With the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican (Vatican II), the nun's habits were modernized to return to a clothing that better reflected their charitable role, working with the poor and infirm. The external forms the internal. Modern nuns are employed in a variety of occupations, including psychologists, professors, lawyers, massage therapists, social workers, political activists and prison chaplains. She said that while there are those who have a general idea about religious sisters, there's still a degree of uncertainty on the part of many about what religious life looks like. Not all nuns or sisters wear a habit. All Franciscan nuns commit to wearing the veil as a member of the order. Have you ever wondered why nuns wear a veil? We pray: “May the Lord clothe me with the new man who, according to God is created in justice and truth.” We put on a “new” form of dress, not like the worldly dress we once wore. We speak with our face, with our expressions.Even though people may think it “dehumanizing” that we sisters wear all the coverings we do as part of our religious habit, the truth is that the layers we wear can be aids to make our relationship and our communication with other human persons “more human,” more personal. Even the word itself “habit” give us an indication of the importance of the clothing. Nuns are obliged to wear their ecclesiastic clothes at all times. If we persist in doing generous deeds, generosity will begin to grow in our heart. They wear a white habit with a white scapular with hood (or black veil for the nuns). Chesterton Carol - A New Composition by 1P5's Mark Nowakowski, Archbishop Viganò: An Open Letter Warning President Trump As The Election Approaches. W. hen a reporter recently called me for comment on the Vatican investigation of American women religious, I told him that it was too little too late. In ancient Greece, it was not considered seemly for a married woman to reveal her hair to the eyes of men other than her husband. The first monks wore tunics and referred to them as such. At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. Each type and subtype of garment carries specific connotations. What do nuns wear under the habit? Rebuilding Catholic Culture. For it was He who directed in detail the building of the tabernacle, telling Moses: “This Dwelling and all its furnishings you shall make exactly according to the pattern that I will now show you” (Ex 25:8–9). However, nuns do not wear habits when they go to sleep. Our vocation is eschatological: we live already now what all will live in heaven: poor, chaste, and obedient, given directly to Him. Because we do not dine in the way that lay people dine. “When they see the habit, they realize that there is something particular about our life,” she said. But as women's fashions changed, nuns' habits stayed essentially the same. All our garb is intended to convey that message… and it does! We learn to be Sisters by being Sisters. Thanks, Brenda. 22 . Though the official Year for Consecrated Life concluded earlier this year, it's actually “the beginning of helping people get reacquainted with religious life,” said Sr. Mary Christa of the Sisters of Mercy of Alma. Our habit helps us to know how a Sister ought to act. “It’s also part of poverty,” she added. In Rome, the Sisters of Mercy offer orientation to U.S. Pilgrims – obtaining tickets for papal events, answering their questions about the city, and helping them with the pilgrimage aspect of their visit. Taken in isolation, the popular saying “the habit does not make the monk” seems to assert that clothing, being external, does not matter. For instance, many orders of nuns wear some form of girdle, be it a belt, a cord, or a cincture. There are three degrees: (1) the beginner, known as the Rassaphore ("robe … The Latin word for “suffer” is passio which means “undergoing.” You will note how “undergoing” is receptive: we say “yes” to what comes to us. Discerning religious life? Our Catholic tradition includes the custom of veiling whatever is a sacred mystery. In wearing a veil, we Sisters insert ourselves into a very long tradition, a tradition which pre-dates Christianity. Living in Rome, Sr. Mary Michaela noted how she too is approached by people asking for prayers on account of her habit. “The religious habit should say a number of things, both to the sister herself, and to those who see her,” she said, recounting how she is often approached by strangers asking for prayers, who automatically trust her on account of her appearance. The beauty our veils may have is not our beauty. Since, in religious life, we wish to insert ourselves into the tradition begun by the desert Fathers, we use the same name to designate this part of the clothing. We veil a sacred mystery. We might think today of the Mennonites or Amish who still follow such a tradition. Dr. Peter Kwasniewski is a graduate of Thomas Aquinas College and The Catholic University of America who taught at the International Theological Institute in Austria, the Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Austria Program, and Wyoming Catholic College, which he helped establish in 2006. The postulant bride, on the day of her investiture, replaces the bridal dress and veil with the white veil of the novice. “The black of the cross represents the misery of mankind that we find in the world, and the white represents God’s mercy, which we are called to bring into the world as Sisters of Mercy,” explained Sr. Mary Michaela, who works at the visitor's office. The asceticism of our habit is precisely in its every-day-ness, in our wearing it day and night, no matter the season, no matter our disposition. [4] Even if they mistake us for Muslims, although we could argue that it is a different God to which we would be thought to point when we are mistaken for Muslim women. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. It is important that neither our habit nor our veil be a shapeless cover. We acquire interior virtue by doing exterior actions. Our habit is beautiful. Our head is covered not only by a veil, but by a wimple, an underveil, and then an upper veil: three layers! White habits are the most common.nuns don't always wear black and white. “There is a long tradition in religious life of wearing a habit as a visible sign that we are consecrated to God and to the service of the Church in a special way,” she said. The short answer is : "Some do, most don't". This is also true of missionary sisters who minister in tropical heat. Midge. Not only is the scapular useless, but it is even a positive hindrance. The word “tunic” was used to describe the dress of ancient Greeks and Romans. By means of it, we “teach” ourselves to be detached from seeking our comfort. Nuns are not required to wear anything specific underneath their heavy woolen habits, with some wearing normal underwear and others wearing t-shirts and shorts. The asceticism in our habit is a type of, you might say, “receptive asceticism”: the habit, as such, is not a penance, but the habit may involve penance for us. “They recognize that we represent, in some way, God’s presence. Please help us to meet our expenses by donating today! Consider that we learn so much more about a person by looking at his or her face than we do by looking at his or her hands or feet. We have catechetical materials out for the pilgrims, (or) even just a place for them to sit down for a few minutes.”, “Our charism is the mercy of God,” she said. There is a stereotype, often perpetuated by TV shows and movies, that assumes religious nuns always wear black habits … “But it’s also, I have found, a great responsibility and a reminder to me: the responsibility to be what I show that I am.”. The normal monastic color is black, symbolic of repentance and simplicity. Brown habits are common, as are blue and grey. “It’s a gift not only for me, but a gift for the whole Church and for the world,” she said. If we feel uneasy in being somewhere or doing something in a habit, it is a clue that we probably should not be there nor be doing that. The habit is an expression of our self-gift. The veil is not ugly or unbecoming. Anonymous. 2021 EWTN lineup will see new arrivals, some departures, ‘Give voice to the pain’: This Catholic ministry seeks to help adult children of divorce. In Rome, a veil called flammeum was the most prominent feature of the costume worn by the bride on the day of her wedding. The three nuns wearing purple and white habits folded their hands in prayer, held rosaries during the rally, and raised up the Bible as Trump took the stage. The habit is, after all, warm. Why do we wear a scapular? Visit his website at www.peterkwasniewski.com. 1 Cor 11:15); the symbol of her natural feminine beauty. Religious Life, Pope Francis, Nuns, Year for Consecrated Life. Lay people do not eat in silence, sitting in a row, while listening to reading. Source(s): https://shrinke.im/a0zRE. Although we are indeed brides of Christ, we are in exile. The scapular hanging down gets in the way when you bend down; it blows into your neighbor’s face when there is a strong wind, etc. By Neela Kale October 9, 2012. All women of good breeding wore a wimple, and, later on it was retained for some time (through the 15th century) for married women. It is appropriate that it be such, for we are brides of Christ. Women’s strength, even physically, lies not so much in great one-time feats as it does in quiet perseverance. One learns how to pray by praying; one learns how to be a Sister by doing the things Sisters do and wearing what Sisters wear. Archbishop Viganò on Pope's Support of Homosexual Unions: Francis is Trying to Provoke a Schism, Archbishop Viganò to American Catholics: Do Not Be Discouraged by the Enemy, Even in This Terrible Hour, The 2020 Vatican Nativity Scene is Weaponized Ugliness, 1P5 Podcast Archive (Video or Audio-Only), The Top 40: A Traditional Catholic Reading List, A Religious Superior Reflects on Wimples—and on the Current Masquerade, Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright: The Genius and Timeliness of the Traditional Latin Mass, The Holy Bread of Eternal Life: Restoring Eucharistic Reverence in an Age of Impiety. Postulants already wear a “little veil” to indicate their intention to give themselves to God as Sisters. Our doing includes what we wear. We do the same thing in other aspects of our life: we call the room in which we eat the “refectory” not the “dining room.” Why? In a real sense, our face most fully expresses who we are. Hi, Nursing sisters (regardless of the normal color of their habits) wear white when they are nursing. Fully professed nuns also wear a … “We will often have a priest that will come at a certain time for a half hour and give catechesis for anyone who wants to. Yet we choose to use words which are distinct from words in the world, in order to make clear that our clothing is unlike clothing in the world. What we wear forms us. You do not need to ask me whether you may climb the pine tree in the back yard: your wearing of the habit makes it clear that this is not an appropriate activity for a Sister. It’s a sign of the love of God and that this life is not all there is. On how people will often ask her about her life as a religious, Sr. Anna Marie said she is excited to answer their questions. The prayer for the blessing of the white veil states: “May this veil bless, purify, and sanctify this Thy handmaid, so that her life may be hidden with Christ in God.”[3] We veil ourselves for a similar reason that we wear the wimple: we hide what may attract others to our bodies, so as to emphasize the importance of the “inner man.” The veil serves to protect us: it protects us from drawing unseemly attention to ourselves and it serves as a sign to indicate that we are “not available,” even if the veil is no longer a common symbol indicating that a woman is married. The form of consecrated life that came first in history—the consecration of virgins within a diocese by the bishop—was symbolized by the reception of the veil. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need. The veil is a sign of the mystery of our vocation; the sign of the sacredness of our being given to Christ. Click here to … It is the custom of some congregations to wear the habit because for them it is a symbol of their commitment to God and their connectedness to their sisters. But after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, many religious communities made the habit optional, limited … Also, it seems that conservative Muslim women, unlike us, do seek to hide themselves in a shapeless cover. “Our apostolates are usually focused around the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which can manifest themselves in many ways.”, Sr. Anna Marie, another sister at the office, adds that “the consecrated life is a sign of his presence on earth.”, “We live our vows so that when people see us, they think of God, and they think of Jesus, and they think of the Church. It seems a rather useless piece of clothing, which is surely part of the reason that it disappeared in the habits of many religious in the modifications made after the Second Vatican Council. Rome, Italy, Dec 26, 2016 / 10:02 am MT ().- As Pope Francis' year dedicated to consecrated life concluded at the start of this year, one nun shared her thoughts on the how her religious garb serves as a “visible sign” that God exists and loves every person. Even if our contemporary world seems to have forgotten it, a woman’s hair is her crowning glory (cf. The superior shared it with Dr. Kwasniewski and gave him permission to edit it and publish it. The veil worn by the consecrated virgin is a bridal veil, intended to signify that the virgin is a Bride of Christ. The Benedictine habit At the Benedictine Abbey of St. Walburga in Virginia Dale, the nun’s habit consists of a tunic, belt, scapular and veil, which are all black. The asceticism of the habit is very appropriate for us women. Given that the consecrated virgin and the religious Sister are brides of Christ, it makes sense that they, like married women, should wear veils to signify the same. Getting dressed only ever takes a matter of minutes. Nuns and muslim women both wear habits/hijabs for similar reasons: modesty, not showing off their bodies, not calling for attention, feeling all equal regardless of their bodyshape. Words such as “cell” rather than “bedroom” or “collation” instead of “supper” are similar. First, it means that a woman who wears a wimple is not seeking to hide herself totally; she is not seeking to exclude or separate herself from others. Many members of religious communities wear habits as an outward sign of their consecration to God and their belonging to an order. We seek to draw others not to ourselves nor to anything we may have, but to our Divine Spouse. On top of the tunic we wear a scapular. Our veil has a practical use, as well, namely, that it frees us from having to tend to our hair. We are not seeking to hide that we are women, but neither do we wish to draw inappropriate attention to our bodies. Why Nuns Should Wear Habits by Matthew Schmitz 12 . can be seen wearing a … Our clothing affects us and forms us. Our wimple helps others to look at us in that way. With a joyful heart, she offers to God all earthly beauty and exchanges it for the spiritual beauty of the longed-for habit and veil. The Council of Trent stated: “Though the habit does not make the monk, it is nevertheless needful that clerics always wear a dress suitable to their proper order.”[1] Although the habit is not the cause of being a monk, it is nonetheless, as Trent implies, necessary (“needful…always”) for the monk to wear a habit, because the habit does help to make him who he is. Pilgrims “can come here and learn about the faith,” she said. The wimple was always worn with a veil. The wimple draws attention to the “inner man” which finds expression in our face. If we desire to be generous, we begin by “making” ourselves do generous things. She is not excluding communication with other persons. This is the reason that married women, above all, wore the wimple (and the veil). In one of the greeting cards in my file, two stem-looking older nuns in stark black and white have been photographed from child height; their lined faces and clasped hands are framed in a gothic archway. Her face is left free; in fact, the wearing of the wimple draws more attention to the face, since there is nothing else to draw our eye. That’s a tremendous privilege.”. Why do some nuns wear an all white habit? Father Sean Kopzcynski says: “Religious play at being at heaven.” We are not in heaven, but we are preparing for it. “Our habit is simple, so we don’t buy a big wardrobe.”. 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