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Sisters Without Habits?


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Thanks Sister Laurel and SrKateri and everyone else for offering your opinions on this.    I have a question that I already have an answer to in my mind having already made vows as a religious siste

Some times y'all make me want to cry.... Poor Jesus having to listen to all this hair splitting when we could all just be using this time simply loving Him and each other together. :console:  Now That

1. St. Catherine was a Dominican tertiary -- but so are the Nashville Dominicans and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. Third Order Religious (as we know them today -- and this

Oh goodness. I do have opinions, but I am not going to post them here, as some PMers feel very strongly about the subject, and I do not want to get into a cat fight!

There is a pretty typical dialogue in these habit vs no habit threads. I am guessing this one will follow that same pattern.

Good luck! ;)

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I am not sure if there is a particular thread-I think the issue has come up when discussing the LCWR and other issues indirectly related to the wearing of secular clothes vs a habit.

Wait, here is a thread: [url="http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/98950-blog-post-on-the-habit/"]http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/98950-blog-post-on-the-habit/[/url]
[url="http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/50971-religious-habit/"]http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/50971-religious-habit/[/url]
[url="http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/103101-how-important-is-the-religious-habit/"]http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/103101-how-important[/url][url="http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/103101-how-important-is-the-religious-habit/"]-is-the-religious-habit/[/url]
This turned into a beast of a habit thread: [url="http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/102929-after-dominican-nuns-on-oprah/page__st__80"]http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/topic/102929-after-dominican-nuns-on-oprah/page__st__80[/url]

Hope this helped!

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[quote name='nunsense' timestamp='1344079235' post='2462626']
There should be a debate thread inside Vocation Station for things like this - it gets as heated as the Communion in the Hand debates! :)
[/quote]
That's a really good comparison-a seemingly small thing (though I think both are large issues) that everyone and their mother has an opinion about!

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I have recently visited a religious community whose sisters always wear a traditional, full habit. They are active, and do a lot of missionary works also in the poorest regions of the world, and they always wear the full habit. This is to say that whatever reasons you will find about the fact that some communities do not wear the habity my opinion is this that to wear a modified habit, or not to wear one, is never a matter of necessity.
This said, I think that [b]to me [/b]the habit is very important. It is the first sign of a person's consecration in front of the eyes of the people.
I think it is necessary for members of institutes who make public vows. It is as a nuptial ring for married people. Even more, it is the wedding dress of the brides of christ. I am sure you would never see a girl who get married wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. The habit has its importance, always. We wear a kind of habit for every occasion. The religious habit is worn in every occasion to witness to the people that the person who wears it is a consecrated person and as a reminder of the reality of the Kingdom of God.
This is my humble opinion about the habit... :cloud9:

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Opinions? I'm happy with whatever is approved for each institute. If it is a pin and that is approved, then I will not second guess the bishop or Vatican. One of my favorite communities that was started by a woman who's in a fast track for canonization in our times does not have a habit... they are the male Missionaries of Charity, whose foundress, Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta did not want a habit.

[quote name='organwerke' timestamp='1344120590' post='2462769']
I think it is necessary for members of institutes who make public vows. It is as a nuptial ring for married people. Even more, it is the wedding dress of the brides of christ. I am sure you would never see a girl who get married wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. The habit has its importance, always. We wear a kind of habit for every occasion. The religious habit is worn in every occasion to witness to the people that the person who wears it is a consecrated person and as a reminder of the reality of the Kingdom of God.
This is my humble opinion about the habit... :cloud9:
[/quote]

I don't share that opinion. Maybe because my wedding dress of the "brides of Christ" was a wedding dress. I'm a consecrated virgin, and the proper sign of my espousals with Christ is my wedding band. This wedding band is a witness to the people that the person who wears it is a consecrated person and reminds them of the reality of the Kingdom of God. To equate the habit with a wedding dress makes one wonder what a friar's habit signifies.

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[quote name='ToJesusMyHeart' timestamp='1344127691' post='2462786']
Do consecrated virgins go by "Sister" or just their baptismal name?
[/quote]

Depends. Religious nuns who have received the Consecration of virginity (over and above their religious profession) go by "Sister" or "Mother" or "Abbess" or whatever their title in religion is. Consecrated virgins "living in the world" go by their title(s) in the world. Take for example, one of our more famous CV's, Dr. Janet Smith. Various written and spoken forms of address for her could be:

Dr. Janet Smith
Rev. Dr. Janet Smith
Rev. Miss Janet Smith
Janet Smith, PhD
Janet Smith, PhD, OCV (or OV)
Janet Smith, OCV
Rev. Janet Smith, PhD, OCV
etc.

Some CVs were formerly religious or are currently also diocesan hermits, and have permission from their bishop to use the title of "Sister". This is rare. Sister Wendy Becket comes to mind. I know a CV who has a papal knighthood and other titles. She could be "Rev. Dame/Lady Agnes Lamb". (Sorry, I can't be more specific here.. I don't want to identify her with all the titles she has the right to use). Reverend, Miss, OCV, and OV are proper ways of identifying a consecrated virgin and may be used in combination with their other social, academic, honorary, and professional titles. The most polite way is to go with the preference of the Consecrated Virgin in question.

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The male missionaries of Charity do wear a habit -- [url="http://www.mcpriests.com/01_who.htm"]http://www.mcpriests.com/01_who.htm[/url] It's a grey-blue sort of affair with the same cross pin on the shoulders that the Sisters wear.

The religious life is a symbol of the bridal union of Christ - this does include men, though women "image" this better. This is discussed in the documents of Vatican II and those following on religious life -- see [i]Vita Consecrata [/i][url="http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_25031996_vita-consecrata_en.html"]http://www.vatican.v...secrata_en.html[/url][i].[/i] Before God we all have a feminine or receptive stance -- whether we are male or female. John of the Cross also spoke of himself in a mystical marriage with Christ. Today we express this using the word[i] [u]union [/u][/i]rather than marriage when we are speaking of men - but the Theology holds.

Religious must, according to the Church, wear a "distinctive garb" (see [i]Essential Elements [/i][url="http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccscrlife/documents/rc_con_ccscrlife_doc_31051983_magisterium-on-religious-life_en.html"]http://www.vatican.v...us-life_en.html[/url][i])[/i] since they are public witnesses to the life of Resurrection -- but there are many ways in which this "distinctive garb" can be worn. For many it is a "traditional" or perhaps better put "monastic" habit. For others - it is something more akin to our own clothes. Generally the idea is to have something distinct and recognizable for that particular institute. Take for example the Servants of God's Love -- a [u]wonderful[/u] community that is faithful to the Magisterium and lives the active religious life authentically. [url="http://www.servantsofgodslove.net/"]http://www.servantsofgodslove.net/[/url] They wear navy, white and wheat colors and have a "mix and match" assortment of "outfits" -- a sort of habit (non monastic) -- and no veil. Personally I am a [u]huge[/u] fan of the habit [b]and[/b] the veil - yet this doesn't mean that there are not variations on the theme that are authentic and in line with the Magisterium. I do not believe the intent of the Council was ever to do away with the habit completely - as is evidenced in the line of emphasis in this regards in all the official post-Conciliar documents that followed [i]Vita Consecrata.[/i]

Edited by mantellata
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[quote name='mantellata' timestamp='1344132728' post='2462798']
The religious life is a symbol of the bridal union of Christ - this does include men, though women "image" this better. This is discussed in the documents of Vatican II and those following on religious life -- see [i]Vita Consecrata [/i][url="http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_25031996_vita-consecrata_en.html"]http://www.vatican.v...secrata_en.html[/url][i].[/i] Before God we all have a feminine or receptive stance -- whether we are male or female. John of the Cross also spoke of himself in a mystical marriage with Christ. Today we express this using the word[i] [u]union [/u][/i]rather than marriage when we are speaking of men - but the Theology holds.
[/quote]
Exactly, but only Consecrated Virgins share with the Church the specific title of "Bride of Christ". They fully and completely mirror / image not the bridal union of Christ, but the Church Herself as Virgin, Bride, Mother, and the spousality of the Church with Christ.

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I've noticed that very very very often, both sisters whose communities do not wear a habit as well as those who think the habit is very important will talk in terms of "being accessible."

(I'm talking about active apostolic sisters. The analysis would be different for contemplatives who don't go out-and-about.)

So, for instance, sisters who wear a habit will talk about being on the subway (or whatever), minding their own business, and someone pours out their life story because they just needed to talk to someone and the habit identified them as "safe." Sisters who don't wear a habit will often talk about how a habit can be a barrier, it sets them apart and can be something that needs to be overcome before they can minister.

Well waitaminnit. Some people say "a habit is important because it makes us more accessible!" Some people say "not having a habit is important because a habit makes us less accessible!" What gives? Is one just nuts? Or disingenuous?

I am guessing that for some people, seeing a sister in a habit triggers all sorts of senses of positive associations and paves the way for ministry. For some people it can be quite the opposite. And no one person, or one community, can be all things to all people. But, as any discerner knows, there are about a gazillion different communities out there! And just maybe, it's a really good thing that among all these different communities there are varying approaches so many different aspects of life, including dress.

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