Sunday, August 31, 2008

St. Catherine Labouré habit: bring it back...



Can some new young sisters create a new "reformed" Daughters of Charity and bring back the old glory?!

In 1964 they did away with this beauty: the starched cornette of the Daughters of Charity. Strangely, we now only see this habit today in old photos or in Hollywood films with a pair of extras in the crowd!

Thought for the day: if Hollywood recognizes the significance of it, now why can't we?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daughters_of_Charity

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

God bless you for promoting real religious (priests and nuns) on this site....and the True Mass (Tridentine Latin Mass)...not the fabricated Novus Ordo, or the spiritually bankrupt reforms of Vatican II and the radical liberal priests and nuns (all now pushing 70+) who supported the whole movement.

I think that it IS possible for a group of young sisters to initiate a "reformed" or resurrected branch of the Daughters of Charity, complete with the traditional habit and the cornette.
I think what is necessary first of all, is a core group of faithful Catholics to demand it...and to inspire a group of young nuns to take up the task of restoring the Order. It isn't impossible. Gather enough faithful anxious and enthusiastic to finacially support the venture...and enough young nuns and girls willing to begin again.
There are literally THOUSANDS of empty convents in Europe or the the USA to purchase as a new "Motherhouse", and also to buy empty convents as new foundations.

The radical liberal Daughters of Charity have collapsed as an Order. They are liturgical and spiritual dissidents. They wear lay clothes, and have not had more than a handful of vocations in 40 years. They had close to 50,000 sisters...believe it or not...the largest Order in the Church before Vatican II and it's "deforms".
Today, they have barely 19,000. (- nearly 30,000 since 1964) and a median age of 72.

It would be wonderful for a group of young nuns (or even young laywomen, as many new traditional religious Orders of both men and women are being founded these days by those who start as laypeople).
Considering the rich heritage of the Daughters of Charity, and the great respect and affection all Catholics (even young ones who have never seen sisters in the traditional habit), have for the Daughters of Charity and their habit and apostolates...I do not think such a new venture would fail.
Indeed, I believe that such a initiative would flourish almost from the beginning, and the new sisters would be hard pressed to accomodate so many vocations....just like the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist who already after only 10 years, with nearly 100 members are already larger than 6-7 of the radical liberal Dominican congregations of USA sisters that have been in existance for 100+ years or more.

The initiative to establish a new branch of the Daughters of Charity I think would be an instant success. And generate so much enthusiasm for traditional dress among nuns, that some of the liberal Orders might re-think their direction and restore their traditional habits.
Wishful thinking perhaps...but not a total fantasy !!

Anonymous said...

The daughters of charity are shot. Don't expect any miraculous "reform" of their order.

Anonymous said...

You seem to have a very romantic view of the religious from the 1960s. For many people seeing pictures of such habits brings back memories of brutal, vicious abuse at the hands of very twisted, power crazed nuns and monks who worked in so called Church schools. Stop wearing those rose-tinted glasses, not everything was so great in the 1960s.

alban said...

To anonymous: So, the "True" Mass is that of the missal of Pius V, and the missal of Paul VI is a 'fabrication'. Well, I guess one either believes in the authority of the Church, or not. You clearly don't, so that makes you a heretic.....thus, you have no right to make comments about the Church.

BTW, I am all in favour of the Tridentine Mass.

JPSonnen said...

Huh? I hate the sixties!

Anonymous said...

I think the sponsor/owner of this blog is in favor of real and true Catholicism, which includes religious in the true habit, not just in favor of the era of the 1960's.
That's a ridiculous argument.

It is a fact that Orders of nuns which never changed the habit since Vatican II and still wear the "1950's" style habit have remained stable, or have actually remained flourishing all during the disasterous era of Vatican II.
It could be possible to restore the Daughters of Charity.
Just get young nuns from any Order who would volunteer, and young girls interested to start from scratch.

To Alban--
I never said the Mass of Paul VI was invalid, just a fabrication (which it is).
Read any history of the development of the modern Mass, and you will be horrified that the so called "Novus Ordo" is a service slapped together from parts of the Lutheran and Anglican tradition as well as Catholic, and also a mix of dubious "traditions" which had fallen into disuse and Archbishop Bugnini and Co. who devleoped the Novus Ordo brought these little gems that had fallen by the wayside of Catholic history back into use (Offering of Gifts by laity etc.) being just one.
Some others (General INtercessions (know as Bidding Prayers in the Anglican service), and "for the Kingdom, the power, and the glory", as well as the "Sign of Peace" were all lifted from Protestantism (as well as the allowance for Communion in the Hand and drinking from the cup).

So although the Mass of Paul VI is valid, it is a fabrication. It's a hastilly done service created thru faulty research by Bugnini and company, and filled with Protestant influnces since 5 Protestant ministers were on Bugnini (and Paul VI's) crew and helped give input for the Novus Ordo.
What we have for now, (for better or for WORSE) is their creation.

Anonymous said...

Bring back a "reform" of the Daughters of Charity but nix the cornette! Mother Seton didn't need it to form the most amazing Catholic School System in this country.

I'm all for the habit and a traditional one at that but it doesn't mean you bring back everything wholesale. Sisters have to function in today's world and the cornette doesn't fit.

A flourishing religious community that is faithful is more than the style of the habit. A reader remarked on the DSMME. Well, they are wearing a "modified" veil and that seems to be just OK with the young women who enter there.
The Summit Dominican Nuns also wear a modified veil and they have a flourishing novitiate with something like 5 and several more in different stages of applying to enter.
Susan

Victoria said...

The Daughters of Charity habit was certainly lovely looking particularly with the cornette but they weren't practical. Can you imagine trying to get 5 sisters wearing cornettes into a car or how would a cornette wearing sister go on a crowded train or a bus. If they were caught in the rain the starch would melt and the result would look comical. Although I am a fan of the traditional habits modified to be comfortable the cornette just wouldn't work these days. Of course they could wear them for special occasions I suppose. From memory either their novices or postulants used to wear a very pretty cap, perhaps this could be adopted.

Jane said...

You'd be surprised, people respected them so much, they just made room for them.

JPSonnen said...

Thought for the day: if Hollywood recognizes the significance of it, now why can't we?

Anonymous said...

Driving a car would be the only difficulty for the Daughters of Charity wearing the cornette.

They could restore the traditional dress and large white collar, wear the cornette, but then change to a white bonnet while driving.

Modified habits (the short dress and small veil) have been a failure. They attract no vocation.

JUst comsider the Daughters of St. Paul.
When they still wore the traditional garb (up until about 1983), they still took in 25-30 USA vocations per year.

Since then, they have progressively modified and updated their habit and lifestyle, until now they do ont wear any habit in Europe (wear layclothes), and in the USA, just wear a short knee-length skirt and short veil. Their USA vocations have dried up to just about nothing.
Should be no surprise.

Anonymous said...

I do a Daughter of Charity as a Civil War reenactor. I have a completely authentic habit made with the assistance of the Daughters in Emmitsburg. I have to say that the coronet and collar take a lot of time to starch and make up. They are both very uncomfortable to wear. Perhaps the Daughters should keep them for ceremonial purposes thop as the public loves and remembers them and history is important.

Baronesskvp said...

It is most regretful that Christians are under such hateful siege and scorn by those of a sorrowful past. Not all, indeed, not many at all, were truly abused by nuns wearing the olde habits of yesteryear! Many of the stories have been fabricated to demean and disgrace the church and it's congregation. I have witnessed no such abuse and I have lived through all the 1960's and have seen many beautiful, well mannered nuns. There are many enemies from without and within that wish to do the church much harm and often use made up stories of abuse and other propaganda for the sole purpose of destroying, not supporting the foundation of this ancient body of worshippers. It is attacked relentlessly, especially by those of another faith, to gain in numbers. They wish for any and all other beliefs to vanish and they use political correctness, terrorism and hate crimes, along with propaganda to achieve this goal. We do not see nuns today, due to a habit change and once they were out of sight, they were out of mind. Thus, no-one aspired to become a nun, as they did not know what they were anymore. When nuns were seen prevalently throughout the world there were many who respected the habit and wished to join the church. If you ask most any child what a nun looks like they have no idea. It would be a good thing to see them again. Those who diminish this concept are most liklely not christian, as they may have had a bad childhood of sorts, or are atheist at heart. I would like to see "real nuns" once again someday soon. Bless the ones who have to put up with the society of today. Without knowing or teaching "our own past, nor about our own history, culture and ways of life", we are doomed to "change!" Change is inevitable in life, but not always for the better when we stray and follow a lesser, more uncleared path. Our path was cleared by many billions of ancestors through their trials and tribulations to make way for us to have a better future and when we listen to those with unproven ideas that diminish and threaten our culture, this is when we tread through dark ages of somber grief and cling to those who lead us in misery, because we know not the ways of our fathers, lost and abandoned forevermore. Our children are our only hope and they are the first thing an enemy tries to dominate and control by teaching them propaganda. Nuns are not the enemy here and though many would find it offensive to see one in a habit, seems to find it quite acceptable when viewing any woman wearing a burqa, which is a sign of slavery.

Anonymous said...

It is most regretful that Christians are under such hateful siege and scorn by those of a sorrowful past. Not all, indeed, not many at all, were truly abused by nuns wearing the olde habits of yesteryear! Many of the stories have been fabricated to demean and disgrace the church and it's congregation. I have witnessed no such abuse and I have lived through all the 1960's and have seen many beautiful, well mannered nuns. There are many enemies from without and within that wish to do the church much harm and often use made up stories of abuse and other propaganda for the sole purpose of destroying, not supporting the foundation of this ancient body of worshippers. It is attacked relentlessly, especially by those of another faith, to gain in numbers. They wish for any and all other beliefs to vanish and they use political correctness, terrorism and hate crimes, along with propaganda to achieve this goal. We do not see nuns today, due to a habit change and once they were out of sight, they were out of mind. Thus, no-one aspired to become a nun, as they did not know what they were anymore. When nuns were seen prevalently throughout the world there were many who respected the habit and wished to join the church. If you ask most any child what a nun looks like they have no idea. It would be a good thing to see them again. Those who diminish this concept are most liklely not christian, as they may have had a bad childhood of sorts, or are atheist at heart. I would like to see "real nuns" once again someday soon. Bless the ones who have to put up with the society of today. Without knowing or teaching "our own past, nor about our own history, culture and ways of life", we are doomed to "change!" Change is inevitable in life, but not always for the better when we stray and follow a lesser, more uncleared path. Our path was cleared by many billions of ancestors through their trials and tribulations to make way for us to have a better future and when we listen to those with unproven ideas that diminish and threaten our culture, this is when we tread through dark ages of somber grief and cling to those who lead us in misery, because we know not the ways of our fathers, lost and abandoned forevermore. Our children are our only hope and they are the first thing an enemy tries to dominate and control by teaching them propaganda. Nuns are not the enemy here and though many would find it offensive to see one in a habit, seems to find it quite acceptable when viewing any woman wearing a burqa, which is a sign of slavery.

Anonymous said...

I have found the Daughters of Charity driving with the cornette on. All they did was bend the two ends together. The thing is that the picture looks as if it was taken yesterday.
See->http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/04/11/us/22782745.JPG

Anonymous said...

I have found the Daughters of Charity driving with the cornette on. All they did was bend the two ends together. The thing is that the picture looks as if it was taken yesterday.
See->http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2008/04/11/us/22782745.JPG

Anonymous said...

Traditional habits are wonderful and meaningful, but they should also be sensible. Veils make more sense than coronets. Having to spend hours starching and pleating coronets, etc. seems to fly in the face of the whole reason for wearing a habit to begin with: self effacement and non-preoccupation with what one is wearing. Have you seen some of the coifs worn by nuns of certain orders years ago? They consisted of all kinds of layers of starched, pleated, or coiled fabric. Nuns faces were framed by virtual picture frames that were square, pointed or round, some full of ruffs, etc. many were beautiful. A few were down right bizarre. Old-style habits, yes! But coronets and the like which require much attention and fuss - no.

Anonymous said...

The fact is, the whole Novus Ordo Catholic Church is shot. Where can you experience a really good, meaningful Mass other than in a traditional Latin Mass parish? You cannot. Across the board, in nearly every mainstrean Catholic parish the music is bad, the church architecture is awful and plain, the Mass is uninspiring, and "Protestant," with "Good Morning, Father," and altar servers in white bathrobes. It is really sad and pathetic. It is best to go to an Anglo Catholic Church or to an Orthodox Church. The Catholic Church is over, sad to say.

thom said...

The fact is, the whole Novus Ordo Catholic Church is shot. Where can you experience a really good, meaningful Mass other than in a traditional Latin Mass parish? You cannot. Across the board, in nearly every mainstrean Catholic parish the music is bad, the church architecture is awful and plain, the Mass is uninspiring, and "Protestant," with "Good Morning, Father," and altar servers in white bathrobes. It is really sad and pathetic. It is best to go to an Anglo Catholic Church or to an Orthodox Church. The Catholic Church is over, sad to say.

Anonymous said...

From 1955 to 1968,I attended schools run by the Daughters of Charity. They were wonderful teachors and mentors and never harmed anyone as far as I know. I would not support a return to the old habit. Those days are gone and we may as well accept it. In addition, caring for the entire habit took an inordinate amount of time and effort. We cannot expect or even want our Sisters to devote their valuable time to such effort. Furthermore, it underestimates women to assume they would be more likely to become Sisters if they had interesting habits.

Anonymous said...

I don't have much to say about habits. Sure, I have lots of good ol' memories about the sisters that taught me in grammar school, still in full habits... but, I've never had to wear one. Maybe all of us that are offering opinions should try wearing one, daily, for an extended length of time, in cold weather and hot, in all the climates represented here in these comments, and then we would all be in a better place to comment on their practicality today.

Anonymous said...

Nuns no longer wear these because it doesn't allow them a wide enough view to drive a car and is therefore dangerous. I surely hope that nobody would object to nuns driving cars, too.

Lisa Julia Photography said...

If all the teachers in our Catholic schools were Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (aka Nashville Dominicans)that would solve the problem of clueless Catholics who don't know how to live and defend their Faith =) www.nashvilledominican.org

Jenna said...

As a young woman entering the Daughters of Charity as a pre-postulant in one more month I feel compelled to comment on this post.

Vatican II called religious communities to look back at their roots and their original statues and constitutions which is exactly what the Daughters of Charity did. St. Louise de Marillac and St. Vincent de Paul founded the DC's in 1633 and the women were asked to wear the common dress of the day which was a simple dress with a small flat veil (as you can see if pictures of St. Louise) the cornette did not come in until much later and it grew out of people folding the veil back so that it wouldn't block vision for the sisters who were nursing the sick and eventually it became the more elaborate folded cornette that you see in pictures of St. Catherine Laboure and in historical pictures of the DC's.

I would also like to point out that the Daughters of Charity actually are not, and have never been a religious order... they are a Society of Apostolic Life meant to live among the people they served... they don't have convents they have houses, they don't take perpetual vows rather simple annual vows, they don't have a novitiate rather they go to seminary to learn about the history of the community and to deepen their relationship with God since prayer is the basis of being able to serve. Back when the DC's were founded there was no such thing as an apostolic community, nuns all had to live in convents which made it very hard for them to serve the poor which is why St. Vincent de Paul was so insistent upon saying that the daughters must not have a cloister, a grill, or a habit, etc...

Mother Suzanne Guilleman was the superior General of the Daughters of Charity during Vatican II and was actually one of the few women who was invited to the meetings. This is what she wrote the evening before the DC's were asked to take off the cornette and to replace it with a simple veil:

"“Tomorrow, everyone should be able to recognize without the help of the cornette, the Daughter of Charity, humble without affectation, attentive to everyone, disengaged from herself, truly available, an outcome of the love of God in order to give this love to all. We should be obsessed by this true charity and examine and revise our interior and exterior attitude continually to readjust it to charity. Wherever we are, we ourselves should be the expression of charity.”

Its not what the sister wears that is important, rather it is the interior disposition and the way that their vocation to serve the poor and to find Christ in others is lived out that actually matters. Today the community wears a modified habit of navy blue with the option of wearing a simple coiffe (veil) which many sisters do wear. You can read more about Mother Suzanne Guilleman and her Vatican II reforms on my friend Amanda's blog who is currently a postulant with the community and soon to be a seminary sister!

http://drinkdeeplymydaughter.blogspot.ca/2011/06/mother-suzanne-guillemin-and-vatican-ii.html

Anonymous said...

Are we mistaking outward forms for true piety? I would reference St John of God in this respect.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me the sisters managed to have a life and wear the habit. Imagine that, They looked great, and why would a woman enter an order if she did not in fact like the habit?