Behold the Dominican nuns pictured above. We cannot see their faces, but we are instantly attracted to and fascinated by them. And we all know why. IT'S THE HABITS.
Nuns wearing habits are beautiful, enchanting and wonderful. They are a bold rebuke to a corrupt society hypnotized by its own vanity. They are a mystery. Those habits are an invitation to God. They preach to us. They say, "I have something deeper that gives my life meaning and I don't need or want all that other stuff."
And nuns in habits almost always look happy. Very happy.
If you've ever moved to a new parish and been surprised to find that the older woman in the polyester pants suit sitting near the front every week was really Sister Pat, welcome to the club.
Why do nuns need to see hair stylists? Why must they suffer the indignities of scanning the selections at Lane Bryant and Woman's World? Does it bespeak their vows of poverty when they have to find just the right earrings or necklaces? Do nuns really need makeup? Does it show fidelity to the Church when their clothing is a product of the same modern world that has given us bikinis, breast implants and birth control pills?
Does it convince the laity that a woman has renounced all personal vanity when she has to look "smart"? Can the average layperson believe this is a woman "set apart" for God when she looks like everyone else?
Oh, we've all heard the arguments against habits:
Many of these nuns work in the world, and habits just won't fit in. Nuns in habits are not "approachable". We need to make sure that the laity can see that nuns are real people just like you and me.
Of course nuns are real people! Do you think those are martians in those habits? There is no more approachable person you will find than a Catholic nun. And, for the record, nuns are not "just like you and me." They are ladies set apart, spouses to Our Savior, immersed in love and service.
Are you still not convinced?
All right then. Here are 10 reasons why nuns should wear habits:
Sister Joan Chittester
Sister Jeanine Gramick
Sister Patricia Cruise
Sister Margaret Mary McBride
Sister Donna Quinn, OP
Sister Camille D'Arienzo
Sister Elizabeth Johnson
Sister Carol Keehan
Sister Barbara Reid, OP
Sister Mary Ann Hinsdale
And for all you "But what about Vatican II?" folks:
"The religious habit, an outward mark of consecration to God, should be simple and modest, poor and at the same becoming. In addition it must meet the requirements of health and be suited to the circumstances of time and place and to the needs of the ministry involved. The habits of both men and women religious which do not conform to these norms must be changed."
Vatican II Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life
The key word here is "changed". It doesn't say "eliminated".
Do you know of any religious orders without habits that are "renewed"?
Finally, just in case you've missed the obvious, there's an eleventh reason nuns should wear habits: They look more feminine. Definitely.
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet choose one of their own for a complete wardrobe update
and makeover on TLC's
What Not To Wear