Sunday, June 25, 2017

My Sunday Best: Vocations, Veils, and Vintage Fashions

Here I am again--blogging for the second day in a row!  (I hope I can keep this streak going...)

This morning, my husband and I attended 8:30 Mass at our new parish in VA.  (Joining us was our youngest son, who flew in yesterday from Germany to enjoy a couple of weeks of leave in the good old U S of A.)  We have become quite fond of our new little parish church, located at the center of our new little town.  We are also growing fond of our new pastor, a very holy and engaging priest who has had an interesting history: during his first career, before he answered a calling to the priesthood, he was a special agent in the CIA. 

Today, Father spoke about vocations, and the need to pray for them.  He quoted Saint John Bosco, who claimed that one out of every three men would receive a calling--think about that, one out of three!  How, then, can Holy Mother Church be experiencing a "priest shortage"?  He reminded Catholic parents of the need to portray the priesthood in a positive light so that our sons who might be called are willing to listen.  What we need to really pray for, he said, is not so much the vocations themselves, because they are abundant; but rather we must pray that the men chosen by the Holy Spirit to have those vocations will be open to hearing and answering the call.  I leaned over and nudged my son and whispered, "You're our only hope, now that all of your brothers are married!"  And because great minds think alike, as we exited the church after Mass and crossed the parking lot to the car, my husband also gently teased him about the fact that he must be the one in our family who's destined to become a priest.  He good-naturedly made sure to point out to us that one in three men didn't necessarily mean one in three men in every family.

When this youngest son of ours was in middle school, he was always scrupulously aware of the state of his soul; he used to come and tell us on Friday nights that he would need a ride to church the next day for Confession (a practice that would continue until he was a licensed driver himself).  He seemed so advanced in his Faith for someone so young, and we used to wonder if he ever thought he might have a vocation.  But he never really talked about it.  Years later, he did admit that the idea did cross his mind on occasion.  But he said that was mostly because random adults, completely out of the blue, would ask him if he ever thought about becoming a priest, and he couldn't help but wonder if this was God's way of letting him know that he'd been chosen.

Anyway, on the drive back home in the car, we talked about how the call to Christian fatherhood is also a noble and absolutely vital vocation in our increasingly fallen world.  And that is the call our baby believes he is hearing--at this point, at least.  He was always a serious and mature-beyond-his-years little guy, trying desperately to catch up to his four older brothers.  He has tried to emulate them his whole life, and now they are all married to lovely Catholic women and bringing forth into the world a small army of souls--of future soldiers for Christ--with those women. It is the sort of life he can well envision for himself one day, too. 

Okay, this a "My Sunday Best" post, so I guess I should talk a little bit about Mass fashions now, shouldn't I?

Today I wore a cotton sundress that I've had for close to 10 years (it was a T J Maxx find, no surprise there) and a short-sleeved black cardigan with a lace collar that I've had just as long (also from T J Maxx). There are pictures of me wearing this same outfit at a wedding shower for Ginger (wife of son #2) back in 2014, and I don't believe I've put it on since.  So I don't follow that common advice of closet organizers/purgers everywhere that states if you haven't worn an item of clothing in a year, it's time to get rid of it.  My favorites can sometimes languish in the back of the closet for several years at a time before I decide to recycle them--and then they feel brand new.
With our three VA sons and their gals at the shower in 2014--and my guy of course.
Awkward selfie taken today, with an expression that's a cross between Zoolander's "Blue Steel"
and Dana Carvey's "Church Lady."  (With an unmade bed in the background, no less.)
For Mass, I also donned a veil, a practice I started about 8 or 9 years ago, after giving myself about 5 years to drum up the courage.  This lovely mantilla is a treasure I discovered a few years back among my late mother-in-law's things when we were cleaning out my husband's childhood home.  The buttery-soft vintage lace is so much higher in quality than the modern stuff you find at JoAnn's Fabrics these days.  It's silver-gray and black, and one day in the not-too-distant future, it will match my hair just about perfectly.

I saw the most beautiful explanation for why I feel compelled to veil in a recent Instagram post, and I thought I'd share it with you here.
This young woman said it better than I ever could.  Wearing a veil to Mass most certainly has nothing to do with wanting to seem "holier than thou."  In fact, my fear that others would think that about me is what made it take so long to get up the guts to do it.

Before I sign off, I thought I'd show you some other vintage beauties that I acquired recently (as long as we're talking fashions here).  My siblings and I held a garage sale a few weeks ago to clear out our mother's home before selling it, now that our dad is gone and she has moved into an assisted living facility.  Mom put aside the things she wanted to have at her new place and then urged us kids to take whatever clothes, furniture, artwork, or knickknacks we wanted before the sale started.  I came across some lovely vintage items that I couldn't bear to part with.  Although I will probably never wear these classic accessories, I just wanted to keep them in the family.
The genuine fur wrap was my paternal grandmother's, and it has her monogram embroidered on the satin lining.  And the long white gloves with pearl buttons were my mother's.  She believes they are the ones she wore for her wedding.  I think these pieces are so lovely.  So classy!  So Grace Kelly, so Jackie Kennedy!  My husband, on the other hand, thinks that if I just added a turban to the ensemble, I could channel Chevy Chase in that attic scene in "Christmas Vacation."
So perhaps I have next year's Halloween costume all figured out.

On that note, I think I'll call wrap up this post.  But head on over to Rosie's.  There are bound to be much better Sunday Best fashions over there. 


  1. I was just thinking about you earlier today! Glad to see you are getting settled, and loved the insight into vocations - both to the priesthood and family life. Also, I am in love with the intrigue and fashion of the wrap with elbow length gloves!

    So excited to see you back on this link up!

    1. The wrap is absolutely gorgeous. I don't know what kind of fur it is, but it is beautifully made and in mint condition. I feel so fancy when I have it around my shoulders! (But would I get red paint thrown at me if I actually decided to wear it outside of our house?)

      I am actually thinking that if and when my youngest son gets married, if it's a fall or a winter wedding, I'm going to wear the wrap and gloves to the church!!

  2. The CIA priest sounded familiar, so I looked up your parish, and I was right - he was a parochial vicar at my home parish growing up! We loved him 😊 So glad you get to experience him now - I highly recommend having him over for dinner, he's got a million fascinating stories to tell!

    1. One of my daughters-in-law knew him, too, and told us how lucky we were to have him. This is just one of the many ways we've been blessed by this move.

  3. I love vintage veils! The history behind vintage pieces make them so special. I've been veiling for 8 years now (I just counted that, and can't believe it's been that long!) and it's such a special devotion for me.

    Knowing when to encourage a vocation is so tricky! They do say it takes mentioning from 3-5 different people before a vocation call is taken seriously.

    1. I know, aren't vintage veils special? This one is my favorite. I have other newer veils, but the lace they're made with isn't nearly as soft!

    2. And I never heard that about 3-5 people. That's interesting.

  4. I've seen old photos of a wedding on my dad's side back in the 50's or 60's and most of the women were wearing veils. That must have been before the tradition started dying out. I love that tradition but I've only seen 1 or 2 women veiling at my parish. I wish there would be a lot more participation. I'd probably be inclined to veil, too. That's wonderful that you do! And Chevy Chase, yup! ha!

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