Sunday, February 17, 2013

What I Wore Sunday, Volume 2

Well, it's the first Sunday of Lent--and my second Sunday of joining all the stylish gals over at Fine Linen and Purple to show off the awesome, high-fashion outfit I put together to wear to church this week.  (Next stop: Milan!)

I decided to wear purple, as it's the color of the Lenten season.  I just happen to have the most beautiful new Ralph Lauren sweater in the most glorious shade of purple, a gift from my fourth son's girlfriend this Christmas, so I thought I'd pair it with a simple black skirt.
So here's the breakdown of the outfit:
Sweater: Macy's
Skirt: TJ Maxx
Belt: TJ Maxx
Shoes: JC Penney
Tights: Wal-Mart
Miraculous Medal: a 1998 Mother's Day gift from the best husband on earth

Belt detail: isn't this pretty?
I must confess that at the last minute, I opted for boots instead of shoes.  Because--shocker--we're getting hit with yet another snowstorm up here in New England.  (When is that promised global warming going to kick in, anyway?!)  And I also wore a black veil. About four years ago, I decided to start wearing a lace chapel veil (or sometimes a hat) to Mass, so here's the finishing touch on my church ensemble.
(Veil from Veils by Lily.)
It took me about five years of thinking about wearing a veil to Mass before I had the guts to finally do it.  There's nothing I abhor more than feeling as if I stand out or am trying to call attention to myself, and knowing that I might be the only one in the congregation wearing a veil--or one of very few, anyway, in our post-Vatican II world--filled me with a fear that was difficult to overcome.  There was also the fear that I would come across as trying to appear holier on the outside than I really am on the inside.  But I kept reading things about the reasons behind veiling that inspired me to finally take the step.  According to St. Paul, "I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ: and the head of the woman is the man: and the head of Christ is God...[And] the woman is the glory of the man...For the man was not created for the woman: but the woman for the man."  I can almost hear the sounds of feminists shrieking.  But St. Paul is not anti-woman; if anything he is lauding the power of women, the power of feminine beauty, and the fact that women have as their role model none other than Our Lady Herself, who surrendered humbly and completely to the will of God.  St. Paul assures us that while woman was made for the glory of man even as man was made for the glory of God, the two have different roles, each equal in dignity and all for the glory of God. The veil is merely an outward sign of recognizing these differences in roles.  It is also a sign of modesty and chastity.  A woman's hair is seen as her "crowning glory," and she covers it so that God may be glorified instead.

All that being said, I realize that there is nothing wrong with entering a Catholic church bare-headed, and I certainly don't judge those who do.  I've gotten somewhat comfortable wearing a veil at Mass in my own parish church, where I know people are used to seeing it; but it is often an exercise in mortification for me when I'm other places.  For instance, this past fall my husband and I were out at Notre Dame for a football weekend, where we attended Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart.  Afterwards, we went behind the altar to look at the collection of saints' relics housed there, and were shocked to run into a woman who had been my husband's girlfriend in junior high school.  She'd attended the same high school we did for one year, and then she'd moved away.  This girl was smarter than I was (she always had the second-highest grades in the class, behind my husband) and prettier than I was (taller, better hair, better figure--you name it); yet somehow, I'd won my husband's heart and we began dating the summer after freshman year.

Well, there we were, standing within sight of the Blessed Sacrament, seeing this woman (whose son, unbeknownst to us, was a year behind our youngest son out at ND) for the first time in about 40 years.  And there I was, in my black lace veil, suddenly wishing I could just rip it off my head and look like a "normal" person.  I'm sure I was blushing.  It was as if I was an awkward, shy high school freshman again, with a serious lack of self-confidence, instead of the happily married mother of five grown sons (and a grandmother to boot!) that I was.

When I told my husband later that I really wished we'd run into his old girlfriend outside of the church, so I could have removed my veil, he didn't miss a beat.  "I was proud of you!" he said.

With a support system like that behind me, I will probably continue to have the confidence needed to wear my veil each Sunday for Mass.  I think St. Paul would approve of the way that husband of mine loves his wife!

(Hmmm...Looking at the picture again, I think I might have made a mistake with the shoes.  Maybe all-black would have looked better.  What say you?)

16 comments:

  1. Okay, you've inspired me. My husband has been wanting me to wear a veil for YEARS and I keep saying that I don't like the veils we find, or it'll mess up my hair, or whatever. How many ridiculous prideful excuses do I need to make? Thank you for this - I'm ordering one now :)

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    1. I am humbled to have been an inspiration to anyone!

      I have vague memories of wearing a round lace chapel veil for Mass as a little girl in the 60's; but it was easy to do back then, when everyone was wearing a veil. It so much harder now, because you feel like you're going to stick out like a sore thumb.

      On that Veils by Lily home page, there is a link to an essay called "Why Veil?" It gives such a beautiful explanation--I wish I'd quoted from it.

      Good luck! I promise you, it may be hard at first, but you'll get used to it.

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    2. First off, hi, Laura Pearl! Or just Laura, if that's what you go by. I followed you here when I was reading Rosie's blog. I'm her mom, so I'm in your generation!

      Rosie, is there a good reason why it has to be a veil and can't be a hat? And does it really glorify God to do that? Not criticizing anybody who wears a veil. I'm just trying to understand it. Who knows, maybe I'll wear one someday—and freak out everybody in my Diocese of Richmond parish! Hmmmm. Could be fun . . .

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    3. Hi Melissa!

      I'm not good at explaining the reasons that compelled me to wear a veil...but articles such as this one do a much better job of it: http://www.catholicsistas.com/2011/12/15/a-call-to-veil-the-mysterious-unfolds.

      Your daughter Rosie has the sweetest blog, and it's so neat that she started it to keep you updated on your granchildren! :)

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  2. What a sweet and supportive husband! I love the detailing on the belt and the purple sweater for Lent!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, my husband is a keeper. :)

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  3. I love the beauty of the simplicity of your outfit! And the miraculous medal is gorgeous. God bless you!

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    1. Hi Sarah Therese! I do love the medal--I wear it always.

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  4. What a beautiful shade of purple! And the belt is such a great accent piece to the whole outfit!

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  5. 1. I looove the horizontal cable-knit. Your son must have a fabulous girlfriend. ; ) Props.
    2. I needed your post about veiling today. I just called out to readers for their opinions of it in my WIWS linkup. Thank you!

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    1. My son does have a fabulous girlfriend--and that was the first thing I noticed about the sweater: the unusual horizontal cable-knit.

      I'm off to check out your WIWS link-up. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  6. I've only worn a veil to Latin Mass but I think they are so lovely. Your belt is just so delightful!

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    1. I totally copied my fashionable sister-in-law with the belt. When I saw it on her, I asked her where she got it and then went and got one for myself!

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  7. Beautiful sweater, beautiful belt and an even more beautiful story about why you wear a veil. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Mary. I am enjoying getting to know you and your precious daughter through your blog. :)

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