Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Headcovering: My Story

When I was little I wanted to be a nun. Well, I mostly liked covering my head with a piece of random fabric. Nuns were the only people that I knew who wore a veil outside of weddings and your 1st communion. I thought veils were cool. I thought the clothes were cool so I wanted to be a nun. My dad told me that I wouldn't be a nun. So I didn't become a nun.

Later as I got older, I realized that some of the Baptist churches that I went to with friends and family had women (mostly older) wearing elaborate hats in various colors. This was especially true during the Easter season. I also knew that some of the more plain Christians would also cover their heads.

Growing up, I had no idea that there was a Catholic tradition of wearing a veil unless you were getting married, a nun, or for 1st communion. No one wore a mantilla or anything like one to Mass. My mom converted to Catholicism in the 70s so she never wore one and didn't own one. My Catholic grandmother died when I was 10. I don't remember her wearing a veil, but then again she didn't go to Mass because of her health. As far as I know she didn't own one back then, because I never inherited it. I have her rosary beads but no veil.

I went to Mass forever thinking that women didn't wear veils to Mass. Until my life was in a state of limbo. I stopped working and was pregnant. Bored and unable to do a whole lot, I turned to the internet. I found a number of Catholic moms who unbeknownst to me, veiled. What they veiled? I started digging and discovered that in the Latin Mass you normally veiled. This was something that was "lost" in the Novus Ordo Mass of today. It's making a comeback and in a big way. Last year in September, I started to take up headcovering.

At first it was more of an experiment, I covered my head at Mass and privately around friends and other groups. I ended up dropping the privately part because it got be too difficult to explain the new change. I became in essence a part-time headcoverer. At first the process was weird. Hubby made references to me being his Amish wife or Mennonite wife. I was afraid of being stared at or thought to be proud. I still knew that this was something that I needed to try and stick out. It was a part of my faith. Now that I'm married and have a child, it needs to be important. Orthodox Jewish women begin covering when they marry. I started when I became a mom.

A year later, I know that I need to step things up a notch. I need to "pray more" as God has instructed me to do, but I can't stand praying with a naked head anymore. It's awkward and wrong. I ordered some convertible headcoverings that look modern. They haven't come in yet. Attempts to wear headbands during the day have resulted in headaches. So I haven't yet gone full headcovering out.

I've discovered that you don't have be a Mennonite to cover your head. You can wear something fashionable and modern to still be covering your head. I can pray wherever I go and whenever with something on my head. It feels right and better somehow. Plus I act different. I'm nicer and better behaved although that could because I'm at church.

Here's my stash so far:
The top part is all winter/fall. The bottom is summer/spring.
Top (left to right): white shawl, long navy blue cashmere shawl, purple/bluish knit hat, black knit hat, blue/black rectangle scarf, black music notes square satin scarf, white music notes square satin scarf, flower print satin scarf
Bottom (left to right): fisherman's hat, black bandanna, white bandanna, pink snood, brown snood, black tie-able mantilla, beige convertible bandanna/headband, white headband, black headband, gray headband, green headband

My favorite is the black tie-able mantilla. It has ties to it and made with love from Garlands of Grace. I don't like the black and white bandanna because they make me look like a housewife or a maid. The white and black headbands I made myself. The snoods are great for fall weather, which we aren't having right now, or for windy days. When I wore my blue shawl to Mass, I got weird looks. Nobody is bothered by the mantilla.

What's in your headcovering stash? Mine's big enough that it has it's own drawer.


  1. Hi,
    Just wandering whether you'd be interested in submitting this for republication (in an abbreviated form) on our site? It's lovely and I'm sure others would enjoy reading it.
    You can email me at mantillawithme at gmail dot com.
    God bless,

  2. Mine has its own drawer too... only I'm still lax in how often I wear them. Never to Church here...odd right? Noone else does though and for some reason haven't become comfortable enough to stick out that much yet lol. Lately my fav style has been the tichel style, it used to be hijab... still like that but w my hubbies family I'm not sure how it'd go over if they saw me in one. My side I don't care.. his... diff story. Back to the whole not ready to put myself out like that.

  3. I mostly wear the winter ones tichel style too. I don't think that I could do hijab because we have a high Muslim population and that would lead to either people feeling insulted or confusion. I tend to like the mantilla better because it's more Catholic, I guess. I like the scarves but I tend to look too bubcia because I'm part Polish.

  4. The confusion part yeah can happen.. insult not so much. I have a bunch of Muslim friends and talk to more online and they like when we cover (for whatever reason). When I wore hijab in Zanz (like 98% Muslim) I was asked if I was everywhere I went, but when I said no they got all curious and we ended up having these great discussions. Here.. not as many people ask (and we have a high but not as high as that) pop too so I have mixed feelings. I know there are other non-Muslims that wear it, I've met quite a few online lately (CM especially) but it does tend for people to think I am. Even tichel style confuses people sometimes... on top of that every time we go out, if my husband is with me he makes a big deal when ordering that I'm anti-pork and for health reasons. He does it if I'm uncovered too, but is much more vocal about it when I am.

  5. God bless all of you for wearing your veil! You can find all types of chapel veils at my etsy shop, Lady in Blue... and I also take custom orders! Stop by and take a look...

    God Bless you!
    Rhonda, Lady in Blue shop,


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!