Pope Francis urges hairdressers, beauticians to cut gossip

Pope Francis (pictured) on Monday welcomed hairdressers, hairstylists and beauticians to the Vatican but warned them not to indulge in gossip while feathering locks or painting fingernails.

"Practise your profession in a Christian style, treating customers with kindness and courtesy, and always offering them a good word and encouragement," he said.

Snip split ends and wax limbs while "avoiding giving in to the temptation of chatter that easily creeps into your work environment," he urged them during an audience in the Vatican.

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He said the cosmetologists should be guided by their patron saint, Peruvian Martino de Porres, a 16th-century barber-surgeon whose miracles include levitation, being in two places at once, instant cures, and an ability to communicate with animals.

De Porres, who is also the patron saint of mixed-race people, innkeepers and public health workers, was a barber-surgeon in Lima, an ancient trade which covered everything from haircuts to amputations and bloodletting.

"Each of you, in your professional work, can always act with righteousness, thus making a positive contribution to the common good of society," Francis said.

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