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sr.christinaosf

Should I Be Wearing White?

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sr.christinaosf    509
sr.christinaosf

Should I Be Wearing White?

1965

Having lived at our provincial house for a time (where one of our Sisters wore white), and being familiar with our directives, I knew that there was an option for our Sisters to wear all white rather than black and white as I am accustomed to now.

However, the reality of this being done never hit me before like it did this past week.

I have been going through old photo albums and scanning in pictures to make a video for our 65th anniversary celebration at St. Anne’s.

One of my  co-workers noticed, in the old pictures, that some Sisters were wearing black and others white.  She asked me why that was.  I told her that Sisters who engaged in certain works may wear white.

I wasn’t sure which apostolates traditionally called for this apparel, and discussed it with Sr. Elaine, who was around “back in the day.”  I was informed that those Sisters in dietary even wore white, along with the nurses and care aides.

I find this history so interesting.  This photo project, although it is a lot of work, is fascinating and informative as well.

This discussion made me think to myself: Should I be wearing white?  

I do a fair amount of aide duties and dietary-related work.  (Maybe, I should have hung on to my white veil from novitiate!)

If I were living back in the early days of St. Anne’s, would I be one of the “white” Sisters?

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Antigonos    201
Antigonos

I think you should wear white only if you have a very big apron :)

Nursing and kitchen work are liable to attract stains.

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sr.christinaosf    509
sr.christinaosf

I do have a nice big apron - it is blue - very pretty.  Our activity assistant and I just made it this past spring because my old one was so worn.

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Sponsa-Christi    730
Sponsa-Christi
7 hours ago, Antigonos said:

I think you should wear white only if you have a very big apron :)

Nursing and kitchen work are liable to attract stains.

White can actually a more practical color for messy work, because you can bleach out stains. 

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Antigonos    201
Antigonos

Depends on the stain...I'm old-fashioned enough that I liked wearing white as a nurse [and a proper uniform instead of scrubs], but over time even hydrogen peroxide couldn't do the job.  Uniforms turned gray or yellow.

Certainly, in a hot climate, a white habit would be of immense benefit.

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AveMariaPurissima    901
AveMariaPurissima
10 hours ago, Antigonos said:

I think you should wear white only if you have a very big apron :)

Nursing and kitchen work are liable to attract stains.

 

3 hours ago, Sponsa-Christi said:

White can actually a more practical color for messy work, because you can bleach out stains. 

Thanks for explaining that -- I never understood why white habits would be worn for nursing and kitchen work, for the reasons Antigonos mentioned.  Now it actually makes sense! ;) 

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Antigonos    201
Antigonos

I think it was more because it "looked clean".  If you look at old photos of nurses at the beginning of the 20th century, the uniform they wore was actually the same as maidservants -- a colored dress with a white bib and apron [which could be easily changed] over it.  My student nurse uniform was like that.  The white collar had to be attached to the dress with studs, and the bib and apron were separate.

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Sponsa-Christi    730
Sponsa-Christi
57 minutes ago, AveMariaPurissima said:

 

Thanks for explaining that -- I never understood why white habits would be worn for nursing and kitchen work, for the reasons Antigonos mentioned.  Now it actually makes sense! ;) 

White was also the standard color for 19th century women's "around the house" clothes that they'd wear doing every-day domestic chores. Not only could you bleach stains, but white clothes were easier to launder because you could just toss them in with the sheets and other linens.

Fun fact, this is actually why Emily Dickinson wore her famous white dresses--it wasn't because she was eccentric, it was just because she didn't go out much and what was what ladies in those days wore when they were at home with no plans for company. 

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sr.christinaosf    509
sr.christinaosf

I wonder if black shows certain things more than white - but on the other hand, white shows a lot.

Edited by sr.christinaosf

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krissylou    360
krissylou

Sister, is it common for active Franciscan sisters to have black habits?  I thought that Franciscan communities usually wore brown habits.

I'm really not trying to sound critical one way or another, just curious.

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sr.christinaosf    509
sr.christinaosf

I'm sorry - I don't know the history.  In what I've seen, our Sisters have not been in brown.

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graciandelamadrededios    398
graciandelamadrededios
4 hours ago, krissylou said:

Sister, is it common for active Franciscan sisters to have black habits?  I thought that Franciscan communities usually wore brown habits.

I'm really not trying to sound critical one way or another, just curious.

Not all Franciscans wears brown.  Poor Clares and other Branch of Franciscans wears Gray Habits.  The Rule of St. Francis did not stipulate any color as long as the fabric used is inexpensive.

One Poor Clare Colettine Abbess told me that they wear Brown (thicker fabric; probably wool) during winter and Gray (lighter fabric) during Summer.

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vyvy07    6
vyvy07

The Alton Franciscans typically wear gray during weekdays, but the Sisters that work in healthcare/medical or kitchen usually wear white. And, they wear black for Sundays and solemnities.

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krissylou    360
krissylou

Interesting.  There's a Poor Clare monastery around the corner from me and their habits are brown.

But of course there are about a thousand things more important about all these communities than the habit color.  I was just kinda curious. :) 

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graciandelamadrededios    398
graciandelamadrededios
1 hour ago, krissylou said:

Interesting.  There's a Poor Clare monastery around the corner from me and their habits are brown.

But of course there are about a thousand things more important about all these communities than the habit color.  I was just kinda curious. :) 

Curious is good!

Even Carmelites, in medieval times, wore black to blackish grey, depending on what is available fabric that was common and cheap.

Edited by graciandelamadrededios

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