|A few years ago, I bought |
myself and my daughters
chapel veils to wear to mass.
I noticed the only ones
wearing them were the old
Italian ladies who sat on
the front pew. I was in
the back pew with a 9 yr
old and a legally blind,
autistic toddler. I
watched the ladies. They
seemed very holy to me.
Their reverence. Their
piety. Their unquestionable
faith that had them there
every single mass, rain or shine,
no matter what. The clinking
of their rosary beads. I was
I watched EWTN. I saw
ladies walking in to mass
wearing veils. I noticed
some were long black ones,
like the ladies I had seen.
Some though, had these
cute round ones... sort of
like doilies, atop their
heads. Like a more modern
take on a veil. "Now, I
could do that.." I privately
mused, and thusly ordered
myself a "doily" one, a
longer, more traditional one
for my eldest daughter
who didn't want to wear
"a doily". I even bought
a triangle shape "baby" one
with ties on the ends for
my toddler. We donned
our veils, and went to
mass, heads held high.
The little old Italian ladies
weren't there. Did they
switch parishes when I
wasn't looking? Were they
attending that super-early
mass I couldn't get to,
(because I'm too lazy to
get up that early)?
Regardless, they weren't
there. And we got stares.
Not so much the kids. But
I did. I felt silly, awkward,
and out of place. This felt
like the equivalent of having
the back of your dress
tucked into your panty hose.
We never wore them again.
A few years later, we started attending a more traditional parish. Veils were worn more, true, but
still not a huge amount of ladies wore them. And not just the "old" ladies either. Women younger than me were wearing them. But still, I heard a few snide comments made by a remote few non-veil wearers behind their hands.
I considered mine at home. I'd bought a few more
here and there, but the veils were doomed to sit
unused in my drawer as I was too embarrassed to
try wearing them again. And I didn't want to be
the topic of conversation if I did wear them.
About two years ago, I slowly started feeling led to
start dressing more modestly. Not that I was
dressing "trampy", but suddenly I was more aware
of my skin being "exposed" (or my daughters) and
what was that saying about my family's reverence? Yes, yes, I know God loves us even in rags and
smelly. It's not a fashion show and I get that.
That's not where my thought process was. My
thoughts were that I AM IN GODS HOUSE and I
need to show reverence and respect. Not that I
wasn't before.. I was... but suddenly I felt exposed
if the sleeves of my blouse were too short. I wanted
my skirts longer, my shoes closed toed. I started
taking a wrap with me to mass, so I knew in my
heart I was modest and covered and my arms not all sticking out. The time or two I forgot my wrap, I
felt indecent and exposed... not a good feeling to
Fast forward to early 2011. Lent was coming. As a Catholic (I think we all do this), I wanted to use the Lenten Season to grow in my faith, pray more, attend mass more, and over all be a better Catholic. I was listening to one of priests one day, and he said that we need to make ourselves "smaller" and "less" to make God "bigger" and "more". Less of "me" and more of "Him". My life is what He has blessed me with. And it's His to take away, add to, and so forth as He sees
fit. I am His. And with that, I realized my sin of
Yes. Pride. I got up every morning before going to mass and would wash and dry, mousse, curl, tease,
and spray my hair before mass. If I'm not going
off anywhere, I don't even do that for my own
husband. I only get up, shower, let my hair dry naturally, pull it back in a ponytail and put on a
house dress. God didn't care what my hair looked
like. He cares what my heart and soul "look" like!!
I considered the humility of Our Lady. I considered
the humility of the nuns I've seen. The humility of those old Italian ladies I'd seen before. That's when
it dawned on me... their humbleness and humility... that was something I wanted. So, I decided, that was going to be my goal for Lent.
For forty days of Lent, every time I went to mass
I put on a black veil. Long enough I could tie it up under my hair so it wasn't hanging down. It felt
weird and awkward. I got stared at. I felt like a
fool. Comments were made.
"Oh, I guess now you don't have to do your hair any more." (Said in a condescending way)
"I thought about doing that once, but I realized I didn't 'have' to."
"Only grandmothers wear those!"
"Father such-n-such said we didn't 'have' to do that.."
But, Lent was forty days long. This wasn't about me. This was about making 'me' "less" and God 'more'. This was about letting go of pride. About showing humility before God. Not just about
wearing a veil in mass, but wearing a veil on my
heart. I bought the books, "Holiness for
Housewives" and "Apostolate of Holy Motherhood". Women's libbers would have had a cow. I didn't
care, and DON'T care. I've never been for that gobbledygook anyway!
I decided, well, if at the end of Lent I am still
feeling silly and embarrassed, I'll stop. And if
anyone asks I'll just say I was doing it for Lent.
Good plan, right?
Lent ended. It's July.. I'm still wearing veils.
The remote few people who made "meow, meow"
little comments stopped with their commenting.
(thank goodness). And I am still wearing a veil
every time I go to mass. (ETA: As of 7/21/2013
I am still veiling, and plan to veil the rest of my
Finally, today, my girls and I attended the "daily"
mass at noon. We walked down to the front pew
(our normal place) and as always it was beautiful and then when mass was over... I had a surprise. A lady walks up to me, and says, "What a beautiful veil
you're wearing! Where did you get it from?" I thanked her, and told her where I'd ordered it.
(it's the handmade black lace doily looking one) I briefly told her of how I'd started wearing them. She was smiling and nodding... and says that she "had"
to wear them when she was young, and would like to start wearing one again but didn't want a long one.
She loved the style of mine. :) She was encouraged
to get one. Vindicated at last!!!
I admitted to this lady that it had been a source of
pride for me. That I had basically "made" myself
wear them during Lent. But I'd actually learned
things BY wearing them. No, I don't have to make
such a fuss putting a lot of product in my hair to look "good" for "other people". Mass isn't a fashion show. Wearing a veil taught me to quit fussing over "looks"
so much. (so vain!) Also, (and I can't believe I'm admitting this), but I am SO DISTRACTED during mass... I sit in the front row for two
reasons... one... so my visually impaired child can
SEE what's going on... and so I am not distracted
by kids kicking the pew in front of them and so forth and so on. I can tune it all out better if it's going on behind me. The veil helps more than you think, too. When it's hanging down on the sides, it's sort of
like "blinders"... which is good. Helps me keep
my eyes on Jesus. :)
Some people don't like veils. Some do. I saw a
recent poll, and it seems that most people do wish
that women would start wearing them again, but
most are unwilling to 'start' it at their own parish. I totally get that. It's nerve-wracking when you feel
like the lone weirdo. :) There are other ladies at
our parish wearing them, so it made it a little easier. Though sometimes at the noon weekday mass I am
the ONLY one wearing one. But I'm past that. I
don't care now if someone thinks it's odd. *laughs* I'm certainly not looking funny at you because
you're 'not'. :)
Veiling (for me) is a personal thing. Something I do
not for 'me', but for Him.
It does help that I'm not getting weird looks any
more. :) LOL
P.S. I invite you all to read my friend Sue's blog
entry, "Pondering"... it goes very much with this topic.
ETA: I've been asked where I get my veils... so
here you go. :)