Do most orders require nuns to cut their hair


What are some orders that don’t? Could one get passed wearing hair to her shoulders or a Bob?

I heard that most cut their hair because it’s a struggle to keep up with, and hide it under the veil. Is that true?


Cutting hair is a form of detachment from the vanity of the world.


Oh my goodness!:frowning: A woman’s hair is her crowning glory. In very old days, I thought it was considered a sin for a woman to cut her hair. Not a sin exactly, but something a woman just didn’t do, like wearing pants instead of a dress, smoking, all things the men did.


I do not know the answer to your question. but, I think the practice has to do with self-denial, humility, and, during the ceremony of taking vows, signifies a change in a person’s life.

I don’t think the friars and brothers do it, in fact they seem to grow all the hair they possibly can.

I don’t think this question belongs in the scripture forum, maybe in traditional catholicism.


sorry…thin ice here…but…all the suppposed blessings from V-2…loss of devotions, Nuns wearing habits/clerical garb. the list goes on…A very Holy Nun (wearing a habit) once tole me…that they cut their hair because of, oviously the vanity thing…but also for practicality, the veil…I always approach Nuns wearing habits introduce myself and thank them for their vocation and the fact that they are in fact, wearing a habit…PAX


The habits covers the head in place of hair.

Cutting off hair in the Bible was a sign of repentance and supplication.

Make yourselves bald and cut off your hair,
for the children of your delight;
make yourselves as bald as the eagle,
for they shall go from you into exile.

(Micah 1:16)

Both men and women cut their hair prior to taking the vow of a nazarite.



Don’t know if it was ever required. I remember my mother discussing it with a teaching sister in our parish some 70 years ago. It was optional for them. Sister said that she had cut her hair for comfort under the veil; then was ill and in the hospital, without veil or hair, for several weeks.


There’s a book that speaks about St. Francis’ cutting St. Clare’s hair when she took the habit. I think this was widely practiced among orders of days past. Maybe some don’t do it anymore, but when we visit the Shrine in Hanceville Alabama, Brother David vividly speaks about Mother Angelica cutting the young women’s hair during the ceremony.
He even asked my daughter who had waist length hair to help him “demonstrate” the process for the tourists. LOL
Boy, was she embarrassed.


It will depend on the particular order and community, although it’s likely that more traditional communities will require it. A lot of hair can be bothersome, especially if you live in an area that’s humid.

A Carmelite [discalced] community which I know of didn’t require it, although it was recommended. Our prioress at the time had one long braid, but from what I remember, most of the sisters said they kept their hair short for practicality or as a form of humility. Another community that was part of the same association kept the tonsure tradition; this community was of the Byzantine rite if I remember correctly.


A friend of mine was investigating the Poor Clares and she said that they shaved their heads when they took the veil as novices. It was for reasons of poverty and humility and detachment from the world.


I’m not opposed to nuns shaving their heads, but since the novitiate is a probationary period which could require the novice to return to the world at any time, having one’s head shaved is a bit impractical given the stigma of women who shave their heads. Fully professed nuns, I say go for it.


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