The Habit: A History of the Clothing of Catholic Nuns by Elizabeth Kuhns

By Elizabeth Kuhns

interest approximately nuns and their designated garments is nearly as previous as Catholicism itself. The behavior intrigues the spiritual and the nonreligious alike, from medieval maidens to modern schoolboys, to feminists and different social critics. the 1st booklet to discover the symbolism of this dresses, The Habit provides a visible gallery of the varied varieties of non secular garments and explains the foundations and traditions that encouraged them. greater than simply an eye-opening learn of the symbolic value of starched wimples, darkish clothes, and flowing veils, The Habit is an incisive, attractive portrait of the jobs nuns have and do play within the Catholic Church and in ministering to the wishes of society.

From the garments visible in an eleventh-century monastery to the apparel worn through nuns on wood traces throughout the Sixties, conduct have continually been designed to express a particular photograph or excellent. The behavior of the Benedictines and the Dominicans, for instance, have been in particular created to tell apart ladies who consecrated their lives to God; different conduct mirrored the sisters’ wish to combination in one of the humans they served. The brown Carmelite behavior used to be hardly noticeable open air the monastery wall, whereas the Flying Nun became the white winged cornette of the Daughters of Charity right into a universally famous icon. And while many spiritual deserted conduct within the Sixties and ’70s, it stirred a debate that maintains today.

Drawing on archival study and private interviews with nuns all around the usa, Elizabeth Kuhns examines the various gender and identification matters at the back of the debate and brings to mild the paradoxes the behavior represents. For a few, it epitomizes oppression and obsolescence; for others, it embodies the final word good looks and dignity of the vocation.

Complete with impressive pictures, together with photos of the 19th century nuns’ silk bonnets to the easy grey attire of the Sisters of Social carrier, this evocative narrative explores the undying symbolism of the behavior and strains its evolution as a visible mirrored image of the alterations in society.

From the Hardcover edition.

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