Wednesday, March 12, 2008

There's Something About Nuns in Habits!

I have grown up post-VII, so, unfortunately, even though I went to parochial school in the 70's, with many nuns as teachers, it was mostly of the non-habit wearing variety... I'm not even sure of the order of these particular nuns... (perhaps Franciscan?) but, to me, then, it was no big deal to see "Sister" come to work in a mini-dress and bee-hive hair do : ) No exaggeration here.

By the time I was in sixth grade the convent behind the school had emptied out to all but 2 remaining nuns... and one of them was "new"... She wore a "habit". Complete, black with white trim, from head to toe. Sr. James Edwards was somewhat of an oddity to me... But there was something intriguing about her. I don't recall her EVER smiling, and she had a VERY dry sense of humor... much of which, at the time, went over my and my classmates heads... But she made an impression on me, for sure. And when I think back, it wasn't because she was a "great" teacher, or a favorite, by far, though I did appreciate her MORE in my later years... I think I remember her best, because of her habit... I only remember one other nun that wore the full habit at my grade school Alma mater, and she was there after I had already gone. But even though I never met her. Never knew her name. She was never a teacher of mine but, I would see her, in full habit, walking all over town, everywhere she went, she walked... she too made an impression, that I've never forgotten...

The only nuns that wear a habit around my town anymore are a group of sisters that work at another local parochial school. They wear a modified habit, that consists, depending on the season, of a dark or white skirt/suit with a short veil. For the short time my oldest son did attend school, I sent him to this one JUST BECAUSE there were nuns and they wore habits.

And I was SO thrilled when my own niece, Sr. Catherine Marie (see right) chose the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, as the order she would pursue to be a part of. Their habits are such a testimony!!

But I think that Rosalind Moss said it best in a recent interview that she had with Saint Louis Catholic : (emphasis mine...)

"Q: I’m sure you’re aware of the
statistics that show that the more conservative, more traditionally-dressed
orders are flourishing—there is more to it than just the habit, of course, but
there tends to be a correlation between the obviousness of the habit and the
orthodoxy of the order. Would that be a fair statement?

A: It’s a hundred percent fair. I
absolutely think so, and I know the young people today—religious young men in
the priesthood—they want God; they want orthodoxy; they believe the Church is
the Church Christ established; the Magisterium is the Church’s teaching office;
the Church is our Mother. God did not leave us on earth as a family any more
than He did Israel, to do our own thing. Israel was to be a people set apart, by
government, by dress, by food, by customs, by everything they did and did not
do. It was unthinkable for anyone in Israel to do their own thing, and if they
did, in many cases they would be put to death. When Jesus said to His disciples,
“I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it,” the
word he used for “Church” was the Greek translation of the Hebrew word for the
assembly, for the people of God convocation.
And we, too, the new people of
are to be a people set apart by their common government, and liturgy, and
customs, and all of that
. I think the young people coming up in the Church
today know what the Church is, and will address the confusion of the last years.
Coming into the Church, people have said to me, and to my brother David, “How
did you ever find your way into the Church in a day like this?”
And the way
we found our way in was not through Catholics so much, but it was the
Church—it is true, and it is God’s. I think that’s what young people
absolutely long for today; not just young people, but people of all ages. So,
yes, we are to be a people set apart, and
people entering the
priesthood and religious life want to be signs of God to the world and are
unashamed to let people know
. They are signs of eternity. In their habits, in
their clerics, they are signs of eternity in our hearts. I know
for a good many of the religious sisters who have done away with their habits,
that I have had the opportunity to speak to, for the most part, they have done
away with the habit because they don’t want the habit to be a barrier between
the people they so love and wish to serve.
But I believe the people need the
sign very, very much. They need the sign. They need God. They need us to be set
apart. They need us to be separate from the ordinary, because we are God’s
representatives on earth
. People need us to be set apart so we can help them—not
be one of them—help them on their way to Heaven. "

There. She said it... all that I have been thinking for years... This broken, wounded world needs to see "a people set apart", to give us hope, to give us encouragement. To give us a small peek of what heaven must be like... God Bless Rosalind Moss and all the best to her new community of Sisters, Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel's Hope! I can't wait to see their up and coming web site! If you would like to read all of the interview with Rosalind and St. Louis Catholic, go here.

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