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The Holy Habit

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The following was written by a cloistered Dominican postulant
(above photo is of Italian Cross of St. Stephen nuns):

As a postulant, my eyes are fixed on that grace-filled day when I will be clothed in the religious habit.
While I was discerning my vocation, I attended several vocation weekends, seminars, and discussion groups designed to help young women find the religious community to which God called them.  All of the women I met, both younger and older vocations, desired communities that wear the habit.  Each shared the desire of giving oneself completely to Jesus and, thus, "putting on" Christ every day.
What better expression is there of who we are as the Spouses of Christ than the holy habit?  The professed sisters in my cloistered contemplative community each wear their habit with great love and reverence for Jesus; it is as much a part of them as their rosary, their veil, and their wedding band.  The habit is a reflection of the Vow of Poverty and allows for uncluttered attention to be given to Jesus; there is certainly no spare time in the monastic life to be given to coordinating a daily wardrobe!  The habit is also a symbol of withdrawal from the world and detachment from worldly possessions.
In the active orders, the habit acts as a very powerful and necessary witness of God's presence in today's world.  Speaking from my own experience, it is very reassuring to see religious out and about in our communities proudly wearing the habit.  And what an encouragement for young people thinking about a vocation to religious life!
That is why, to me, as to many of my contemporaries entering religious life, the habit signifies something much more than a garment of choice--it is a testimonial to a life consecrated to God.


Since we had a huge number of "hits" for habitry on the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima (May 13), we entrust to her the intention of bringing the habit back to the religious life.  Please join us in praying for this intention.

Please click here to view our Yahoo! group "The Religious Habit."

Click here to join thereligioushabit
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The Religious Habit by Fr. Jay A. Finelli

Cloistered Cistercian Nun: "Oh, I love my habit!  I can't imagine religious life without it!"

Psalms: "Worship the Lord in holy attire."

In Canon 669, Our Holy Mother the Church has specifically stated that she wants her priests and religious to wear the habit.  Nearly every discerner we've met wants to wear a habit--and in some cases, the pre-Vatican II version!

We do realize that some communities, having been founded in adverse situations, do not wear a habit.  However, some of these communities are discerning whether to adopt a habit.  If you feel called to one of these communities, but feel that you are to wear a habit, then please tell them!  You could become a catalyst for change!

"Updated" communities usually discuss the wearing--or not wearing--of the habit in their constitutions: "Clothing appropriate for the ministry."  While we now promote both active and cloistered communities, we would advise the discerner to follow gut feeling, and be sure to inquire as to whether or not "feminine spirituality" or environmentalism as religion is part of a community; or if they are staunchly pro-life ("anti-abortion"); or teach liberation theology (Marxism); or work for same-sex marriage. 
A community which is pro-choice; teaches liberation theology; environmentalism as religion; promotes same-sex marriage;  and feminine sprituality should be reported to the local diocese.

Our Lady of the Cloister, cover us with thy mantle!

"Do not rouse my love until it please to wake."  (Song of Songs)