Feast Day, Saints -

The Venerable Monk Vitalis

Today we celebrate the feast of the Venerable Monk Vitalis. Vitalis is known for his work in converting prostitutes. When he came to Alexandria, he compiled a list of all the prostitutes in the city. In the day, he offered himself for hire for various jobs around the city. In the evening, he would go to the brothels, enter the room of the prostitute, give her the money, and then suggest she sleep while he spent the evening praying for her. The following evening he would visit another woman in that brothel, the next evening he visited a third, until finally he had visited all of them and returned to the first woman he visited. Through his prayer, many women abandoned their practice. Some married, others entered convents, others found other work in the city.

Vitalis forbade the women to reveal what was happening each evening, becoming a scandal for the people in Alexandria. He was spit upon and beaten, but he bore it all silently. When he died, his practices were revealed to the people.

We can learn several things from the life of Vitalis. The people in Alexandria were two-faced. These women offered themselves up and had customers. Those same customers then scolded Vitalis for visiting these women in the evening, because as a monk it was undignified. We can also learn how to treat others with dignity. These women were likely confused as to what was happening, but through Vitalis' patient prayer and encouragement, they realized their dignity as daughters of God. That realization came as a result of their interactions with Vitalis.

Venerable Monk Vitalis, pray for us!


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