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Is It A Must For Nuns To Cut Their Hair

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DiscerningCatholic    1,399
DiscerningCatholic

I know that a lot of orders do have you cut your hair when you receive the habit. I met some Daughters of St. Paul and I asked them if they cut their hair and they said that it depends on what the sister wants to do; she said that if your hair is long and you can braid it and/or make sure it looks okay under the veil, you can leave your hair long. So it depends on which community you're talking about.

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Pia Jesu    268
Pia Jesu

There is much historical and religious significance to the ceremony of cutting the hair!  And yes, the practice does depend on the community.  During my own investiture (as a veiled novice), the hair wasn't touched.  Yet friends entering other orders either had a 

symbolic "snip" of a small lock of hair or an entire braid/pony tail cut off! 

 

Google "Danielle Reves 'Taking the Veil, Clothing and the Transformation of Identity'" (sorry, I can't seem to upload the link!) :cry:

 

Note (with a little humor):  After investiture, our hair was cut by someone using a sewing scissors!  One of the more vocal members of our group said that she "couldn't leave" --even if she wanted to--because it looked so bad!

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Gabriela    3,074
Gabriela

That's actually one part of religious life I will majorly look forward to, if I persevere so long. I hope they buzz it all off right down to the skin. It's such a pain in the tuchus as it is!

Edited by curiousing

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Sister Marie    1,242
Sister Marie

It really does depend on the community.  I had long hair before I became a sister but I have LOVED having short hair since.  It is so easy to take care of and I never really have to think of it.  When I remember what I used to do just to be presentable... I am thankful I don't have all that hair anymore!  Sometimes I miss the beauty of it but the practicality more than makes up for that!  As I get older the gray hairs don't show as much either!

 

Most sisters wake up very early in the morning and have little time during the day for personal maintenance so many sisters will choose to have short hair regardless of the community expectations.  However, I live with a sister now who has longer hair and she finds that easier... it makes no difference in our community though.  

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PhuturePriest    6,559
PhuturePriest

It really does depend on the community.  I had long hair before I became a sister but I have LOVED having short hair since.  It is so easy to take care of and I never really have to think of it.  When I remember what I used to do just to be presentable... I am thankful I don't have all that hair anymore!  Sometimes I miss the beauty of it but the practicality more than makes up for that!  As I get older the gray hairs don't show as much either!

 

Most sisters wake up very early in the morning and have little time during the day for personal maintenance so many sisters will choose to have short hair regardless of the community expectations.  However, I live with a sister now who has longer hair and she finds that easier... it makes no difference in our community though.  

 

My hair is short compared to female standards, but it's long in male standards and I have to spend tons of time making it look right. That could just be because I have thick hair and thick hair is quite the sight in the morning, but still, I wouldn't say having short hair means you barely think of it. If I hid it under a hood all day, I wouldn't think of it, but as it is, I have a comb with me at all times should I have the need to use it. :P

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

I would imagine that long hair under a veil, either traditional or modern veil, would be quite uncomfortable and problematic at times.  It's not going to be seen under a veil - cut it off  would be my choice. Oh how I would dearly love to never have to worry about my self willed hair again and cut it all off and have it tucked behind a veil!  I do like the pics I've seen too of women receiving the habit where the hair is cut ceremoniously (and 'unceremoniously' re hairstyle) as intrinsic to the overall clothing ceremony - very moving.

But it is nice to know that nowadays and probably in the main where the habit has been modernized that one can have a choice.  I would be lining up for the scissors, no hesitation.  In fact once in the long ago past, so fed up with my hair, I cut it all off myself really really short with decided lack of any ceremony due to style - my director at the time (priest) couldn't stop laughing - it was an absolute mess and a complete giggle-sight to behold.  I have a picture of it.

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maximillion    1,968
maximillion

I think most people who enter religious life have other focus than what they look like, so long as they are neat, modest, and clean (with habit or without).

 

As for there being a rule about it, as others have said, it depends on the community and community practices differ so much one from the other it is best to ask any community you might be interested in - if that is the reason for the original question.

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Antigonos    201
Antigonos
If one's head is going to be constantly covered, it is far better for one's hair to be short, otherwise it has a tendency to fall out. Ultra-Orthodox women and Muslim women who wear the hijab have quite a problem with premature loss of hair. They do not cut their hair, it is regarded as alluring and so only their husbands should see it.

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Francis Clare    630
Francis Clare

One of the PCPA abbesses told me this when I asked her about the hair thing:  Yes, it is cut off when the Sister is clothed.  One (or more) of the other nuns arranges it quite beautifully with ribbons, etc. and gives it to the newly invested Sister's mother. Mothers often save it to use it Profession Cards when her daughters are solemnly professed years later.  As for keeping it short, she alluded to keeping her hair in "the Franciscan style", which I took to mean either buzzed or cut extremely short.

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brandelynmarie    1,808
brandelynmarie
If I never had to color or style my hair again, I would be a happy woman :p . I would probably have bad veil days, but would never have a bad hair day again! :hehe:

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Gabriela    3,074
Gabriela

I would imagine that long hair under a veil, either traditional or modern veil, would be quite uncomfortable and problematic at times.  It's not going to be seen under a veil - cut it off  would be my choice. Oh how I would dearly love to never have to worry about my self willed hair again and cut it all off and have it tucked behind a veil!  I do like the pics I've seen too of women receiving the habit where the hair is cut ceremoniously (and 'unceremoniously' re hairstyle) as intrinsic to the overall clothing ceremony - very moving.

But it is nice to know that nowadays and probably in the main where the habit has been modernized that one can have a choice.  I would be lining up for the scissors, no hesitation.  In fact once in the long ago past, so fed up with my hair, I cut it all off myself really really short with decided lack of any ceremony due to style - my director at the time (priest) couldn't stop laughing - it was an absolute mess and a complete giggle-sight to behold.  I have a picture of it.

 

We want that picture. Post it, pleez. :)

 

If one's head is going to be constantly covered, it is far better for one's hair to be short, otherwise it has a tendency to fall out. Ultra-Orthodox women and Muslim women who wear the hijab have quite a problem with premature loss of hair. They do not cut their hair, it is regarded as alluring and so only their husbands should see it.

 

I've heard sisters also get patchy after several years. Just like guys who always wear baseball hats. Guess that's just the way the human scalp works!

 

If I never had to color or style my hair again, I would be a happy woman :P . I would probably have bad veil days, but would never have a bad hair day again! :hehe:

 

What, exactly, would a "bad veil day" consist of? LOL!

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BarbaraTherese    1,912
BarbaraTherese

We want that picture. Post it, pleez. :)

 

 

 

 

Sorry, curiousing, I have no idea how to post pictures - and if I did, I wouldn't post it.  It's a shocker, hair at the very most 2 inches all over and in places I suspect less, some more :) 

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brandelynmarie    1,808
brandelynmarie
A bad veil day? :) Hmmm, I'm guessing having it stuck up in places on top that shouldn't be sticking up...having trouble with the pins not behaving properly...or perhaps the veil itself not hanging evenly... :hehe:

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maximillion    1,968
maximillion

Bad veil days? Oh yes, had a few of those, but it is usually the Sister behind who notices most (no mirrors): the peaky point on top, the uneven lopsided placement of the top, outer veil vis the inner giving an uneven hemline so the white liner sticks out below the black, unravelling hemlines on either, tufts of escaping hair poking out.........

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TheresaThoma    2,286
TheresaThoma

I'm sure bad veil days happen.

 

My thoughts on cutting one's hair. I think the symbolisim is wonderful. In the Bible it is written that a woman's glory is her hair so to offer that up as a sacrifice is just perfect.

On the practical side having sorter hair is much easier to deal with. I have thick hair so washing it, brushing it, and pulling it back (braid, bun etc) can take a bit. I would much rather keep it short and not have to worry about it being presentable.

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maximillion    1,968
maximillion

I am posting this link as there are a few photos  ( page three I think) of 'le sacrifice de la chevelure' (the offering of the hair).

 

In this instance only a snippet is cut off in public - I don't know if that long hair is then shorn in the vestry where they retire to be fully clothed. Maybe so. I know that was the custom in my community.

 

http://www.icrsp.org/Pages/Photos-2013.php?nom_dossier=Prise-dhabit-bq&num_page=1

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Lil'Nun    173
Lil'Nun

When I first started discerning this issue bothered me a bit. I have quite long hair and I wasn't keen on the notion of having it cut off. I think that must have been vanity. Looking back I realise that if I was reluctant to sacrifice my hair, perhaps I hadn't done with discerning. Now I know that to enter is to sacrifice everything as you sacrifice your very self . So that may well include my hair. I'm cool with that. However, I do have very, very willful hair. It curls and sticks out in all directions. I have tried having it short and without daily calming, heat treating and styling it just looks like a ball of frizz. If it is long I can just tie it back and that is easier. So I would prefer, to save time, to either leave it long enough to tie back or a buzz cut. Either will be fine.

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Egeria    156
Egeria

While none of this is essential, I think that Lil'Nun makes an important point that short hair is not necessarily easier. It all depends on your hair. I used to have short hair before entering, but have the sort of hair that, to look half decent short actually needs more attention (of course that also depends on whether one wears veils, and the sort of veils one wears, and what sort of hair works - and does not work! - for the sort of veils that still show hair, which is another story...). The simplest thing was simply to let it grow so that I can tie it up and forget about it.

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