Stepping out of an elevator, on my way to a doctor’s office, my eyes fell upon a sweet little face looking up at me with wide eyes. “Ooh, you’re pretty,” she said. Then, quickly slipping her hand into her mom’s, she began to skip along side her. “Mommy, is that what they used to wear in the olden days?” I smiled to myself. It would be the pure heart of a little child that would recognize that what I wear is “pretty.” It’s definitely not something you’d see for sale among gowns for proms and weddings. That is true. But it is a garment that speaks to the soul about Beauty Himself, the Creator of all that is beautiful. It seems typical of our good God to use something so plain and simple to speak so strongly of Himself, doesn’t it? Wearing it, one feels like a queen and reminded of the reality, “I belong entirely to Him.” Strange as it may seem, in this garment, which reveals only one’s face, hands and feet, one feels distinctly the dignity of being a woman. It inspires a sense of wonder within, while it proclaims that she who wears it is a veiled mystery in both her femininity and her consecration. To be honest, seeing another sister walking silently down a hallway, or through the orchard by herself on a sunny day, one is filled with awe. Wearing the holy habit, we witness to one another, here within the cloister, of personal intimacy with God, who is Love. It also reminds us of our Mother, Mary. Is she not the very embodiment of our feminine ideal?
This is the woman who, giving her total assent to the Father with loving surrender, crushed the head of the serpent! Through the power of silent Love within her, hidden within the daily life of Nazareth, sin and death were conquered! Wearing her scapular as a sign of confidence in her faithful love and protection, and hearing the beads of the Chaplet of Our Lady’s Seven Joys, (which hangs from our cord), we are reminded that we are called to respond, with her, to our Father from the gift of our “feminine genius.” As we continue on in this “Year of Faith,” we are filled with gratitude to God for pouring this grace into our hearts! The radiance of faith shines forth with the light to know that our consecration to Him is a reality. Our holy habit, our “wedding dress,” is a proclamation of this faith!
- a PCPA Junior