Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Headcovering Questions

I used to think about covering all the time (when it was something that I wasn't doing!). It's been two and a half years since I started covering at Mass and because I hardly think about it anymore I met an unforeseen challenge when I tried to begin writing a post on headcovering. My technical knowledge of how to keep a veil on when a toddler and an infant are both trying to rip it off has increased, but I feel like my brain is mush when faced with the question "why do you cover?"

The basic answer is simple. It was something I felt called to do. When I wasn't doing it I thought about it all the time. And Paul's teachings on covering kept popping off the page whenever I picked up my Bible.

It's a topic I plan on writing about more in the next few days to stay sharp, because the fact that the answer in my head seems kind of fuzzy bothers me immensely (but at least it's got me thinking about covering again). I'll end this post with a question (or more!).

Why do you cover (or in contrast, why don't you cover?)? When did you begin? Did you feel nervous (I know I did!)? What do you cover with? And any other thoughts on headcovering are appreciated!

I was having fun with my veil and a fan Paul brought home from Rome with him yesterday morning. Thus the picture. I love veils. I love fans. So much fun!


  1. I covered because I felt like God was calling me to do so. It took about 6 months of wrestling with Him over it, but I started covering late last Summer. I was very nervous when I started, mostly nervous about wearing it to church (I'm the only covering woman at my church) and work. Looking back I think I made a bigger deal of it than I needed to. I thought people were always staring at me, but that was just my insecurity. No one as ever approached me about it or made me feel strange for wearing a covering.

    I cover mostly with snoods for worship. I feel like my entire head and all of my hair needs to be covered then. If I am going to be out in public I usually wear a tichel or bandana. Sometimes I will wear a wide headband. It sort of depends on the day. Covering has a lot to do with modesty for me too, so if I am going to be somewhere public I prefer to have all or most of my hair covered. When I am at home I still like to have my head covered, but I will allow my hair to be down and hanging out of my headband or bandana.

  2. At times I've felt as though I may start... but I've not for a multitude of reasons. First & foremost bc noone else does. I am a newish convert and would feel as though I were "putting on" in a parish full of cradle Catholics. 2d I struggle with pride & modesty. Drawing such attention to myself by covering would only amplify these qualities that I'm attempting to squash. I guess there are a million others but they pale in comparison. One day I hope to reach the point where I am covering and it becomes something I don't have to think about too!

  3. 1. I cover because I know that my beauty is nothing in comparison to the beauty of Christ on the alter. I also cover because it's less distracting to me. It's amazing what putting a piece of lace next to your eyes can block out.

    2. I began covering about a year and nine months ago, at the request of my then fiancee, and the chagrin of my mother and sister. I did however end up convincing my mom to give me my grandmother's old veils.

    3. I was self- conscious at the beginning because I got dirty looks from the old women in my home parish. Some even came up to me and said that I was dragging women back to into male suppression. But when I moved to a new parish with my husband it was less of an issue. Many of the young women in the parish veil. We also frequently visit another parish which is Anglican Use and the vast majority of females veil there.

    4. I usually wear a long rectangular scarf mantilla veil. Sometimes I wear a large triangle veil. On special occasions such as weddings I wear my grandmother's old veils to match my dresses.

    5. I think veiling helps me to bring my modesty to a whole new level. Since I began wearing my veil I have been wearing more dresses to mass. I think about what I'm wearing and cover my shoulders.
    Once I was admonished for wearing a veil and showing my shoulders, what annoyed me was that her daughter was wearing a micro-mini low cut strapless dress with nothing covering her. The dress was better fit for a night club than the holy sacrifice of the mass. At least my veil was covering my shoulders to some extent and my dress had wide straps. I really wished I had remembered to bring my shawl in from the car.
    I find it so ironic that some people feel as if they can openly judge others appearances and actions without first looking at their own.

  4. My only experience of headcoverings is the women I know locally who wear them. Every one of them believes at some level that the Church erred in her decision to allow us to bare our heads. I have been given lectures and literature multiple times by well meaning women who believe that all those who do not cover are truly offending God. When they fail to convert me to their way, they look at me with pity and frustration as if they fear for my soul.

    Because of this, I have gone over the evidence in depth on a number of occasions with my husband and we have come to the same conclusion each time: The Church does not require it and does not even ask it. And since I don't feel moved to do this in any way (even though I think it's lovely on others), I'm left with zero impetus.

    We should take St. Paul seriously and certainly meditate on his words. But the Church has weighed the particular issue and found it not binding on today's women. If she decides to require it at some point in the future (or if my husband ever requests it), I will gladly comply.

    It is nice to see women in the online community who cover but do not seem to be upset that others don't and who aren't very prideful about their own choices (acting "more Catholic than the pope" as some say). As I said, it's a first in my experience. Wearing a mantilla in my community would immediately put me (visually, not actually) into that group and I don't want to be there. These are the same women who think I'm offensive for playing ball with my children (not ladylike at all, you know) and won't allow me to even discreetly breastfeed (completely covered) in their homes because it "suggests" the existence of certain parts of my anatomy in front of their husbands and children.

    Your headcovering photos are always beautiful and I have never seen you write negatively about those who don't do as you do. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.:)

  5. I don't cover. I'd like to. I haven't yet found the right reason to cover and refuse to do so without a conscious reason why I'm doing it.

    Paul doesn't cut it for me. He was, in my opinion, a product of his time. In his letter to Timothy he also said, "Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor." I know some outstanding women who teach in seminaries and Adam sinned just as much as Eve. Don't get me wrong, I like Paul, but I think he was a bit limited in his view on women by the times he lived in, so I simply cannot cover solely on the basis of Paul.

    My husband, a moral theologian, has suggested I try to research the history and original purposes of the veil. What is the purpose of a veil and why has anyone ever worn one? Why do brides wear them? Etc. He thinks if I could find a meaning and purpose to the veil that made sense to me, it might give me that intention in wearing one. I'm all for it, but simply haven't done the research yet.

    That said, I have a black lace veil just waiting in my drawer for the day I wear it. Again, I want to wear one, but I'm just not sure why I would yet. The day I begin I will undoubtedly feel self-conscious (I detest attention and will no doubt feel like everyone is staring at me though most people probably couldn't care less) and that is another reason I need to know why I'd be doing it before I do it.

    P.S. - I fully appreciate the Baroness' motivation but as I don't see myself as beautiful by any means, I would find it impossible to apply to myself.

  6. I'm very interested in reading what you have to say about headcovering. It's something I've been discerning in my own spiritual life (though I currently don't cover).

  7. The only time I cover is when I'm attending a traditional Latin mass. Otherwise, it's too showy and my husband does not like it. There are a few women in our parish who wear a veil for regular mass but my husband thinks it's a distraction to others including himself. At a Latin mass, which we attended on our honeymoon at one of the historic California missions, it was required to wear a veil or hat and fortunately I had my homemade veil with me.

    Each style of mass has it's own way of being reverent. I try to match my reverence with what mass I am going to. I always wear a dress, nice and long, to Sunday mass. Last year when we were attending daily mass before going to work, you would have found me in pants a few times and jeans on Friday. I always felt awkward but it couldn't be helped since I had to drive to work right after wards.

    One thing that really helped me in knowing what was appropriate to wear to church was the book, Dressing with Dignity. Since then, I've tried very hard to be appropriate during mass in my clothing. I'd love to wear a chapel veil but with my husband's opinion as being very important to me, I don't want to go against his will. He thinks it's appropriate for Latin Mass but that's about it and I'm okay with that.

  8. I think I started doing this close to 2 years ago (around september I think). It was a calling. We have a large Muslim population in our community and I always admired there modesty. Also the Bible verses kept "bothering" me. So I went looking around on the computer thinking it was only certain Christians or Latin Mass people who covered. Little did I know that it's something people of the NO do as well.

    I have a variety of things. I started out with scarves my mother gave me and built up a stash so to speak. I would like some more true mantillas but I'm happy with what works for me.

    I was nervous to do this at first, but now it's something people are used to seeing me do. I've even caught a few people also wearing a mantilla. And they are usually young people. Older women tend to prefer their hats (converts maybe?).

    Thoughts...honestly I don't really have anything specific to add. Maybe I will later.

  9. Here is my answer a few days ahead of you. ;-)

  10. I don't cover my head for religious reasons, but I have been known to do it on days that I feel a particular need to be modest.

    I look forward to reading more of your opinions on headcoverings!

  11. I've been covering my head for over a year now. :) I originally started wearing it because of the Bible verses and because I felt a sort of calling, but it's developed into more than that. It's my way of saying to myself, "Hey, this space is different than anywhere else. This place is sacred." It helps put me in the mindset to pray, even if everything around me is crazy. Not to mention it kind of serves as "blinders"! :)

    I use my black semi-circle veil, except at weddings when I wear a scarf. At weddings, I want the only one to be wearing a veil to be the bride. It may be silly, but I just don't want to take any attention away from the bride.

    Just a thought: If you feel called to cover your head when in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, but you don't want to be too conspicuous, wear a nice hat! :) People don't tend to notice a hat, and you're still responding to your calling!

    Sorry for the long comment!

  12. I attend two different parishes in my town. One is small and the people who attend are what I think of as "practical modern." Modest dress, nothing flashy or that draws attention to the self. No one covers there. The mass is reverent and liturgically correct. The other parish is very old, founded in the 1700s, large and very diverse. You see all sorts of people there and some are veiled, others not. The mass is very reverent there and beautiful. This parish is also very active in the community.

    About four years ago I felt a strong call to cover at mass. It was hard to do because no one else was doing it and I didn't want to call attention to myself or be a distraction. So one Sunday I would cover, the next Sunday not. When we started attending the older parish, it was easier because there were other covered heads and it was unremarkable.

    So I cover at one parish and not at the other. I've prayed about this and have peace with the decision.
    As an aside, my husband loves it when I wear the mantilla!

  13. Why do I cover? I cover because I felt, as you did, no comfort or ease of mind until I did cover. I felt that God wanted me to cover and that it would help to remind me to pray... it has reminded me, and I am praying all the time now!
    When did I begin? I started covering, fulltime, about halfway through last year.
    Did I feel nervous? Yeah, I felt extremely nervous! I felt like, if I did it, everyone would always be looking at me. But I don't feel nervous now!
    What do I cover with? I use mainly tichels, but sometimes I use hats.
    And as for other comments, I just want to say, keep it up! Keep covering, but, what is so much more important, keep walking with the Lord. Don't let things in your life, like headcovering, get in the way of what God wants to tell you. But keep it up, and I pray that it gives you the opportunity and the reminder, as it has been for me, to pray more often. It’s an amazing blessing to cover!

  14. I have been wrestling with the Lord on this one since I began my RCIA journey a year and a half ago. Suffice it to say, the Lord is winning this battle in my heart. The closer He draws me toward himself, the more I feel compelled to cover. His glory and majesty and beauty are so awesome, that I am compelled to cover my lesser glory (my hair). His sacrifice for me is so tremendous, that I am happy to sacrifice my social vanity. My own personal beauty was only given to me in order that I might glorify God in modesty, femininity, chastity, and holiness, as well as being a lovely wife for my own husband. God wants me to present my body as a living sacrifice. When I realize how humble our Lord is (the Incarnation, death on a cross, coming to us under the guises of bread and wine), it is an easy response of a full heart to humble myself before Him.
    Yet I am still tempted to rebel against my calling, for so many reasons. But it is undeniable that God is calling me, and I have only recently begun to respond. My choice of headcovering is a beautiful brown lace triangle mantilla with an attached comb. I got it from Veils by Lily (I hope it is okay for me to mention the maker of my veil, as she did such a beautiful job!) And amazingly, I have received nothing but support from my older sisters in Christ in my parish, even though they do not feel called to cover themselves.


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