Nun's Apparel

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Xenon-135

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Did Nuns used to have to wear specific outfits and/or uniforms regarding their specific orders?

I heard that these days they don’t have to, but many do simply because its a habit (HEE HAW…slapps knee).

Pardon my stupid humor, I just couldn’t resist. On a more serious note, our local Benedictine Nuns don’t seem to have a formal dress. Whats the story on this matter, anyone?
 
Some nuns/sisters still wear habits (uniform type dress and veil) e.g. The Daughters of Charity and the Sisters of St Peter Claver and some wear tiny badges on their lapels indicating that they are a member of a religious order.
 
To me a nun without her habit, or peiest without his coller is wrong. Just like someone marred without the weadding ring on. Thair may be some good reason but I dont like it.
 
Well, I can certainly think of good reason for a married person to not wear his wedding ring, but have a harder time picturing an equally good reason for non-distinctive apparel for clergy and religious. My husband never wears his wedding ring, as it would be hazardous w/ his job (he’s a garbage collector), and I prefer to have a husband wearing no ring w/ 10 fingers than one who did who ends up having only 9 if you KWIM.
 
Dear Xenon-135,

On the EWTN program “The World Over” there was recently a program about this. The host interviewed a woman who has written a book about it. If you go to this site:

ewtn.com/worldover/index.htm

and click on the “listen to past programs” link, you’ll find it listed there. The guest’s name is Elizabeth Kuhns.

I hope that helps. I would give an answer myself but I haven’t listened to the show yet and am not an expert on this topic. 🙂
 
As one who is discerning the religious life, it has been very enlightening to me to look at all the various orders.

It quickly became clear that if one is looking for an orthodox order faithful to the three “biggies” – Eucharist, Rome, and Mary, the use of a habit (or lack thereof) is the most obvious tip-off… I would say 90% of the orders with habits are fairly orthodox, and 90% of the orders without habits are not.

On another note, it is also very interesting to me that I have discovered that all of the orthodox orders that I have looked at (the ones with “habitual habits” :p) are filled with new life and new postulants – they are growing larger and larger every year and are having to start new convents and build new motherhouses.

Most of the orders that are not orthodox, and do not wear a habit, are dying out and fading away, with the average age of the sisters creeping upwards and few new postulants.

It is as our Holy Father says, the new springtime of evangelization is upon us, and Our Lady’s hand is upon those orders who maintain their devotion to the Son through her, guiding them always to do the work her Son has called them to do!

God bless all of our faithful religious!

:gopray:
 
Hello,
The way it was explained to me is that each communitity was directed by Vatican II to go back to their history and decide from there. The communitity I was told about said that in their history the habit should reflect the dress of the common women. Specifically in the country, town etc. that they minister to.
This of corse may not be the same from communitity to community. I hope this is helpful. I am open to clarification on this subject as well.

Another good resource regarding Nuns in American is **Sisters: Catholic Nuns and the Making of America
**by John J. Fialka
 
Could someone list the various orders of Nuns and what style and/or color of habit they wear?

I was wondering what order it was that the TV Show “The Flying Nun” starring Sally Fields, was addressing.
 
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Xenon-135:
Could someone list the various orders of Nuns and what style and/or color of habit they wear?

I was wondering what order it was that the TV Show “The Flying Nun” starring Sally Fields, was addressing.
This is kind of a funny way to answer this, but there is a great company that makes nun dolls (yes, dolls!) in full traditional habit clothing of the order represented. 😃

Their website has pictures of all the dolls they currently make, which is probably far easier for you to look at than for us to try to type up descriptions of habits for you. LOL

blessings-catalog.com/nundolls.html

The only problem with this is that I don’t think they do the men’s orders–but remember that colorwise, the men’s communities will have habits similiar to their female counterparts (ie, Dominican brothers/priests will wear white, Franciscans will be in brown or grey, Carmelites will mostly be in brown, etc)

Enjoy 🙂 🙂

+veritas+
 
peace be with you! i am no expert on this issue and look forward to hearing the EWTN program on it. thank you for posting that link. but i do know a little about it. from what i have learned, religious (male and female) traditionally have worn a relgious habit. this was done as a sign of consecration to Christ and His Church and separation from the world. i have heard (from a nun whose order did not wear a habit anymore) that around the time of Vatican II, some orders stopped wearing a habit in order to try to connect easier with the people they serve. many of these orders simply wear a crucifix or some kind of medal or pin. this was done as a kind of experiment. but John Paul II has requested that all relgious wear the habit again. in my opinion, if this was done as an experiment, it is a failed one. the orders that aren’t wearing habits are dying out. the congregations that stick to the tradition left them by their founders and that wear those habits tend to get more vocations.

as I believe that God is calling me to the religious life, i can only say that the relgious habit would be a great treasure to have. it is a beautiful outward sign of my consecration to Christ and the Church.
 
Pax!
I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to see that womens communities who wear traditional habits are bursting at the seems with postulants and novices. Also I noticed that Monks and Priest didn't change thier religious habits....isn't that interestings? I do beleive that the "womens movement" had a direct impact on the decision of many orders to disguard thier "blessed" habits. My research shows that orders such as the Benedictines and the Sisters of Charity, can't buy a postulant. Newer orders like the Sisters of Life, Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (Mother Angleica's) are building two new monasteries to house the Postulants and Sisters. The Dominicans several of thier orders continued to wear thier beautiful habits! Come on Sisters, women who want to be nuns and sisters want to look like nuns and sisters. In conclusion, the habit doesn't make the nun, but it doesn't hurt either. So if your communities are closing, you may want to look at why other communities aren't! God Bless Linda
 
Is the Madeline children’s storybook based on a real order? She had a basic looking habit, but the children called her Miss Clavel or something. They never called her Sister. Why is that?
 
Again, not all orders were founded with habits.

Some orders were made to wear a habit by the Church where the founder did not wish a habit.

Following Vatican II the religious institutes were encouraged to go back to what their founders wanted.

So to say a nun or sister or brother or monk who is not in a habit is unfaithful or unorthodox is ignorant unless you know the actual rule and constitutions of the institute.
 
I don’t beleive that anyone was called unfaithful or unortodox for not waring a habit.
So Br. maybe I’m not the ignorant one…Linda
 
Most of the orders that are not orthodox, and do not wear a habit, are dying out and fading away, with the average age of the sisters creeping upwards and few new postulants.
I don’t beleive that anyone was called unfaithful or unortodox for not waring a habit.
So Br. maybe I’m not the ignorant one…Linda
Apology accepted.

Here is another thread you may wish to read from the moderators of the forum.

Let’s talk about clergy and religious. . .

I also realize that you are a new user here so you most likely have not read through all the threads on habits but this continues to come up every couple of months.

You will also notice that I branded no one as ignorant, I just stated that those who make comments without knowing the constitutions and rules are such.

You on the other hand directly attacked me. Very disrespectful.
 
What I find amazing is that so many people were unwilling,unable, or just plain not called. However, they wish to sit back and criticize people that were. I do not understand this. Why not be more respectful of the good these Brothers and Sisters are doing instead of being critical about what they are wearing while they are doing it? You certainly would not like it if said Brothers and Sisters started coming by saying things about how your houses and gardens were trimmed and that they were not Catholic enough to reflect your married vocation.
 
Had you read my post in the context in which it was written the topic that you are responding to was not remotly related. I was talking about well established orders, or new orders who have choosen to wear a traditional habit and the apparent effect on the numbers of young women comtemplating a vocation in religious life. My other topic was why priest and Monk’s and yes Carmelites didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water. I also posed the idea that when women’s religious orders were tuning to secular clothing other young women on the campus of Berkley for example were buring thier bra’s. Was there something in commom with women and the movement for equality during that time that effected the radical change in habits worn by women religious.Yes there were some communities who had in thier constitution “no habit” however I referred to orders that had like the Sistes Charity, and especially the Benedictine sisters. You inferred that I was ignorant of the process of the constitutions of individual orders, I simply returned the favor when I realiszed you had no idea the context of my posting. Are we done with this “discusson”? Linda
 
I don’t beleive that anyone was complaining about nuns not wearing a habit. Again the post remarked how the return of traditional habits are effecting the numbers of young women once again being attracted in large numbers to this type of community. The topic had nothing to do with what fine and noble acts sisters, priest and nuns perform. LInda
 
Just wanted to add the the book mentioned above by John Fialka, “Sisters” is an excellent book and an absorbing read. It’s all about what different orders accomplished in America, including hospitals, schools and the like. I read it a long time ago; might be time to dig it out for another read!

As to the issue of habit or not…I tend to prefer nuns in habits. I had looked into a vocation many years ago, when abandoning the habit was the in thing to do, and I ultimately did not go down that path. I don’t know that it made a difference that the order I was discerning with did not wear a habit, but it’s possible that it did.

In any case, I have the utmost respect for all nuns. They are living examples of God’s love.
 
Hi Linda
I was talking about well established orders, or new orders who have choosen to wear a traditional habit and the apparent effect on the numbers of young women comtemplating a vocation in religious life.
This is a commonly-held view, but only tells one side of the story. Proportionally more people try a vocation with religious institutes that wear religious garb than with those who don’t, yes. But the statistics indicate that with the exception of a couple of congregations (and the best of luck to them, since they’re obviously flourishing) proportionally no more candidates make it to solemn vows in the habited than in the non-habited institutes.

That can be interpreted in several ways, but two elements I would consider - and note I say elements, I’m not suggesting this is the whole story - are that many of the ‘traditional’ groups pride themselves upon having very open policies on admission, and want to give most applicants a chance, because they think the selectivity of other groups is a sign of a lack of faith in God’s oversight of such things; and that some of the applicants to traditional settings that I’ve met seem more in love with the idea of wearing a habit that with the demands of religious life.

That might mean that quantity is being emphasised over quality, and when I say ‘quality’, I don’t mean that the people who leave aren’t good or holy - that I am in no way qualified to judge! - but that they may not have made a qualitatively sound discernment before entering.
My other topic was why priest and Monk’s and yes Carmelites didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
I have to say that I think that does sound a little prejudicial. The Second Vatican Council mandated in Perfectae Caritatis that religious return to the visions of their founders, and that often meant many changes being made. Including returning to a non-habited state if that was the original vision, as if often was. What’s the baby that has been thrown out here?
Yes there were some communities who had in thier constitution “no habit” however I referred to orders that had like the Sistes Charity, and especially the Benedictine sisters.
Here’s a perfect example of what we’re talking about.😉

The Sisters of Charity, so famous for their habit and their huge cornettes, did not originally wear religious garb. Hence their recent abandonment of it so as to be true to St Vincent’s vision. You might wish to read some of Brother JREducation’s posts in relevant threads e.g.

forums.catholic-questions.org/showthread.php?t=493899

or

forums.catholic-questions.org/showthread.php?t=504045

A range of views are expressed there, but also some hard facts about why these are complex issues.
Are we done with this “discusson”?
Well, apparently not. 🙂

As Brother David said, those of us who have been here for a while see the issue raised every few weeks or so, and often with much less courtesy than you initially evidenced. So its a sensitive area and there is room for misunderstanding.

I don’t have any problem at all with people expressing an aesthetic preference for religious garb - as I usually say at this point in a discussion, I am after all myself a religious who wears a habit! But I’m certainly troubled by the misrepresentation that only habited institutes have vocations, that the habit is a sign of being orthodox and faithful and that religious who don’t wear the habit are ‘liberal’ or ‘modernist’ (the words being employed in such a way as to make them meaningless) and that more generally, it is safe to make assumptions about religious based upon the externals. That shows a distinct misunderstanding of what religious life is about.

For what its worth, I don’t think that priests and religious here deserve any more respect than any other poster, even though the moderation rules request this. But I do think that some secular people - a very few here on CAF, but a vocal few - have a particular and romantic notion of the habit which is fundamentally quite dangerous to prospective vocations, because it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy in discouraging people from non-habited orders because they are somehow inherently ‘wrong,’ after which the claim is then made that they aren’t receiving any vocations. Well, not now they’re not.😦

(Yes, I’m over-simplfying.:rolleyes: I don’t mean its quite that straightforward, but there is a risk of turning people away from excellent institutes simply because they don’t wear a habit. I have encountered this as becoming an unnecessary pressure in the midst of a discernment process that’s difficult enough to begin with).

From reading your posts, I don’t think for a moment you’re one of those people, but by getting a little annoyed as you have, the stakes got raised a bit too quickly, and the discussion was somewhat derailed. If we all chill a little bit, perhaps we can get it back on track.

Sincere best wishes, and despite the aforementioned misunderstandings, welcome to the forum. Hoping to discuss things with you more in the future.
 
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