Baptismal Gown - New or Reuse?


#1

Hi there! We have a baby boy due to arrive any day now (hopefully!) and we are having a tough time deciding what to do about a baptismal gown.

Originally, with the birth of our daughter 17 months ago, we decided to buy one unisex gown and use it for all our babies, embroidering their names and baptismal dates along the hemline. Kind of like a family heirloom thing.

But my family and his family have caused us to maybe reconsider, saying that the kids won’t get to keep their own gown to use on their own kids. So now we are wondering if we shouldn’t just buy a new one for the new baby - what are your thoughts?

My parents baptized us each in our own gown, and we have that gown in our possession now. It’s a sentimental thing - and if we baptize all our babies in the SAME gown, then who will get it in the future? I can’t decide what is more important to a grown child - sharing the one family gown and passing it down, or getting to keep their OWN gown?

Such a silly problem, I know!

Oh yes, and let me also mention that the one unisex gown we bought was EXPENSIVE and other cheaper gowns out there are all too frilly for a boy. I don’t want our son baptized in a tuxedo style outfit - we prefer gowns, so we’d have to hunt looking for still another unisex one. :frowning:


#2

I vote use the same gown. Your grown children can always pass it around & reuse it for their own children if they want.

Why didn’t you use your gown on your baby? Just curious.

Blessings to you! (and the little one!)
CM


#3

If the gown is an exquisite work of art, then by all means re-use it. It can still be passed around the family. My daughter was baptized in her godfather’s baptismal gown, which had been made by nuns in Montreal all and first worn by his father in 1878. At that time it had been worn by 27 babies in the family and by our daughter.


#4

carol marie - we didn’t use it because it had yellowed and was falling apart. Mom didn’t preserve it too well - she had just stashed it in a bucket of baby clothes that she was fond of! Oh well… :smiley:


#5

I say reuse the gown.
I had my first son in 1991 and bought him a wonderful unisex gown…in 2003 I had my second son…guess what the second one used it and what I did was have my mom embroider their names and dates of baptism on it.
It is a wonderful heirloom and I hope when the boys have their own kids they use their gown to have them baptised!


#6

You’ve started your own tradition… I’d keep it that way…

My family just recently had a huge blow out thanks in part to this very issue… my brother and his wife and myself and my husband had a baby within 8 days of each other. My baby got baptised the day my nephew was born. Did I know that there was a family baptismal gown? Nope… this was my third baby. My brother knew of it and asked for it as our maternal grandmother was the keeper of said gown. She gave it to him to use for the Baptism of his son and low and behold, my sister inlaw’s family (being the anti-Catholics they are) immediately started to make fun of it and my SIL felt very odd thanks to their remarks. So… between my SIL and brother, they chose not to use the gown but baptised their baby in a onsie. BOY DID THE SPARKS FLY.

End result… many hurt feelings as this was an heirloom and now my aunt is the keeper of the gown (if anyone needs it, just ask) then it’ll probably come to me or go to my cousin for safe keeping. My brother no longer speaks to our grandmother (who also just lost her husband in a tragic accident so she’s not doing too great emotionally anyway) as he’s being indignant because she expressed her hurt feelings for not using the heirloom. And I’m still sitting here in bewilderment saying “Uh, 'scuse me… why didn’t anyone ever tell me there was a gown?”

So… the heirloom idea is great… use it if you want… but it sounds like you’ve started your own tradition and don’t feel obligated to use something else. My three girls don’t have a “gown” of their own. My oldest was 15 months when she was Baptised (I was a little delayed… I’m a revert), my middle was 5 months old and was Baptised in an heirloom my bestfriend provided and my newest addition was baptised at 8 days, in a white onsie then wrapped in a white blanket with an embroidered cross. I will give each the “white garmet” the priest gave me and/or their Baptismal candles… And that’s if they all survive a military lifestyle! :slight_smile:

Good luck and God Bless you, your family and your little one!
theresa


#7

wow theresa! what a story!!! but it brings me to a complaint of my own: Our Church’s “white garment” is nothing more than a cheap white baby bib with a Chi-Ro on it (you know - the P and X?) NOT embroidered on it, NOT printed on it, but handwritten by a sloppy writer in blue PERMANENT MARKER. Ugh. It’s embarrassing, really. At least I have the candle. :slight_smile:


#8

Unless you’re planning to have all of your future grandchildren baptized on the same day :wink: , I think you’re safe to use the same gown for all your kids and have them all share it for their kids. I think that would make a really great family tradition.


#9

[quote=aixia]Unless you’re planning to have all of your future grandchildren baptized on the same day :wink: , I think you’re safe to use the same gown for all your kids and have them all share it for their kids. I think that would make a really great family tradition.
[/quote]

That’s what my parents did. My grandparents gave a lovely gown because I was the first. All three of my sisters wore it, and all of our children wore it. Don’t know where it went after that. Suspect mother loaned it to one of her grandchildren who never got around to giving it back. But it is, indeed, a lovely tradition.


#10

[quote=sanctareparata]wow theresa! what a story!!! but it brings me to a complaint of my own: Our Church’s “white garment” is nothing more than a cheap white baby bib with a Chi-Ro on it (you know - the P and X?) NOT embroidered on it, NOT printed on it, but handwritten by a sloppy writer in blue PERMANENT MARKER. Ugh. It’s embarrassing, really. At least I have the candle. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Sounds like someone with sewing or embroidery skills ought to make something nice for the “Church’s white garment” to replace that nasty thing. Then again, something that nasty won’t “disappear”!


#11
  1. My son was baptized in the same gown as my brother, three cousins, and me, and this gown is being shared between two hemispheres! So sharing a baptismal gown was not a problem for us!

  2. Our church gave a little white bib with lace around the edge and a red cross embroidered on it as the “baptismal garment.” I didn’t see a problem with this. They didn’t write anything on the bib, it was generic. Since when is it the responsibility of the church to give you a beautiful baptismal gown? Would people be happier if their church didn’t take the time and make the efffort and just NOT give ANY garment at all? That’s what they do in many churches. If they ruin the bib with a permanent marker, you should tell them that it would be nicer without the pen marks and that you plan on having the name embroidered instead (if that’s what you’re planning). I think anyone who would scribble a name in marker on the baptismal garment is just clueless! :slight_smile:


#12

CATHOLICSAM said: “Our church gave a little white bib with lace around the edge and a red cross embroidered on it as the “baptismal garment.” I didn’t see a problem with this. They didn’t write anything on the bib, it was generic. Since when is it the responsibility of the church to give you a beautiful baptismal gown? Would people be happier if their church didn’t take the time and make the efffort and just NOT give ANY garment at all? That’s what they do in many churches.”

We’re not talking about a baptismal GOWN here, CatholicSam - obviously the Church shouldn’t and doesn’t provide that. I am referring to the “white garment” that the Church supplies (along with the baptismal candle) which is all a part of the rite of baptism. Of course you shouldn’t have had a problem with the lace and embroidered bib your Church gave you - I wouldn’t have either! Sounds nice! What I thought was tacky was a keepsake item that was a shredded cheap “bib” written on in permanent marker. Honestly, it wasn’t even edged with anything - imagine cutting out a piece of a white sheet, then taking a marker to it. And we have a pretty “rich” church too, so I guess they just didn’t budget for baptisms. :frowning:


#13

I say use/create the family gown, that’s what we’ve done. My ds wore the same gown as his grandfather (and his siblings), however, it being old, it fell apart after a blowout diaper incident right before the baptism. Grandma then found an heirloom quality one and replaced it. Nearly all the grandchildren have been baptised in it. I’m not sure what my bil and his wife will do. I keep offering it to them, but she may have her own family gown, which is totally fine! :slight_smile: Since my dh and I are converts (long story) we didn’t have gowns to pass down. It’s been fun to pass this one around! I hope it will last through many more years and that our children’s children will be able to use it!
Jennifer


#14

I once heard that the British Royal family was so attached to the baptismal gown that had been worn by every family member since the 19th Century that when it finally could no longer be used, they had it replicated.

The 19th Century gown my daughter wore had a flexible fit system. It does not have sleeves or a collar but rather it is generously cut and has draw strings at the neck and bodice to adjust the fit to a large baby or an infant. We put the baby in a batiste chemise with sleeves & collar, which she wore under the dress. The dress is about 3 feet long. Clearly, even if the child were a toddler, there would be no walking around in this thing. (Besides with all the embroidery, lace, and entre-deux, you just put it on for the ceremony and remove it immediately after the pictures are taken . . . I guess that’s why it has lasted 127 years!)


#15

With all this arguing among families with baptismal gowns, it seems immersion of babies in the all-together is really not a bad idea after all.:rolleyes:

Just as a cheap grandmother, I’d reuse the gown.

I got my granddaughters’ gown on eBay. It is batiste, handmade, with that drawstring system mercygate mentioned in the puff sleeves and neck, and only cost $35 plus shipping. It was a model nobody wanted, and I don’t see why. It’s beautiful. The elder one didn’t get baptized until she was almost 2 :o , so I had to get her a pretty little girl dress.

Onsie? Dress? I love dressy baptisms and first communions, but really, it’s the soul that counts, and I’m sure that all the babies were beautiful.


#16

My mom has an heirloom Baptismal gown. It was passed down through all my maternal grandmother’s 8 siblings, then used for all six of her children. It was somewhat roomy and we were able to put in on my daughter when she was 15 mos old for a special photograph with other items passed down through both my husbands family and mine.

I think your idea for one Baptismal gown is special, but my husband’s Great Aunt has both her Baptismal gown and his Grandmother’s (her sister) framed in a memory box on the wall. They are beautiful. She also has bonnets from both her mother and father on the wall. It might be very special for each of your children to have their own gown framed with photographs etc. If placed in a memory box, (hinged door) frame, they can be easily removed for later use.

I let my eldest daugher wear my Baptismal gown and will give it to her someday, but purchased new gowns for the next two so they could have them.

I love the idea of having them embroidered with the name and date.


#17

I just had a thought. What if you used the same heirloom gown, a beautiful idea, but gave each of your children their own Bonnet, booties and bib, with their name and date embroidered on them? There is even a special bonnet for baby girls that is intended to be used as a kerchief for their wedding. This would be very special. I think the idea of using the same gown for all your children is a sweet idea and then they would each also have their own special keepsake from that most special day!

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#18

When my daughter was born, I bought a gown with the intentions that all she and all my future children would wear it. I vacummed packed it along with the booties she wore and the blanket we used that day. My thinking is that it is special if all children are baptized in the same gown. When they are older and have children of their own, they can pass it around. I would love it if all my grandchildren were baptized in it also. I know that is far in the future, but …

Warm thoughts that fill my heart. :slight_smile:


#19

I say reuse it, too.
We all use my father-in-law’s baptismal gown. He was an only child who went on to have 15 children. :slight_smile: All of his children were baptized in it and so were most of his 43 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren (so far). :smiley: When not in use, my mother-in-law keeps it on a beautiful china doll in a glass cabinet in her living room. Because it’s right there for everyone to see all the time, it evokes wonderful conversations and reminds the kids, young and old, to remember what their baptisms mean. And we get out alot of old pictures to help us remember!


#20

[quote=carol marie]I vote use the same gown. Your grown children can always pass it around & reuse it for their own children if they want.
[/quote]

Me too. My kids were the 4th genreation to wear a gown that was originally made in Ireland (and sent here) for my grandmother. It’s beautiful to look at old family photos and see all the people who wore the gown :slight_smile: —KCT


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