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The Wedding Dress Orders (For Us Romantics)


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I believe the reasoning applied to the Poor Clares is that St. Clare was united to Christ at night surrounded only by St. Francis and his companions.  Of course, she had run away from home since her uncle was determined to see her in an arranged marriage but she wouldn't have it.  It depends on which PCC order it is because Rockford allows visitors to see the new novice after she is invested. 

 

Yes, that is true since anyone could have attended our Sr. Mary Agnes' clothing at Rockford, http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/123822-little-birthday-gift-to-our-blessed-mother-sr-mary/  You could see her in the parlor before the ceremony in her dress, and then afterwards in her Habit. It was still considered a private Church ceremony, but that was just how they did it. It wasn't part of Holy Mass, although she was wearing her dress for it and the priest blessed the Holy Habit after Mass I believe (couldn't have been before because I was late!)

 

This was almost exactly as it was at an investiture I attended at Dallas Carmel too. You could see the Sister in her dress beforehand in the parlor. Then there was the clothing ceremony, followed by Holy Mass which was a Traditional Latin Mass, which followed the old OCD Nuns' Ceremonial (which I have from the 30's) only it was in English, except the hymns, Veni Creator & O Gloriosa Virginum. It was very much like it was in the St. Teresa of the Andes movie. (although they did not wear the wedding dress, but a black dress instead with a black mantilla, which I also like)  http://veneremurcernui.wordpress.com/?s=clothing+dallas&searchbutton=go%21

 

This is how it is at Littleton Carmel also ~ http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/4938

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[img]http://parishableitems.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/bride_of_christ_1_7m7h2.jpg[/img] The Bride of Christ the King

[quote name='Sr. Mary Catharine' timestamp='1318966402' post='2323299'] But oh, how I missed not having a crown of flowers at profession! :-( [/quote] Sometimes someone will post on Phatmass

[img]http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-prn1/521638_397316103629698_100000539352602_1394745_151938408_a.jpg[/img]

I am not a big fan of the wedding dress.  I know a lot of young ladies here are so I certainly mean no offense.  I understand the "bridal union" in a much more Eastern monastic way wherein the only reference to "bride" is between Christ and the soul, but the word "spouse" is not used.  I have argued that we in the West often times get too dreamy with the "wedding" symbolism and therefore make this union between Christ and the soul far too "human" bordering on fantasy.  This is just my opinion, however. 

 

I get what you're saying. It can become too sentimental, and this is a tendency more for the Church in the West. However, in all honestly, this is truly how it feels, though I hesitate to use that word, because of course love is not all about feelings!! We know that from the ultimate expression of love at Calvary and from the lives of the saints. But in the writings of many of the saints as you know, they can sound very sentimental too about this relationship with Our Lord as their Bridegroom. It is a real thing and Christ is truly a Man. He is the only One who can fill the human heart which is so in need of love. I would rather not post on the internet a great deal about this though, as it is so highly personal. And I have a hard time when people start to get into debates about this even. Again, many of the saints wrote this way, including male saints, like St. John of the Cross and St. Bernard. St. Veronica Giuliani (who is being considered to receive the title, Doctor of the Church) made it the entire focus of her spiritual life, as so many did - to become the Bride of Christ and to be totally united to Him in His Passion. 

 

Here is an old thread on this where I wrote out some of my thoughts. I was a bit younger then, but I still feel exactly the same way ~ http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/67654-bride-of-christ-polygamy/

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Yes, that is true since anyone could have attended our Sr. Mary Agnes' clothing at Rockford, http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/123822-little-birthday-gift-to-our-blessed-mother-sr-mary/  You could see her in the parlor before the ceremony in her dress, and then afterwards in her Habit. It was still considered a private Church ceremony, but that was just how they did it. It wasn't part of Holy Mass, although she was wearing her dress for it and the priest blessed the Holy Habit after Mass I believe (couldn't have been before because I was late!)

 

This was almost exactly as it was at an investiture I attended at Dallas Carmel too. You could see the Sister in her dress beforehand in the parlor. Then there was the clothing ceremony, followed by Holy Mass which was a Traditional Latin Mass, which followed the old OCD Nuns' Ceremonial (which I have from the 30's) only it was in English, except the hymns, Veni Creator & O Gloriosa Virginum. It was very much like it was in the St. Teresa of the Andes movie. (although they did not wear the wedding dress, but a black dress instead with a black mantilla, which I also like)  http://veneremurcernui.wordpress.com/?s=clothing+dallas&searchbutton=go%21

 

This is how it is at Littleton Carmel also ~ http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/4938

 

I'm not sure if I understand correctly, chiquintunga.  Were you actually present for the clothing itself?  Or did you just see her before and after?  If you only saw her outside of the ceremony then it would still be considered private but if you were present for the ceremony itself it would have been public.    

 

I finally found, from the book I cited earlier, the quote about the rite of initiation (aka clothing, investiture, reception...) "The rite is to be very simple and direct in the presence of the religious community only.  The simplicity of this ritual is underscored by the proscription against celebrating this rite during the Eucharist."  The citation listed this quote as referring to the Rite of Religious Profession.  

 

There are a lot of communities that don't follow this directive either by having the ceremony with the presence of those outside of the community or within the Mass but its important for correct information to be given here.  I'm sure each community has a reason for why they are doing things the way they do though.    

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I'm not sure if I understand correctly, chiquintunga.  Were you actually present for the clothing itself?  Or did you just see her before and after?  If you only saw her outside of the ceremony then it would still be considered private but if you were present for the ceremony itself it would have been public.    

 

I finally found, from the book I cited earlier, the quote about the rite of initiation (aka clothing, investiture, reception...) "The rite is to be very simple and direct in the presence of the religious community only.  The simplicity of this ritual is underscored by the proscription against celebrating this rite during the Eucharist."  The citation listed this quote as referring to the Rite of Religious Profession.  

 

There are a lot of communities that don't follow this directive either by having the ceremony with the presence of those outside of the community or within the Mass but its important for correct information to be given here.  I'm sure each community has a reason for why they are doing things the way they do though.    

 

Thank you for looking that up for us, Sister Marie! Just googled that and see as you said it is not available online, except finding this little online preview of that book, http://books.google.com/books?id=FHZBFvLa5SkC&pg=PA82&lpg=PA82&dq=%22The+rite+is+to+be+very+simple+and+direct+in+the+presence+of+the+religious+community+only.++The+simplicity+of+this+ritual+is+underscored+by+the+proscription+against+celebrating+this+rite+during+the+Eucharist.%22&source=bl&ots=MW--_Qj0cv&sig=VxY_w3NRCZDZU6HULSeZkpxRW54&hl=en&sa=X&ei=QxHnUcLDC5P_yQHYiIHwCQ&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22The%20rite%20is%20to%20be%20very%20simple%20and%20direct%20in%20the%20presence%20of%20the%20religious%20community%20only.%20%20The%20simplicity%20of%20this%20ritual%20is%20underscored%20by%20the%20proscription%20against%20celebrating%20this%20rite%20during%20the%20Eucharist.%22&f=false  

 

For the clothing at the Rockford PCCs, I was in the public chapel and I could hear very faintly what was going on in the Nuns' Choir behind the altar, but it was pretty obviously meant to be private. I could hear a bit of what Mother Abbess was saying during the ceremony and Sr. Mary Agnes too. But again, it was very faint and it was only me and a friend in the public chapel. 

 

For Dallas Carmel it was much less private than that though. The public was indeed present for the actual clothing, except that the nun was behind the double grille, so you really couldn't see anything. There were not too many people there however, and there were no invitations sent out, as I remember the Prioress made note of when she explained to me that it isn't a public ceremony like Profession. It was also before Mass began. 

 

I have heard at Des Plaines Carmel however (which is French in customs) that it is entirely private, only in the presence of the community, although the family can come to see the newly clothed Novice afterwards. I heard this from a close friend of one of the Sisters. By the way, a page on FB a family of another Sister  ~ https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaKrotzerCarmelite (edit: just want to make clear, Des Plaines has a double grille, the picture is a close-up, I also have a feeling the nuns may not be aware of this FB page, they have very little internet presence besides a few articles & IRL listing with no picture)

 

I believe it is this way in other Spanish Carmels too, besides Dallas & Littleton, where the public can be present, despite it technically not being a public ceremony. I have heard of people going to attend clothing ceremonies at Valparaiso & Elysburg for instance.

 

My guess is that perhaps they have a particular permission to do this, because after VII Carmels were free to choose which Ceremonial they would follow (whereas before it was one Ceremonial they all used) and some Carmels created their own Ceremonials, like Iron Mountain, which several other Carmels use I heard. Again, maybe because of this particular freedom OCD Nuns have, they can do this, and technically the public still does not see the nun being clothed and it is outside Holy Mass. 

 

All very interesting to consider. I will definitely be asking this next time I visit Carmel.

Edited by Chiquitunga
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p.s. here is a Carmel in Spain where the clothing ceremony is like that too, even with the bishop presiding as it was in Littleton, CO in that article I posted above - http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/116361-the-wedding-dress-orders-for-us-romantics/?p=2574523

 

Again, I have a feeling they may have a special permission to do this because they are free to use the old OCD Nuns' Ceremonial. 

 

I notice also that many of the communities with the 1962 Liturgy have more public clothing ceremonies, like the Adorers of the Royal Heart, Benedictines of Mary & Slaves of the Immaculate Heart.

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I agree that they might have special permission... I just wanted to give the actual directive for reference for others... and because I had a hard time finding it and wanted to make sure I wasn't dreaming it! haha.

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I agree that they might have special permission... I just wanted to give the actual directive for reference for others... and because I had a hard time finding it and wanted to make sure I wasn't dreaming it! haha.

 

Oh, that was great, you're finding and sharing that! I am very happy to see this too. The detective/historian/researcher in me is always interested in getting those clear primary sources! :detective:

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I believe it is this way in other Spanish Carmels too, besides Dallas & Littleton, where the public can be present, despite it technically not being a public ceremony. I have heard of people going to attend clothing ceremonies at Valparaiso & Elysburg for instance.

 

another example from Elysburg Carmel ~ http://en.gloria.tv/?media=122205 (they do not use the wedding dress, btw) I am researching this and hope to learn more about a special allowance they have to use the old rite for investiture, rather than the new one from 1984 that was made reference to earlier in this thread. as Gracian has said, Carmels are now free to use whatever Ceremonial they chose and there are a number out there now that are presently in use, like one published by 1990 Carmesl in Spain and another one I heard of published by Iron Mountain Carmel

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I just searched for a few minutes because I remember very well going through a book that outlined how reception or investiture, profession of temporary vows, and profession of perpetual vows are supposed to be celebrated liturgically.  I can't find it online, probably because its older.  It might be the book "Rites of Religious Profession: Pastoral Introduction and Complete Text (1989)" but I just don't remember exactly.  While 1989 is out dated for the world, its pretty current for the Church, haha.  There might be another more primary source, for these norms but I don't remember anymore from my novitiate days!

 

Sister Marie,

 

I’ve read the same thing, too. I couldn’t find an online reference, either, but the reception into the novitiate is described as a private ceremony in the book Rites of the Catholic Church, vol. II, in the section that deals with religious profession. But I think this book was last updated in 1990, so it's only slightly more recent than your source.

 

Interestingly, while individual communities are given quite a bit of freedom to use their  own customs, the “Rites” book generally seems to envision the reception of the habit as something that happens immediately before first vows, as opposed to at the beginning of the novitiate. (It talks about how it would be praiseworthy for the habits to be blessed the evening before first profession, so that the Sisters to be professed could wear them for the first time at the profession Mass.)

 

I don’t have my copy of the “Rites” book with me right now, but I also seem to recall their being a specification that nothing in the ceremony for entrance into the novitiate should come across as suggesting that the novices are making any kind of binding commitment or that their freedom to leave is in any way restricted. I think this is the reason why so many communities discontinued the custom of wearing wedding dresses as a part of the ceremony for beginning the novitiate—if you’re already symbolically “marrying” Jesus as a brand-new novice, I would think that this could make it extremely difficult emotionally for someone who legitimately discerns during novitiate that her vocation lies elsewhere.

 

Although that being said…I do think that for communities with a special wedding dress tradition (like the Poor Clares) it can still be a lovely custom when it’s approached in a realistic and healthy way. 

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Well said. I love when Carmels do this, as it was their custom for some years although not from the beginning for sure (actually from the beginning they had no postulancy at all, but went from their secular clothes to the Habit of a Novice when they entered, one Carmel told me) But it makes perfect sense why some Carmels would choose to not do this anymore, which has nothing to do if they are more traditional or not (eg, the JMJ Carmels do not) But yes, for Poor Clares, I agree with you there.

 

That line you are referring to by the way, which refers specifically to the texts, is this one, "The texts for the rite must avoid anything that may seem to diminish the novices' freedom of choice or obscure the true meaning of a noviceship or time of testing." found here & here in Vol. II of that Rites book.

 

Regarding the line, "The rite is to be very simple and direct, in the presence of the religious community only" I can see how the Rockford Poor Clares for instance really did follow this. While the public (which was like 4 persons) could see the Sister in the parlor in her wedding dress beforehand, and afterwards in her Habit, the actual Rite was done privately in the Nuns' Choir. 

 

However for those Carmels I mentioned above, it was more public (though also in the Nuns' Choir & behind a double grille) though at least in Dallas it was still referred to as a private ceremony with no invitations sent out for instance and outside of Holy Mass of course. But yes, I believe they have freedom to follow their old Ceremonial in this way as so many Carmels still do this that are totally faithful to the Church.

 

Also, I mentioned there that in seems communities with the Traditional Latin Mass, like the Adorers of the Royal Heart, Benedictines of Mary & Slaves of the Immaculate Heart must have the freedom  to have it more public like this too, probably using older rites. But there are indeed several other communities that also are like this, like the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate and Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary (a Secular Institute)

 

All very interesting to ponder :think:

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ECO_Ultimo_cronaca1.jpg

 

Investiture for the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate

(largest picture I could find of them, the ones with our Klaudi87 aren't up anymore, nor that other one on their old site)

 

"At about 11:00 a.m., in the new chapel of the Mother House in Frigento, Rev. Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli celebrated the Holy Mass, in which the candidates for the religious investiture participated in their “wedding gowns”. At the end of the Holy Mass the postulants went to the Shrine of our Lady of Good Counsel where at around 12:30p.m. the ceremony of the religious investiture according to the ancient form of the Roman Seraphic Rite took place. In the brief introduction Fr. Stefano especially recommended the sublime virtue of humility, which is certainly the best disposition in receiving the great grace of the religious investiture. After having asked to be admitted to the Institute, the postulants were received, one by one, on the steps of the altar where, at the feet of the Founder, they left their civil attire and were dressed again with the seraphic habit. Then each one of them received a new name to signify the new life and the particular mission assigned to each of them by God." ~ http://www.franciscansoftheimmaculate.com/events.html

 

It seems they may have an exception from the directives in the new rite book to follow the norms of the older rite. It would be something interesting to ask about anyway. I would like to ask my local (French) Carmel, which I know does it entirely private, about the many other Spanish Carmels who have it more publicly (Dallas, Littleton, Valpariaso & fnds, Buffalo & Alexandria, not sure about Brooklyn but I would guess them too, Osma de Borgos in Spain, etc.)

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Praised be Jesus Christ! I was researching a little more for this thread regarding the recent norms given, quoted above, for the Rite of Initiation into Religious Life (aka, clothing, investiture) 

 

The original document with these norms was the Ordo Professionis Religiosae published in 1970. (found that here)

 

"Before giving the ritual of temporary and perpetual profession, the Ordo gives the ritual for entrance into the novitiate." (page 292)

 

quoting again from that book, a page up

 

"Until the appearance of the Ordo professionis religiosae, the various religious orders and congregations all used rituals of their own that were more or less original and connected with their manner of life. The Ordo professionis religiosae, which was promulgated on February 7, 1970, does not intend simply to do away with these rituals. It is presented rather as a normative blueprint that is to be respected but that also allows for many adaptions."

 

And I found a similar statement here"Indeed, as the new liturgical law directs, this book makes constant reference to the Roman Ordo Professionis Religiosae (“Order of Religious Profession”), adapting elements of that order to itself, using the freedom that is allowed to the individual religious families"  

 

So that seems to explain why some communities do not follow exactly the norms given by the Ordo. This also makes sense in light of what Gracian has said he has learned from his correspondence with different OCD Prioresses - that after VII individual Carmels were given the freedom to write up their own Ceremonies and Rituals. 

 

 

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here it is!

 

sisters5.jpg

 

 

and this one on their new site, thank you MM!

 

 

 

 

Who would have thought that my friend would have entered them instead of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal?  I was a little surprised but still incredibly happy for her.  She entered on the Feast of the Visitation.  I find my mind going to her and wondering how she is doing.  :)
 

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