I remember back in 1963, my second grade teacher, Sister Stellan, Dominican, telling us very excitedly that their habits were going to be changed. Many of us love the old habits worn by the nuns, but let's face it, would we want to walk around like that all the time? The modified habits are much more practical. At the same time, I do think the nuns should wear some kind of habit and not just street clothes.
Yeah ... so glad they have modified habits nowadays. When I was in formation, the sisters used to talk about how much time they spent maintaining their wool serge habits with starching, ironing, mending, and elaborate laundering. And the congregation I was in didn't even have nearly as elaborate a habit as some did before the reforms.
All the sisters I have ever known - who continue to wear habits mind you, have told me that the old habits were extremely difficult to work in - especially for nursing sisters - huge sleeves, huge bonnets, and so on. Modern nursing facilities and technical advances required more freedom of movement among other things. The lovely holy pictures of nuns in a huge habit bending over a patient to give him a sip of water are edifying - but nuns actually work - harder than we do. Hawthorne Dominicans and Missionaries of Charity can tell you that. Women should be especially sympathetic - imagine spending the rest of your life in your wedding dress, going to work, to the store, raising kids, taking care of the house, and so on. I think that may be a close analogy to the old habit discussion.Simple cloistered communities of contemplatives/monastics often wore simple habits - like the Poor Clares and Discalced Carmelites - the wimples are soft and not at all constraining - not to mention practical. Several communities also have work habits - or just work clothes. Nothing wrong with that.
The sisters at the Abbey of St. Walburga are one of the few remaining orders of nuns who still wear traditional habits. Because they participate in seven prayer sessions every day, those working with livestock must (seven times daily) alternate jeans and associated apparel with full habits.http://www.thefencepost.com/news/10341946-113/abbey-walburga-sisters-gift
That's cool. They wear a veil with jeans when they work. Their cattle are very fortunate to have such kind mistresses to take care of them! I never heard of these sister, thanks for sharing. The Carmelites in this archdiocese wear the traditional OCD habit and veil as well - in choir and at work.
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