Friday, July 17, 2009

Our sisters: something divine beams in your countenances!

Current opinion is still against the habit.
But current opinion "leans to false." (Divine Comedy, Canto XIII of Paradise).
We laymen are for the habit and we support our sisters in this gift and mystery.
In the old days a sister was never allowed to walk alone in public.
"Before you take down a fence first ask why it was put up."
We have sisters we know in Rome who when they lived in London were chased by Muslim boys who spit on them and threatened their lives. Now they walk again in groups.


Anonymous said...

It's really tragic that the habit (both for men and women), as well as the soutane, has largely disappeared from Rome. Perhaps there is a tiny restoration here and there, but in large measure, this once commomplace and wonderful witness to the Church has vanished in Rome.

I find some of the more modern or "modified" habits to be ugly, and ridiculous looking. For instance, there are a few Orders of sisters (a few from Africa for instance), as well as some others, which have a very conservative looking headpiece (covering the ears, no hair showing, white "mini" wimple, or even the big white collars nuns used to wear... and yet their dress is knee length or just alittle longer. It looks stupid! Really bad style/taste. If you're going to keep the traditional headpiece, keep the traditional long habit too.
The very common short black, grey, brown, or white dress and "mini-veil" which only reaches to the shoulder and shows the hair has seemingly become standard for a huge percentage of Italian nuns....if they wear a habit at all. A small percentage still wear the pre-Vatican II habits.
The remarkable thing about these fashion options for nuns, is that those who are in street clothes tend to be the oldest...all very aged, sour faced nuns. Almost always very aged. All of them!!!
Next we have those in the very modified habits described above....most of them are elderly too, but they do boast a smattering of middle-aged and a handful of sisters below 40. I've seen them on telivised Papal events. If there's a crowd of 20+ of them, perhaps 3-4 are "youngish" and the rest pushing retirement age or older.
But the real shocker is that those Orders which have kept to the pre-Vatican II habits, or new Orders which have adopted this form of habit, almost always have a lot of young sisters and novices. Not all of them...but a very high percentage are young (below 40).
You can notice it in these photos on your blog, and on TV during Papal Masses.

A friend of mine just returned from Rome after a 3 week vacation.
He is young, and a traditional Catholic. He even said, that you can pick out the very aged street clothes nuns easilly on the streets, and see slovenly aged priests, brothers lay-clothes or mismatched black and grey, or white and grey clerical shirts and slacks.
Then there's the youngish friars, monks, seminarians and priests in traditional habit, and the nuns too.
My friend said that all the street-clothes nuns and dumpy looking elderly priests looked burnt out and unhappy, but the youngish ones in traditional habits had a lightness to their step, and smiles on their faces.
It's almost as if the "Spirit of Vatican II" aged liberal crowd knows their version of "Church" is dead, while the enthusiastic, young traditional Catholic priest and nuns know that the Catholic Church of before Vatican many the Church of the future and is making a gradual comeback from the catacombs.

Anonymous said...

I was in Rome in 89 with a group of sisters. We had come back from a day trip to Assisi and one of our number got the not so great idea of changing buses to get back to our rooms faster. Unfornately, it was late at night, around 9:30, and we were waiting at the curb. A carload of drunk teenagers came to a screeching halt and started yelling things to us in Italian which fortunately, I didn't understand. I really thought that maybe things could get serious and frankly, I was afraid. One of our Sisters, a school teacher of many years who doesn't understand a word of Italian, got furious and ran out to the middle of the street in front of their car and started telling them off telling them to go home, stop drinking and stop worrying their parents. I don't remember exactly what she said and I'm sure they didn't understand her but they were stunned and drove off!

Anonymous said...

What these Sisters and Seminarians should realize is that lay people love to see you in habits...It garners the respect we have for your vocations and more often then not will invite a friendly smile or gesture....