And he would talk to her. He would tell her that she was beautiful and good and had dignity not from what she did (or didn’t do) but, rather, by who she was.
He would speak truth to her. He would remind her about how good she was. He would tell her that she was loved and, even more, worthy of that love. And he would say that she deserved so much more than what she knew, and that she was worth more than her anatomy (even though her body was good, too), and that good men knew that and loved her and respected her.
This was this man’s beautiful message.
But, that’s not all. If they wanted to leave prostitution…he would help them. He would find them other ways of earning money, and even good men to marry. So then these women had a way out, you see (because oftentimes sin is a slimy trap, and maybe they didn’t feel like they had a way out before), and many of them took it.
This is what he did with his money and his time…and his life.
Because, you see, one time this other man saw him leaving a brothel, and that man was like, “UGH, VITALIS, YOU CLAIM TO BE GOD-FEARING, BUT REALLY YOU’RE JUST A GIGANTIC HYPOCRITE,” and the man threw a large rock at Vitalis’ head, and Vitalis died.
The story is not done, though.
So, at his funeral, all of the former prostitutes of Alexandria came bearing candles and lanterns, and they created a funeral procession for Vitalis. And they started telling their stories, these women now serving the community as wives and mothers and probably also business ladies and teachers and all else…and only then was his work with these women known and recognized.
Only then were his motives understood. Only then was he publically appreciated for the good he did among those often ignored.
St. Vitalis of Gaza. Patron saint of prostitutes. Because everyone deserves a patron saint. Especially those in really rough situations.
Do you want to hear a good ol’ Catholic nerd-out moment?
Two days ago my boss was like, “Can you outline the stories of the saints in our (super old) stained glass windows?”
And I was like, “Yeah, I can do that,” so today I took a sheet of paper into the church and I wrote down all the names (which, by the way, are all in French).
And then I came back to my office so I could research all of these dewds.
First one on my list was “St. Jean L’Anmonier.”So I Google the man. And then I translated said Google-page into English.
*Reads about the guy*
“Saint John the Merciful.” Was married/ had kids, but then his family died (not sure how?!) and he became a monk…blah blah blah…was asked to become a leader in the faith…was a very respected leader. And then, in the fourth paragraph of the Wiki page (for I am all over the most high-brow resources) it was like, “Blah blah blah VITALIS OF GAZA” APPARENTLY THEY KNEW EACH OTHER, YO.
And I had a mini fangirl nerd out moment.
But now you know why.
Saints are the coolest and Satan is stupid and doesn’t even throw cool parties.
BUT THE SAINTS ALWAYS LEAVE ME LIKE, “WHAAAAAAT NO WAYYYYYY.”
And that is the honest truth.