Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Veils and Hats in Church

"A thorn in the pew" has an interesting discussion about wearing hats and veils in church, with some compelling links. I always have my head covered at Mass. It is a practice deeply rooted in Scripture and Tradition. Many people seem to have some scruple about veiling themselves when the other women in the church are bare-headed. To me, it is important to follow one's conscience, not what the people around one are doing or not doing. I do not judge the women who choose to go bare-headed and I hope they are not judging me, but if they are, that is their affair. As for imitating those around me, if I did that, I would not be living a Catholic life.

Ladies often say to me: "I wish I were brave enough to wear a mantilla." Dear Ladies, it requires courage to face death and to shed one's blood for the Gospel. It does not require courage to wear a piece of lace or a beret on one's head. For some, it may be a matter of overcoming human respect. If you are drawn to head coverings, then WEAR one and do not worry about what other people think.

Dymphna also had a post on this topic recently.

HERE is a post of mine about mantillas from a few months ago. And another article. Share

26 comments:

Juliana said...

Thank you for these wise words. I have been drawn to head coverings, but have not been wearing one in church. Head coverings have a strong presence in some Orthodox parishes, but not in mine. I think that is why I have avoided wearing one. I will be wearing one this Sunday.

elena maria vidal said...

Good for you, Juliana! Go, girl!

a thorn in the pew said...

I posted over at Dymphna's that I am trying to gather the courage to wear one to my son's First Communion where I am already a "traditional target". They are having a liberal Mass where the parents GO UP with the child so I would really be attracting attention as I have never wonr a veil at this parish since, well, leaving due to the unorthodoxy. The other problem is my daughter, she may only be able to wear one on Sundays because I don't want her being made fun of at school. This is a hard subject in such a liberal diocese where I live.

elena maria vidal said...

Such decisions are difficult when children are involved and I completely understand. The Holy Spirit will guide you.

Suzanne said...

Your post is very timely. I've been discussing this with a few friends, and I just made several different veils over the past couple of days. I started wearing one a couple years ago, then stopped. But, I just can't get it out of my mind that we should be doing it. I'm very happy with the new ones and can't wait to sew the little comb in and begin anew!

Could you also link the other post you had about veiling a couple months ago? I can't find it.

elena maria vidal said...

Yes, Suzanne, I just added the link onto the article. Thanks for your kind words!

healthily sanguine said...

Well said! I completely agree, and moreover if ladies (who are wavering over wearing a veil) will only consider, the problem of "no one wearing a veil" will end only one veil at a time! ;)

healthily sanguine said...

Also, not to be advertising needlessly, but two of my friends put together an excellent little pamphlet on the subject of the chapel veil, which is available at Requiem Press.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, hs, for letting us know about this book from Requiem Press:

"The Chapel Veil: symbol of the spouse of Christ
by Elizabeth Black & Emily Griswold

Is the chapel veil extinct?

Apparently not! This booklet gives the reasons, based on Holy Scripture and the Church Fathers, why two young ladies in college wear the chapel veil in the presence of our Lord.

In these two essays the chapel veil is shown as a symbol which helps the faithful understand the vocation and identity of woman, both in the order of creation and in the New Covenant sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist.

The time has come for a restoration of this traditional practice!"

Sounds excellent!!!

Margaret said...

I am considering wearing a veil but am not sure how to do it. Is there veil 'etiquette'?

How on earth do you get it to stay on your head? I have fine hair and I can picture it sliding all over my head! Or, my children grabbing at it and it becoming a huge distraction.

Are there certain guidelines about the color of your veil?

elena maria vidal said...

Hi, Margaret. I use a bobby pin to keep mine on and some mantillas come with a little comb sown into them. The combs really keep them on. I have fine hair, too, so I know what you are talking about. In the winter I usually wear a beret and that is the best as far as children go.

Some people say that black or dark veils are for matrons and white or pastel veils are for the unmarried. But the nuns always told me that white or gold or pastel veils are for feast days and Sundays. Black or dark colored veils are for feria (ordinary) days. So that is what I do. But people pretty much make up their own rules now. The main thing is the head-covering as symbol of Bride.

Bridget said...

Elena, what a nice, sensible post on veiling! I have been veiling for a few years now. My little ones are used to it and usually leave it alone.

I am new to reading Tea at Trianon. It is excellent. I am enjoying it very much.

elena maria vidal said...

Welcome, Bridget! Good to have you here. Thank you!

a thorn in the pew said...

I bookmarked that link. Lots of good reading there and when I want a book, I want it quick because of my business I don't always have the time. My daughter wears white(she wants a pink one) and I always wear black. I find it is easier not to have too much fabric in the back and have it more rounded. I had a longer point and when i would wear a coat, it would pull down.

Don Marco, O.Cist. said...

If a priest may contribute to what is very much a ladies' discussion . . . I am always edified and heartened to see women approach the holy and adorable mysteries of Our Lord's Body and Blood with heads veiled. I see it as another element in the recovery of the sacred. Just one word of advice: wearing a veil to church need not go together with a grim, hard, heretic–freezing face. A veil is lovely when the face it frames is capable of gentleness and joy . . . and even of a smile.

elena maria vidal said...

Dear Don Marco, anything you might add is always welcome.

marie said...

Most of the problem begins and ends in 'what will people think of me'? In the end most ladies will have to follow where PRAYER leads them.

In my former parish the Priest even encouraged EVERY parent to dress both their boys and girs in T-Shirt and jeans for their First Communnion. This saddened me greatly to see only ONE little girl dressed in white...the rest about 30 or more children were in T-Shirts and jeans...The parents felt they would be treated with disdain by the Priest if they dressed their children up in their finest. What a pity!

The Church is full of Saints and Martyrs who stood OUT from the crowds...step out in courage.

Yours in Christ,

Marie

elena maria vidal said...

Dear Marie, yes, it is really a matter for prayerful discernment, asking for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Coffee Wife said...

I'm going to take "Thorn in the Pew's" idea and initiate a 'Show Us Your Veil' movement in bloggershpere. I'll need yall's help to spread the word because otherwise uh...no-one will know to look at the post haha! I'll be preaching to the angels.

GOD BLESS!! Let us free the veil - not to save our souls or make us better then others, but to give the veil the RIGHT to be worn anywhere, any time by any woman!

www.thewalledgarden.blogspot.com

Coffee Wife said...

P.S. I wear veils, sun bonnets and foo-foo hats to Mass and also oftentimes when out and about. I get laughed at, stared and humiliated in many other ways. It's not fun and it's not easy but...well, how are we going to stand up to the World if we are afraid of humiliation? Or Lord hung on the cross NAKED for all to see - how lucky we are that we are *covering* ourselves with the veil!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Excellent post. I, too, prefer to veil though there are times that I feel the need to go to Mass and I don't have my veil with me or I'll wear a nice hat instead.

It should not be an exercise in "look I'm holier then you are". It's a personal thing between me and Him.

I have no problem with women being uncovered. Unfortunately, I have had some mean looks turned my way when I do have my veil on. Oh, well.

elena maria vidal said...

I agree, Coffee Wife. It is not about US. It is about showing reverence to God and proclaiming our belief in the Eucharist. It is about love for Christ, imitation of Mary, and a way of making reparation to their Hearts.

Hi, Cathy! Yes, wearing a head-covering it an act of devotion,love, and reverence like genuflecting. It is all about love for Him.

Ruth said...

Very well said!!!!!

Johanna said...

Hi, I have been reading some of the many blogs about covering your head in church and I cant believe the anger in some of comments.I went to catholic school and you were not allowed in the church without your chapel cap.We were given a hanky or tissue or didnt go in.I still wear a veil out of respect,obdience and humility as I was taught in 1964 at the age of seven.I would not go in without being veiled.I will say I am the only one wearing a veil.Even women alot older than me wear hats because they dont want to be stared at questioned or ridiculed.That is what confuses me the most.When I go to Mass I hear the whispers I am questioned by the women unveiled and being told of the cannon law of 1983 saying we dont have to wear veils anymore.I have been shy all my life.But when I am being told to follow those who say they are catholic but just dont want to stand out or be ridiculed I dont bother anymore to tell them that just because it was not mentioned in 83 doesnt mean it has changed.After years of this I finally had enough and called the priest over and kindly asked him if women were supposed to cover their heads.He said yes they are but over time it was something that women took upon themselves. They thought they were following a new law.Since then the women are nasty.But I wont follow what others do,I never have.Why they are looking around while in church is another mystery to me.I wonder why they are even there.I can honestly say when I go to church it is not for a review of the latest fashions.I dont care if women cover their heads or not.I dont look around to see whose there.All that matters to me is that I am there and I wear my veil out of respect and feel good when I put it on.I feel good when I come out of church.I am catholic and realize the love thy neighbor thing but people are nasty and just because they go to Mass doesnt change them sadly to say.I am not a fanatic or expect people to do as I do.My husband doesnt go.But it is the one thing in life that makes me feel at peace and he respects that.So the others can stare,laugh and whisper.They wont have to answer to me. Thanks and good luck to all in whatever you choose to do...Just do it for yourselves and not because of what others do or think. :-)God Bless

thoarty said...

I started wearing a veil just a month ago after deliberating and buying several and not having the nerve to wear one unless I saw someone else. Well, I have had enough! Since I started wearing one, another woman has also started and someone else told me that she was looking for her veil. Yes, I am sure that I am talked about - but having raised 7 children in our parish (two are still in elementary school) people pretty much knew where I stood in regard to my faith. My middle son is a seminarian and God willing, he will become a priest. He is the first seminarian from our rural parish in over 100 years of having a parish. I do it - the viel thing- in reparation for the many, many times that I have taken our Eucharistic Lord for granted and and did not give Him total repsect. I do it also as a small sacrifice for the salvation of my soul and for the souls of those who have no-one to pray for them. Often I 'chicken-out' - especially if I have to cantor and wear a hat but I love the viels and think they are so feminine and beautiful. When I was pregnant with our last two boys (at age 44 and 46) I bought really beautiful maternity clothes - everyone always commented on the beauty of the clothes and not about the fact that I was pregnant at such an advanced age. So now I am buying some really beautiful veils, all different colors and fabrics. The high school and junior high girls that I teach in weekly religious ed classes just LOVE them and always want to try them on! So I have several for give-aways but so far, no takers.

elena maria vidal said...

Good for you! It really does help one's devotion, I think.