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The Busted Halo Question Box
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Caitlin Kennell Kim
Mary
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
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Neela Kale
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Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Bible
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Our readers asked:

Does a Nun’s Habit have anything to do with Mary?

Ginny Kubitz Moyer Answers:

Although nun’s habits (particularly the veils) may make them look like Mary, the habit actually has a broader symbolic meaning. Traditionally speaking, the habit is an outward sign of the nun’s vocation, a way of identifying her total dedication to God. (Even the religious orders who no longer wear formal habits often have some element of their dress, such as a crucifix, that identifies their vocation.) The habit has a long history; in her book Unveiled: The Hidden Lives of Nuns, Cheryl L. Reed explains that the practice of nuns wearing veils dates back to the third century, when it was adopted as a sign that the nun was the bride of Christ. And though some orders of nuns wear Marian medals or rosaries, or wear blue habits as a reference to Mary, the habit in general is not about Mary but rather about communicating that the woman wearing it has dedicated herself totally to Christ.

 
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The Author : Ginny Kubitz Moyer
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of the award-winning book Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area and blogs at randomactsofmomness.com.
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