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Monday, September 20, 2010

Children Wearing Mantillas

Women choose to veil in church for many different reasons. I myself have more than one reason to veil. When I first started wearing a mantilla to church I felt self-conscious and thought that everyone must be staring at me, but once Mass started it helped me focus on worship and prayer. Like a hat that was capturing my thoughts and keeping them in my head.

The "casual" feeling I had at Mass before was replaced with a deeper seriousness about what was taking place. Around the same time I started dressing in my "Sunday best", which was a conscious effort to prepare myself for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Not to get on my soap box, but when you show up to Mass wearing shorts and flip flops its easy to take it as something as common as going to the grocery store - not as the miracle that occurs before your very eyes as Heaven itself is opened up to us.

When my daughter was old enough to keep something on her head without instantly tearing it off, I also put a mantilla on her. And now that my youngest is old enough, she also wears a mantilla. Together, the three of us must be a sight.

Ivy, playing "church" at the apartment in Milan where we were staying last year for a vacation that started with Violet's baptism at the Vatican.

And these days, I know for a fact that people do stare. The number of women who veil in my parish is small enough, and I think it is probably safe to say that my girls are the only children who veil. Every once in a while I see a young lady, maybe around 14 or 15, who veils. But never have I seen little girls veiling in any parish in Las Vegas.

We have gotten a variety of different responses about the girls veiling. Either we get smiles and nods, or we get sneers and shocked frowns. Before and after Mass, some of the older ladies will coo at the girls and say how cute they are.

I taught them to veil just as I am teaching them modesty in their comportment and in their dress. It is never too early. During the summer, while my 3 year old's friends strip down to their undies at the park to splash in the splash pad, mine stays covered up. I know that there is nothing "wrong" with a naked toddler, but 1) I don't know what creeps could be lurking around, and 2) I don't want her getting used to being naked in public. Even if it is as a child. Naked at home is fine when there is privacy. But not in front of strangers.

And wearing a mantilla in the presence of the Sacred Species is one of those things that I think are never too early to learn, along with humility and obedience to the Lord. I also make sure that our shoulders and knees are covered at Mass.

Where do you stand on children wearing a mantilla to church? What about covering shoulders and knees?

1 comment:

  1. Andrea, let me begin by stating that in our society, MODESTY and HUMILITY are scarcely to be found, whether young or old. Unfortunately, that also automatically means RESPECT is scarcely to be found - respect for God, parents, others, society.

    You are teaching ALL 3 of these ideas to your daughters. Don't think that they won't be better for it - they will follow now, and understand later. Actually, from what I gather, they already understand quite a bit, perhaps more than you realize.

    I am an old-school Catholic. I may not be the sharpest dresser at Mass, but you can be sure, NO SHORTS and NO WIFE-BEATER SHIRTS for me! By the same token, I do see young parents in Mass whose children are dressed appropriately - polo shirts or button-down shirts with slacks for the boys, tasteful dresses for the girls.

    What you are doing is creating a standard of respectful dress for your daughters, and when other children ask them who taught them to dress that way, who do you think they will credit? YOU!



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