Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Habit Change

I'm not sure what these sisters were doing, but the photo is from around the time nuns began modifying their habits - 1967.  The strange photo which I found here, Studs Terkel - Radio Archive, documents the sisters in a line dance.  It's so ironic, considering how the essence of religious vocation was a call to leave the world to follow Christ.  Today the number of members of these orders have diminished.  In many cases, they've completely reconstituted to secular life.  That's not to say religious in secular dress are any less religious for that, yet one can't ignore the collapse of religious life in certain congregations.  I know readers know that.

Interestingly, one of the top interviews on this page is with Father James Kavanaugh, discussing his book, A Modern Priest Looks His Outdated Church.  Kavanaugh lived to see the Church update itself - to its current crisis mode - he died in 2010.  He left the priesthood shortly after the publication of his book, and was twice divorced.  His celebrity, which got him on late night talk shows, was more or less short lived.  An obituary here.

Of course, the habit doesn't make the nun.


  1. Looks like a talent show in the novitiate. St Terese writes of production put on for recreation. People forget that the habit itself was considered holy. Discarding the old one for new designer designs discarded that idea as well. I wonder where we would be without the modernizations? The traditional orders seem to be growing. I wonder whar the future held for these young girls.

    1. Yes - I bet it is a show from the novitiate.

  2. A couple of weekends ago, the daughter of dear friends from my parish came home and attended Mass with her parents. She is from the Dominican Sisters of Nashville, and is only 23 years old. She is permitted to come home once per year, and her parents are permitted to visit her once or twice per year. Our beautiful Pauline (now Sister Cecilia, who is training to be a teacher to small children, as well as a music teacher) arrived in full-length habit and veil and rosary - and also wore a lovely, wide smile. While in high school and until she moved away to Nashville, she served our parish with her sister, singing at 10 AM Mass.

    As you say, dear Terry, the clothing does not necessarily mark the depth of faith of those in religious life. But Sister Cecilia is certainly a poster child for the Nashville Dominicans and all those in consecrated religious life! She radiates joy, peace, and the love of our good Jesus, as do her sisters in religion.

    God bless you, dear brother, and all here! Susan, OFS


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