News Analysis

Meanwhile: Papal advice for hairdressers

Hairdressers are known to enjoy a good chat. But on a pilgrimage to Rome last week, they received a warning not to let it get out of hand.

It was important, Pope Francis told the group, to avoid “the temptation of gossip that easily finds its way in your workplace.” Francis was speaking to members of an association dedicated to St Martin de Porres, patron saint of hairdressers, beauticians and barbers. The Pope added: “Everyone knows this.”

He also had words of encouragement, noting that by showing “kindness and courtesy”, hairdressers could make “a positive contribution to the common good”.

Among many other services to his Dominican brothers at the friary in Lima, St Martin de Porres (1579-1639) cut the friars’ hair. St Paul VI proclaimed him patron of barbers in 1966.

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Three centuries ago, in a conveniently secluded corner of North-East Scotland, a seminary was founded. At the time, practising the faith was effectively illegal, but in the 18th century Scalan trained more than 100 priests.

Now Scalan is being restored, with funding from Tomintoul and Glenlivet Landscape partnership. TGLP’s Amy Woolvin calls it a “hidden place which has played an important role in Scottish history.”