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

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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