A Habit Story & a Challenge!

A couple of weeks ago my On the Square piece took at look at the visual witness of the religious habit, and wondered whether it might not be worth it for some communities to take a second look at the wearing of them.

Happily, that piece has inspired the Nunspeak blogger, Sr. Lisa–a Canossian Sister (like St. Josephine Bakhita) to begin a blog-series chronicling encounters she and other sisters have had that occurred because of the habit.

She calls the feature “In the Habit” and her first entry, a moment of crisis is very touching:

There, in front of my car stood a young man in his early twenties. My first thought was to maybe put the car in reverse before I became a casualty! But then I saw it. Looking at the man’s face, even in the not-so-bright lights of the small gas station, I could see streaks on his cheeks where tears have flowed. His hands were stretched out toward me, partially imploring; partially ready to brace for impact with my car! He came to my side of the car. I cracked my window a bit, and he asked me, “Ma’am, are you really a nun?” I wasn’t prepared for that question. He asked me, because he could see my veil. I told him, “Yes, I am. Can I help you?” As I got out of the car, he explained that his girlfriend had been in a car accident and she wasn’t expected to live. There was also the problem that the father of his girlfriend didn’t approve of the relationship and refused this young man the opportunity to say goodbye.

I am looking forward to reading more of these stories, and I think you’ll like them, too! I get the feeling the Holy Spirit wants to talk about this!

Also, how’s this for a challenge?

About Elizabeth Scalia
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  • Warren Jewell

    Like the Roman collar, the habit is the signal marker of one who ‘sees with eyes that see, hears with ears that hear’, listens and reaches to our souls and offers what they can when we in this world cry out.

  • http://victor-undergo.blogspot.com/ Victor

    As a man, I really didn’t think that the valley of tears was so great and so real but we learn something new every day.

    Thanks for the prayers.

    God Bless

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  • http://www.zazzle.com/shanasfo shana

    While I do understand that the foundresses of some orders wanted their sisters to look like widows, still they had a standard for dress: black dress, black headcovering or hair pulled up in a bun, a standard bonnet when they went outside, no jewelry or made up faces. It was still a unified way of dressing that told the world they were set apart (as widows were not expected to go into society or be approached by men for at least 2 years) Many widows, out of sheer boredom, did good works for others while in mourning dress, and so these religious sisters could still be in a kind of recognizable habit and live in community, yet in some way blend in with the outside community.

    We don’t have widow’s weeds anymore, and widows dress is not distinguishable from any one else’s. The orders that are not in a habit because they are trying to blend in are losing members because they cannot show that they are ‘set apart’ in any way, and some of the religious sisters here in my diocese that are without new sisters dress so ordinarily, each in her own preferred clothing (and even earrings and jewelry), that no one can identify them as a community of religious. I think this is part of the problem. They are not able to show that they ARE set apart and are a community together. Any woman can live as a single woman, dress like anyone else and do good works. Not every woman can be a religious sister in community.

  • tanya

    I once heard a hispanic woman explain how people she knows feel when they see a sister in habit. They tell everyone, and feel as though their day has been blessed. “It’s as if they saw a unicorn in the piggly wiggly”.


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