Hair shirts...?


Perhaps I’m nuts, but I’m trying to acquire a hair shirt (traditional goat hair) and I can’t find one to purchase on the internet…There’s one site that sells a sack cloth shirt for penance but it’s $100.00! I don’t sew, and wouldn’t know how to use goat hair anyway. Any ideas for this wanna be penitent? (P.S.: yes I have many flaws that need addressing but as I seem to be losing this battle I’m thinking that a bit of mortification might help in my fight to vanquish my flesh).
God Bless,


Speak to your priest before you do any acts of mortification.


This isn’t what you’re asking, but I think if you find a really itchy wool sweater, it might do the job. I have a big old drab one from my mom’s 80s days, and that thing is itchy as all get out. I’ve worn it for penitential purposes, but it’s quite mild, maybe moreso than goat hair shirts. Might something like that work?


Fr Corapi says that a hair shirt is not necessary. Sometimes the people we live or work with are hair shirt enough.:smiley:


Thanks y’all. As to asking a priest: I’ve had a problem there because I seem to be surrounded with the more modernized version of priests in my area. I would not ask them to be spiritual directors. I’ve been looking for a priest to be my spiritual director but the only ones I’ve met that seem interested in fierce pursuit of holiness (again, in my opinion only) are the Opus Dei priests. I’ve confessed to one a couple of times but he’s very hard to get to as he lives very far away, etc.

I don’t think there is any harm in small mortifications like hairshirts, especially because they can only be worn during cooler weather without being noticed by others. I tried sleeping on the carpeted floor of my room a couple times but both times gave up after less than an hour. I just couldn’t do it. I’m soft and spoiled for sure. If God wills, perhaps I may eventually be somewhat successful at subduing my flesh. As it stands now, I am definately attached to comfort. Just love to be comfortable.
God is showing me very clearly my weakness and littleness (nothingness!). I certainly need to see it. I can only hope and pray (and I do both) that He will eventually deliver me from myself.

Thank you so much, dove51, for the suggestion of an itchy sweater. I could probably find one at a used clothing store and cut it down into a vest shape or something.

It’s funny - I used to be able to do the bread and water fasting once or twice a week along with lots of rosaries (oh, and that lasted maybe one or two months) but then everything changed again. I didn’t burn out, but I got the flu or something and just couldn’t seem to get back on the horse, you know? I was actually very much at peace and full of love for God when I was doing all that. I miss it very much, but my flesh is resisting…



Do you wear a woolen scapular? Mine is itchy as all get out … :smiley:


There is something else you might be able to do…Use something called a cillus…I might not be spelling this rignt…Opus Dei uses them…they are something that is fastened around the thigh, it is only worn for a few hrs a day and is not supposed to draw blood


Or you could buy an ordinary burlap bag (less than $5) and cut holes in it for your arms and head.


I do wear the woolen scapular but maybe since I’m used to it I don’t even know it’s there anymore. I considered the burlap bag but I’ve handled them before and they don’t seem very uncomfortable. The “cilice” (I think it’s called) is the same as a hair shirt according to one website. Sometimes it’s worn around the “loins”. That’s the website that sold burlap hair shirts for 100 smackaroonis. Guess I’ll try the sweater for now. Hey, maybe I should start manufacturing hair shirts - apparently there’s a small market for them! :thumbsup:


One hopes that you are under the guidance of a spiritual director in undertaking such practice. If not, IMO, do so immediately. In the meantime, there is so much suffering already in this world that perhaps you might put your focus in helping others rather than being focused on your own personal gains. IMO, this might bring you closer to suffering for the sake of the gospel, rather than for yourself.


Why don’t you fast instead? Bread and water?


:thumbsup: Good start!:thumbsup:



Thanks lillydew, but with four little ones I don’t get out much. Plus I have mono right now. No energy. I hope one day to be of more service to the Lord. I try to do what I can in emails and phone calls. Again, I do want a spiritual director and have prayed for one (but only in spurts - several months at a time) and then tend to give up. I had an atrocious one once. Long long time ago.
Does anyone know of long distant spiritual directors, like in the old days with letters, etc.?


We aren’t just mere philanthropists. The purpose of penance isn’t to showboat yourself - which would defeat its purpose. It is to subdue the passions and also for reparation. Its primary purpose is to increase our union with God, which always has a positive effect on our relationship with our fellow man.


As a mother myself, this is your vocation (and suffering!) right now.



Why not write to one. Is there a priest or religious that you have heard of and have been impressed by. Write them a letter. (Note: Pope Benedict might be a little too busy for spiritual direction :D)


You certainly can offer that up as a penance. Don’t overlook the things in our life that are right in front of us.


Yeah, pentacostbaby, I want so much to fast. I’m failing miserabley in my attempts. Even starting small like no desserts. Okay I made it maybe a week and half with no sweets/desserts. Then I went to this carnival with the kids and they sold fresh homemade apple pie slices…(Sigh). I’ve started again, but if I can’t even give up excesses, I begin to worry. It was so natural to fast twice a week on bread and water when I was first converted. That was almost 20 years ago. I want to do that, at least, but I also want to do penance. I have a pretty nasty past to atone for, not to mention it’s more powerful than praying and fasting alone. Not to mention Mary has asked this of us. If I can mortify my flesh just a little with penance, perhaps I will gain the grace to fast again too.
Pray for me, please.


LOL, JMJ_coder!:smiley:


I do offer up the mono, and all the other sufferings of the day each morning. Problem is, mono comes with consolations - like my mom cooking dinner for all of us, watching kids while I nap, doing my dishes. Lots of consolations. Not to mention all the sympathy! You’d think I had something serious! I’m on the tail end of it so it only knocks me down if I overdo it. Is “overdo” one word or two seperate ones??? Hmmm.

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