Why do Sisters where the habit? Do you ever feel awkward or uncomfortable wearing it?
Hearing this question brought to mind a story from one of our Sisters who was on a school visit. One of the students in kindergarten, who had never seen a Sister wearing the habit before, raised their hand and asked her: “Are you Mary?” and she responded, “No, but I am one of her daughters!”
Wearing the habit is a sign of our consecration to God. Consecration means to “be set apart.” As Sisters, we are set apart in order to belong completely to God as Brides of Jesus Christ. The habit is a sign of our love for our spouse…a complete and total surrender to the Lord. The habit is our wedding dress…and we get to wear it everyday!!!! In the Vatican II document entitled Perfectae Caritatis 17, the Church explains the habit in this way:
“The religious habit, an outward mark of consecration to God should be simple and modest, poor and at the same time becoming. In addition, it must meet the requirements of health and be suited for the circumstances of time and place, and the needs of the ministry involved…” (PC 17)
As Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate, we wear a blue habit out of love for our Blessed Mother Mary. Often in Catholic art, the colour blue symbolizes heavenly grace, so it is so fitting that artists would clothe her in blue! Blue is her colour!
We wear the crucifix around our neck as a sign of love for our Bridegroom and our willingness to carry our cross everyday with the Lord in imitation of our Blessed Mother.
One of the most beautiful parts of the habit, and one of the most exciting parts to put on is the rosary belt! It is a sign of our devotion and love for Our Lady, and also our devotion to prayer and contemplation. Since we pray the full rosary everyday offering it for the salvation of souls, the rosary is a significant part of our spirituality. Just as our Lady “kept all these things pondering them in her heart,” (Luke 2:19) we too ponder the life of our Spouse, Jesus, in imitation of her. Just as knights would carry their swords on their belts going into battle, we as Sisters go into the spiritual battle with our rosary on our belts.
Just as a Bride wears a veil on her wedding day, so is the veil a visible sign that we are Brides of Christ now and for all eternity!! The veil is to be a visible reminder of the perfect submission of the Church to the loving rule of Christ. It is also a sign of our life of chastity, that our hearts are focused on Christ, that we belong to Christ alone. It is also a sign of our Spiritual Motherhood, that because we belong to Christ, we are called to pray and do penance for the salvation of souls.
As Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate, we are dedicated to Our Blessed Mother Mary. Wearing the Scapular over our belt and tunic represents her protection over us…since Her Son is our Spouse and we are consecrated to God. It is a sign of her motherly protection over us, that we will always have God’s grace.
Modest, yet lovely, our blue tunic is a sign of our total commitment to Christ. Our tunic has long-sleeves and it reaches all the way to the floor!!! It is a sign of purity and modesty, showing that we belong to Christ: body and soul. Wearing the tunic also honors our Lady who is the most modest and pure of all women.
Our habit does have a white collar, not for a fashion statement, but as a sign of purity.
THIS IS SO EXCITING!!! We have reached the climax!!! Wearing the ring is a sign of our total consecration and commitment to Christ, now and for all eternity! He is our Beloved Spouse and we are His Beloved Brides!!! The ring is also a sign of the great gift our vocation is and is a sign of our “yes” to God to be His forever! The ring is a sign of Christ’s eternal love for us and His deep intimate call to be united with us forever!
It is so beautiful!!!!
I love wearing the habit!!! I love seeing how people’s minds automatically turn to God and the Church when they see us. Sometimes, people will come up to us and ask for prayers, or will even start to tell us about the days when they had nuns as teachers!! Also, there are those who may feel awkward or upset to see us, but that too is a grace…it is an opportunity for us to imitate Christ and to pray for them, and maybe in some cases to pray with them. I really do believe that wearing the habit is a way in which people can encounter the love of God. They know when they see a Sister, they will see love. Wearing the habit also shows the world the beauty of purity and chastity! It is a gift to wear the habit! I love wearing it!
Keep your questions coming everybody!!