Monday, July 7, 2014

They're in the Habit

Speaking as a layperson who has never had the opportunity to wear one, I offer my humble perspective on the habit.  Which is:  I personally find it to be a striking witness.  

It seems an external thing, and of course it is.  But a habit speaks volumes to the world around.  "I have found God to be worth the gift of my whole life," it tells me. "Nothing on earth is as important as He." 

What does a habit mean to the person who actually wears one?  For that perspective, I turn to people who are privileged to do so.   The following are only tiny excerpts; I strongly encourage you to click on the links to read these very fine articles in their entirety.   

From "The Holy Habit" (Carmelite Monks)
"The Carmelite monk, like a soldier, is clothed in the armor of the habit as he bravely does battle for God and for souls...." (see the full page by clicking here)

From "Living the Life Part II," by Sister M. Emmanuel VHM  
"I believe I can say without exaggeration, that whenever any one of us Sisters goes out into the 'world,' someone will inevitably comment on our habit....  The lovingness of the Sisters is perceivable to even a casual observer.  But the Sisters are not this way because they wear a habit.  They wear a habit (an outward sign of simplicity and consecration and a reminder of their vows of poverty and chastity) because they are this way.  They are this way because they are trying with all sincerity to follow Christ in their vocations as Visitandines.... When someone shows us deference in some way, we know that is not towards us... No, they honor something else, something greater.... ' (see the full article by clicking here)         

From "The Habit"  (Dominican Sisters)
"My religious habit is an indelible sign of an inward consecration and makes of me a public witness, to all the world, of values transcending time." (Mother Marie William MacGregor)  (see the full article by clicking here)

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  1. What a wonderful post! I personally love it when sisters wear habits. Ours did when I was in school; but few of them did by the time our boys were going through. I just love that outward sign of their very special vocation.

  2. I wonder how did the habit of wearing habits come from (scuse the pun!)
    Was it simply that they wore what others of that time wore just in a more 'uniform' way.
    The colours though they are plain were very much like what others of that time wore.
    How is it that we of the world have come to dress so differently and why do religious of the more traditional orders still dress this way.
    If we are told in the bible not to be of this world but to live in this world, why is it that we have followed worldly fashions and given up the plain simple modest dress of the past.
    I can't help but look at the Amish and Mennonites and feel we have lost so much.
    They are still a walking living example of their faith. I don't have to look at them and wonder if they are people of faith, I can see from across the street that they are.
    Yet we as Catholics, who would know that we are people of faith unless they actually asked us.
    The Church teaches modesty of dress, the last official teachings I can find are the Mary Like Standards of Dress.... and yet we still don't even follow this basic outline. ie sleeves past the elbow, neck lines no more than two finger widths below the throat.

    Just my contemplations.

    By the way , I love your page. It is my home page on my computer.
    I have not commented before but always read your posts.

  3. Colleen, I can only imagine what it must have been like seeing the priests and Sisters in St. Peter's! What a witness that would be....

  4. Thank you for your contemplations, Michelle, and for such kind words. As we know, the world's dress is oh-so-very-far from modest these days. May Our Lord open eyes and hearts!

    Blessings to you too, and thanks so much for taking time to comment!


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