Christmas is a commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ and an anticipation of His second coming. But sadly, nowadays this is rarely represented in secular movies, books, etc. Instead, they make use of a legendary character who gives lovely toys and sweet treats to young children so they can have a joyous Christmas celebration. Santa, not a real being, is becoming more and more popular than Jesus Christ our Savior in the Christmas season.
But behind this figure is a real Catholic saint who lived in the 4th century. Saint Nicholas was a holy and generous bishop of Myra in Asia Minor (today Turkey). December 6 is the his feast day. He is the patron saint of children, sailors, moneylenders, and even prostitutes.
For prostitutes? Yes! A true story about his generosity is very well known. There was an unemployed man with three daughters who would have already married if he had some money for his daughters’ dowries. So he planned to sell her children for prostitution knowing he could never find such a big amount of money. Saint Nicholas knew this and helped the family. He tossed three bags of gold through the open window of the man’s house, each bag to pay for each of the three sisters’ dowry.
Some might wonder: If a Church can have a saint whom a prostitute can ask for intercession, does she promote prostitution? The Catechism says:
Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure. The one who pays sins gravely against himself: he violates the chastity to which his Baptism pledged him and defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Prostitution is a social scourge. It usually involves women, but also men, children, and adolescents (The latter two cases involve the added sin of scandal.). While it is always gravely sinful to engage in prostitution, the immutability of the offense can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail, or social pressure.Catechism of the Catholic Church 2355
So, not at all! The Church does not support this sin but she knows that there are many repentant souls who have become slaves of prostitution. To reiterate, prostitution is a grave sin against chastity but the Church understands that there are many victims of prostitution who really regret being part of this evil. These victims can ask the intercession of any saint, especially Saint Nicholas, to help them pray to God to free them from the cage of Satan.
Saint Nicholas, pray for us!