religious habit

Why do American Christians:

  • adore and worship Mary for her modesty and virginity,
  • act fascinated by the religious habit of nuns, and seek to sexualize it
  • applaud a resurgence in the fashion and obedience to the word of their God when women wear kerchiefs and chapel veils during mass… 

but, Muslim American women and men observing hijab are anti-American terrorists because of it?

Please, explain. I’ll wait.

Fetishes and charms, Lower Congo

Among the Primitive Bakongo : a record of thirty years’ close intercourse with the Bakongo and other tribes of equatorial Africa, with a description of their habits, customs & religious beliefs    

John H. Weeks
Philadelphia: The J.B. Lippincott Co., 1914.

Luther’s challenges to Catholicism would result in significant devastation…Convents were forced open and vandalized. Iconoclasts shattered stained glass, painted over artworks, and stole the clappers from chapel bells. Many of the great monasteries of England, Scotland, Ireland, Holland, and Scandinavia disappeared completely.
The reformers focused especially on religious habits, ripping them to shreds or burning them, ordering sisters to adopt secular dress…Protestants proclaimed the idea of celibacy as unnatural, declaring marriage to be the most illustrious state and therefore seeking to “liberate” nuns so they could be free to marry…In England, King Henry VIII closed monasteries and obliterated orders in order to gain their lands.
Later Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) and his Puritan Roundheads escalated Catholic persecution with fierce brutality – his army slaughtered over 40 percent of indigenous Irishmen, for example, who clung to their faith. Rather than being an agent of reform, the Protestant movement became a tyrannical repression of religious freedoms of non-Protestants.
—  Elizabeth Kuhns, “The Habit: A History of the Clothing of Catholic Nuns”

From my stay at Carmel :)

The two “white veils” are the community’s novices, Srs Teresa of Jesus and Elizabeth of the Trinity. The Sister (Sister Camille of Jesus) in the kitchen with the black apron is fully professed, but wasn’t wearing her black veil because she was working.

(Their habits are brown, I’m not sure why they appear black in some pictures.)

What Does the Religious Habit Mean to Me? Sr. Mary Blanche, O.S.B.

Many Years ago, I was blessed to visit some sisters and I was given a paper, “What Does the Religious Habit Mean to Me?”, and I find it as beautiful today as the day I was given it.  Let me share it with you here.

What Does the Religious Habit Mean to Me?  Sr. Mary Blanche, O.S.B.

The Religious Habit is a sign of my consecration, dedication, commitment, and of God’s call for me.

The Religious Habit is a sign of God’s presence to me and a symbol of my faith in God and His promises to His chosen ones who are faithful.  It sustains and strengthens my hope in Christ’s promises to those who leave all and follow Him.

The Religious Habit is a symbol of my love for Christ in choosing me as His bride and my response to His loving call.

The Religious Habit is an immediate sign and symbol of my witness to the People of God whom I serve in Christ.

The Religious Habit is a continual reminder to me to take up my cross daily in following Christ - indicating that I am in the world but not of it.

The Religious Habit daily reminds me of my need for penance and mortification in aspiring for sanctification and the part that prayer and sacrifice should have in my life.

The Religious Habit is a sign and symbol of me dedication in obedience, poverty, and chastity, and a daily reminder of the example my life should be as inspiration for my bretheren and the laity.

The Religious Habit indicates that I do not belong to myself but to God, and continually reminds me of God’s love for me and that my love for Him should be the concern of my every moment of my life.

The Religious Habit is a garment which helps to insure the practice of modesty and strengthens one against temptation and sin.

The Religious Habit is a garment, shield, sign, and symbol that should help foster and develop a great freedom in the life of a religious - a freedom in both the spiritual and temporal world - a freedom from all earthly entanglements - a freedom to be unhampered in one’s flight to God.

The main purpose then of the Religious Habit then is to express and protect the Sacred character of a Religious Woman, to strengthen her in her daily striving for perfection, and to be a continual reminder of Whom she is a Spouse and to Whom she belongs.

The Religious Habit also protects and engenders respect.

The Religious Habit is never out of style.

The Religious Habit also encourages vocations.

“And if your consecration to God is really such a deep reality, it is not unimportant to bear permanently its exterior sign which a simple and suitable religious habit constitutes: it is the means to remind yourselves constantly of your commitment which contrasts strongly with the spirit of the  world; it is a silent but eloquent testimony; it is a sign that our secularized world needs to find on its way, as, moreover, many Christians and even non-Christians desire. I ask you to think this over carefully” ~ Bl. JPII to religious women (photo: Sr. Magdalene, MSF).