That's a tall order. Humanly it is not possible. It is only because God wants it so that the newly professed nun can carry the world in her heart.

We human beings need symbols to remind us that we are not made for this world but, as St. Elizabeth Seton used to say, we are "children of eternity." Each piece of the habit reminds the person wearing it that she is made for God. The tunic reminds her of the baptismal garment, the scapular is the yoke of Christ and sign of the Virgin Mary's protection. The leather belt reminds her to follow the commandments and the ways of justice. The cappa, the black cape of the Dominican order, symbolizes that Christ her Beloved has wrapped her in the garments of joy!

Daily she prays as she places the veil on her head, "He has placed a sign upon my brow that I may admit no other lover than Him."

A nun is still very much a woman and like all women needs to hear that she is loved. If she forgets the language of love, the habit will no longer have meaning to her. The habit is one such token of Christ's love for His bride if she has ears to hear and eyes to see. Such love can only radiate joy!

Read another account in "The Habit of Witness" series:  According to Plan.


Sr. Mary Catharine of Jesus Perry, OP is the novice mistress of The Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, New Jersey. Their blog may be found at