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Nuns no longer covering.

post #1 of 51
Thread Starter 
since i have been on MDC i have seen many posts by devout Catholics reference modest dress and hair covering. i know that many Catholics do not dress modestly or cover their hair... and i think i remember someone saying this was because of a decision from Vatican 2.

now my question is nuns. i had a whole bunch of them as teachers.. since my school was run by the convent down the street... and the retired nuns lived in a building that was connected to the school by an outdoor walkway. i think b/c it was a coed school so it couldn't be attached directly... we had to cross an 10 ft long outdoor walkway with a roof.. lol.. talk about being real literal.

anyway when i started school it was right after the nuns stopped wearing the really really big head coverings and only wore the veils .. but the veils still covered their hair and ears. by the time i graduated 8th grade i don't think any of them wore head covering at all except the really really old ones in the old nuns home (sorry thats what we called it... i have no idea what its actually called) and many of them did not wear dresses at all.. in fact one of them coached basketball and wore shorts.

why did they stop covering? what are your thoughts on this from a religious perspective, social perspective, and 'political' (as in politically correct not political like POTUS lol) perspective?

i was sad b/c i liked the way nuns dressed.. i used to want to be one so i could wear the outfit lol .. and b/c i really liked sr. maria in the sound of music.

i am not a practicing Catholic anymore but i do dress modestly and cover my hair... just personal preference not really religious... so that probably influences my thoughts on this. i thought nuns dressed that way for a reason.. what happened?
post #2 of 51
It depends on their order. Each order has their own tradition in regards to dress. Which is decided by that orders leaders, not the Vatican specifically.

You might find this book interesting The Habit: A History of the Clothing of Catholic Nuns by Elizabeth Kuhns

I started reading it a few months ago but got distracted with other books and haven't finished it yet.
post #3 of 51
When I was young, most nuns wore a wimple, etc. Gosh, I remember seeing Audrey Hepburn in "A Nun's Story" and wanting to be a nun... (Says the ex-Presbyterian, now Muslim.)

I always thought it had something to do with being the "bride of Christ" as well as the statement for women to cover their heads when praying (Corinthians?)...but I could be wrong.
post #4 of 51
Thread Starter 
hmm i didn't know it depended on the order. thats interesting. one would think there was some sort of consensus about these things lol.
post #5 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post
It depends on their order. Each order has their own tradition in regards to dress. Which is decided by that orders leaders, not the Vatican specifically.
This.
post #6 of 51
I worked at a catholic hospital for 3 years. only the very old nuns (and not even all of them) worse the veils. there outfit was just a modest (not even as modest as i would wear) blue skirt, white shirt, blue sweater and white or navy veil that covered their ears and hair. most nuns you would never know were nuns. I think I freaked them out a little bit when they saw my covering.... as they all wished me "Happy Chanakah!" all winter long. (guess they didn't realize other Christians cover too???)
post #7 of 51
Thread Starter 
lol yeah... people are forever asking me what religion i am.. man it awkward when i lol. then why do you wear that. why don't you. lol its an equally bizarre question

why blue? every nun i have ever known wore blue.
post #8 of 51
I don't know why blue. I assume it's a rather modest color. and I'm sure it has it's roots in the idea of "purity" though I when I think of purity blue I tend to think of light blue... but whatever.

I didn't realize you covered. why didn't i know that?! heh...
post #9 of 51
Depends on the order.

My parents and two siblings are devout and conservative Catholics and have been bemoaning the liberalism and radical feminism they've seen increasing among some religious orders for years now. Dropping the habit and covering has actually been going on for a couple of decades now.
post #10 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HennyPenny View Post
I don't know why blue. I assume it's a rather modest color. and I'm sure it has it's roots in the idea of "purity" though I when I think of purity blue I tend to think of light blue... but whatever.

I didn't realize you covered. why didn't i know that?! heh...
it doesn't come up much since its not a religious thing lol. though people always assume it is... apparently you can't be modest unless it's for religious reasons.

and yeah the purity thing makes sense... the nuns in my school wore a light blue/ dark blue combo lol

cappucinosmom - yeah it has i started Catholic school in... the early 90's and they had already stopped the wimple and had stopped covering almost completely by the time i graduated 8th grade in 2001
post #11 of 51
Blue is associated with Mary (she is almost always shown in blue in paintings.)
post #12 of 51
The old-fashioned habits (clothing) that most nuns wore were not really special outfits; most were just the kind of clothes people wore at the time the order was founded. If you look at pictures of clothing in the middle ages they are very similar to many types of habits. In general all women covered their heads in public, especially in church.

Different orders had different habits and rules, often passed down with few or no changes. At Vatican II, orders of nuns and monks were encouraged to review their rules, and concider if changes should be made. Many groups modified their rules to some degree, including their habits or clothing. In some cases they got rid of the habit altogether and wore modern clothes with a cross necklace. It depended on what the particular calling of that group was, orders of nuns who worked with the public often made changes so as to seems less intimidating. Nursing nuns made changes that made sense for their jobs.

Some orders kept the old habits that they always wore. This seems especially true of cloistered nuns.

I have noticed that although many groups of monks also changed their clothing requirements, they don't seem to have received the same kind of criticism that nuns have, or been accused of immodesty.:
post #13 of 51
Not Catholic but DH is and has a great aunt who is a nun. At Thanksgiving she (and her nun friends) were wearing white dresses w/ blue accents and white/blue habits (head coverings). I have never seen her wear anything different.
post #14 of 51
I grew up with a nun as my next door neighbor for most of my life (she still lives next door to my parents).
I've never seen her in a habit (I'm remembering back to the late 80's here). She would always wear pants and sweaters, and no head covering (as far as I know) unless it was cold outside.
I used to ask my parents when I was a kid why she didn't look like the nuns on TV, lol.
She is a Dominican sister and has been a nun for many many years. She also has a PHD and was a professor of theology for many many years and has done lots of great things for our community. She's probably one of the women I've known that I admire most actually I have never thought of her as particularly liberal or feminist, just very smart and kind. I do know that if I were a nun (which is unlikely considering I'm not even Christian...) I would want to be a Dominican .
post #15 of 51
My nana worked at a convent as a cook when i was little, i also wanted to be a nun! i loved the outfit. A lot of the older nuns continued to wear the older style of dress. There is an order here in oz that wears brown, i forget the name of the order but it was founded here. Also there is a great Australian series called brides of christ that covers this time, i watched it awhile ago when i was in catholic high school but it is really interesting, its a drama.
post #16 of 51
We did get to know some really neat monks and nuns a few years ago. They are Benedictines but there is the word "Renewal" attached to their name somewhere, I forget how it was exactly. They wore the brown robes with a rope belt. The full habit. I think the nuns wore a white headcovering.

That was during the stage when my little sister was considering being a nun. We visited one convent in the Bronx and just fell in love with those ladies. They were incredible, and there were actually quite a few young women. (And young men in the monastary down the street). They were definately among the sweetest, most beautiful, most loving people I have ever met.

Sorry. I just had to gush there a minute.
post #17 of 51
Thread Starter 
lol i think the ones at my school were the daughters of charity. even the ones who didn't work at our school were a big part of our community. just something kind of funny - we had three principles in a row called sr. mary catherine. lol. we used to do stuff with the older nuns all the time. one time we stuck paper four leaf clovers all over their house and then we took them on a hunt for the clovers... a few nuns were bedridden so we pushed them around in their beds.

one of our principals would always tell volunteers "your reward will be great in heaven" lol.. esp. if it was something the volunteer wasn't thrilled to be doing

many of the older nuns kept their head coverings i think...we just didn't see them as much since they didn't work at the school.
post #18 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by battymama View Post
My nana worked at a convent as a cook when i was little, i also wanted to be a nun! i loved the outfit. A lot of the older nuns continued to wear the older style of dress. There is an order here in oz that wears brown, i forget the name of the order but it was founded here. Also there is a great Australian series called brides of christ that covers this time, i watched it awhile ago when i was in catholic high school but it is really interesting, its a drama.
I saw this series, it was really good, but I had forgotten the name.

There was a very sad scene where one of the older nuns cries when she looks at herself in the mirror, after they have been told that they will be changing to a more modern habit.
post #19 of 51
As Arduinna said, it is completely up to each order. The colors of the habit (if a habit is worn) the head covering/veil, etc. vary from order to order and even group to group (Carmelites, Poor Clares, etc.).

http://romancatholicvocations.blogspot.com/

http://anunslife.org/
post #20 of 51
Most of the nuns I know dress ... well, kind of butch. Super-short hair, no jewelry, khakis, blazers. I recently attended a retreat weekend at a Sisters of St. Joseph house ... the only sisters in habits and/or dresses/skirts seemed to be the older/retired women.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
lol yeah... people are forever asking me what religion i am.. man it awkward when i lol. then why do you wear that.
Wow, that's pretty rude.


Quote:
Originally Posted by battymama View Post
There is an order here in oz that wears brown, i forget the name of the order but it was founded here.
Carmelites? I know a woman who is part of a secular Carmelite order, she wears street clothes but only brown.
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