Faith/Spirituality Forum: Habit

Habit QUESTION from Anon September 22, 2001 Why don't religious wear their religious habit anymore? I met a sister of St Joesep of wicetha with earings eyelash and lipstick, just to name a few accesories!!! Is this not horrible? where has the vow of poverty gone too? What does your community wear? The men a women? Thanks!
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on September 28, 2001 Dear Mr. Anon:
VERY good question.
The reason that many religious have stopped wearing distinctive habits is because, in my opinion, the smoke of the devil as entered their monasteries and convents. Their excuse is that wearing street clothes makes them more accessible to the people, but this is bull.
From my experience the people are THIRSTY and DESPERATELY WANT TO SEE religious in their habits. IT is comforting to see a consecrated person in habit. It brings a bit of heaven to the streets. It reminds the public of God. Like police officers in uniform remind us to obey the law, a religious or priest in habit reminds us of God's law, and love, and mercy.
I will never forget the Holy Father's words during his trip to Mexico soon after he became Pope. There were a whole group of religious sisters sitting in the front rows. The Pope, in front of millions, pointed hi figure at these sisters and said (as best as I can remember), You sisters need to be wearing your habits and you also need to remember that you are NOT social workers, but you are the brides of Christ.
The Holy Father has COMMANDED that religious wear the habits of their order. The problem is the habits of many orders have been so secularized that one can barely tell it is a habit.
Such secularization of religious garb is a sandal and a motivation of the devil in my view.
In our Community, professed brothers wear one of three habits -- depending on what they are doing. We have a work habit that is composed of black pants, and a black shirt of half tunic, with sandals and a pectoral cross.
Our Day Habit is a full black robe with hood, white robe cincture, sandals, rosary hanging off the cincture, a modified Silver/Brown scapular draped over the cincture, and a pectoral cross.
Our full Liturgical Habit is the same as the Day Habit but with a full silver/brown scapular over the shoulders and down to the ankles, and a cape with hood (like a Dominican Habit except black)
Also in our Community the professed brothers are mendicants (total poverty and rely entirely upon God for survival). We own nothing, not even our habits, not even our toothbrushes (though I doubt if anyone else would use the toothbrush if a brother left :-).
All possessions are owned by the Community; we, as individuals own nothing.
I agree with you. Seeing sisters wearing makeup and jewelry and clothing that barely looks like a habit if at all is horrible. We must pray for a revival among the religious communities.
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