Sunday, February 11, 2007
Nuns Should Wear the Habit

All religious sisters and nuns should wear the habit of their respective orders. No longer should these women, who have given their lives to the service of God and the Church, be dressing like laypeople. It is time to return to the ancient practice of wearing a distinct habit - this is not fulfilled by wearing laypeople's clothing!

The habit inspires women to leave their lives and gives themselves to God. The same is true for men who are inspired by the garments worn by priests and monks. To enter a religious order, one does not just experience a change of heart and soul, rather, there is also a change in the physical realm. For example, many religious orders require the women to adopt a new name when they become a nun in addition to wearing the habit.

Over the past 30 years, the number of women in Catholic religious orders has decreased by around 50 percent. There remains 85,412 religious sisters in the United States, and the average age is 68. The religious orders actually seeing growth are the ones that wear a traditional habit including The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia and Mother Teresa's religious order.

The fact is that the habit is truly a spiritual treasure. The key to increasing the number of religious sisters and nuns in the world is to again bring back the mandatory habit. No longer should nuns be allowed to live in apartments and wear laypeoples' clothing; rather, they should be living in a monastery to praise and serve God.

Code of Canon Law: "Religious are to wear the habit of the institute determined according to the norm of proper law as a sign of their consecration and as a testimony of poverty" (Canon 669, 1).

Wearing laypeople's clothing does not serve as a "sign of their consecration". I hope and pray that more orders will again adopt the traditional habit. As for me, it is always inspiring to see a nun out in public because she is out there living her life for Jesus. Having nuns wear habits brings God to others. And those that live today in doubt or fear can be comforted by the sight of a nun, who is prayerfully serving the Lord.

Examples of the beauty, simplicity, and witness to the Faith when a habit is worn:

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