Sunday, October 14, 2007

What's Out? Lay clothes. What's In?: Clerical Garb and Habits

On the vocations front, I've been following something for the last two years: Traditional clerical garb and religious habits are making a comeback. Here's more evidence found among the many comments in this thread at the blog of Fr. Z:

I have a friend who is a seminarian in Rome who belongs to a newer religious Order called the “Servants of Mary Immaculate”. They wear their particilar habit, which is just a Roman cassock with a royal blue cord around the waist, 15 decade rosary, and shoulder cape with an embrodered Immaculate Heart image on the left side. They also wear saturnos (Roman platter hats).

There are not many of seminarians for the Order in Rome, only about 20-30, but then again, it’s a relatively new Order. But my friend said that in the last 2 years He’s been studying in Rome (but He’s been in the Order in Italy for 5 years),
he’s seen a perceptable visible change in the number of religious wearing habits (both men and women).

It’s a growing trend to see more habits, cassocks, soutanes on the streets. And even the wearing of the saturnos by some seminarians. And even some wearing the national cassocks (particularly on the streets of Rome on Sundays) of their Pontifical Seminaries. He said that there are dozens of Orders of sisters wearing habits he’s never seen before, and in the old fashioned “1950’s” style habit, a la Audrey Hepburn in “The Nuns’s Story”, not the typical little short grey, brown white or beige skirt and small veil like most communities wore for the last 35+ years.

He’s seen Franciscan Friars of new branches of the Order in ahbit (two new communities), Dominicans, and Trinitarians all in habit in seminary and on the streets of Rome. The only seminarians who still cling to layclothes are some of the Pontifical seminaries and universities, the Gregorian UNiversity (unfortunatly). The only groups of seminarians who never ever wear clericals apparently are the very few Jesuit, Salesian, and some diosecean seminarians. The “dying” policy against wearing habits and cassocks is mainly from the liberal Orders. The Legionaries of Christ are all over Rome in cassock, as are the OPus Dei seminarians. Also the INstitute of Christ the King.

My friend said He’s seen the liberal Orders of nuns still hanging around in layclothes, but they are all very aged women in their 70’s, while the nuns who wear the conservative or even old fashioned “1950’s” habits are much younger. He was surprised that some groups of traditionally habited nuns He’s seen in St. Peter’s Square and other Churches are hardly more than girls just in their 20’s, compared to the liberal nuns in their 70’s and older. What a contrast.

My friend said that it’s a statement on two different images of the Church. One is the “dying” image of the Church…the rad progressives of the 1960’s which discarded everything (including the TLM). The other is the reborn Catholic Church, which is the Church of tradition, of John Paul II , Benedict XVI, and Summorum Pontificum.
You’d have to see the e-mails and booklets he’s sent me to prove His point, but from the hundreds of photos and films He’s sent me over the last few years, it’s quite a contrast between two interpretations of the Church.

Source comment

I've been saying this for two year now. Then again, in the Detroit area we have "recognizable sisters" in Sisters of the Holy Cross (ORC) at Grotto, as well as through orders like the Dominicans Sisters - Mary Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor. We see the youthfulness of those choosing the habits.

I also still have a belief that the surge of vocations taking place in cloisters, like that of Mother Angelica's order, is much like the way the military soften's the target by sending in artillery ahead of troops. Their prayers and sacrifices are preparing the Church for less ambiguous times ahead, and I believe the fruit of that work will be more orthodox priests and sisters in parishes where we so desperately need them.

The cassocks are coming! The cassocks are coming!!!

Are you seeing a trend in this direction in your area? Tell us about it.

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