[quote="Sister_Leocadia, post:1, topic:179864"]
My question is, which order had (or maybe still has) the most elaborate habit?
There is a reason I ask...I saw a picture of one of the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent De Paul with the huge bonnets and I talked with my superior and asked her about her habit when she first became a nun....
My superior, Mother Scholastica made sure that when she started our order that the habit and the veil were plain and modest but also simple to get on and off and clean.
When I asked her why she chose our habits she told me that when she joined an order at the age of 16, the habit they wore was incredibly elaborate with a huge veil and a bonnet with tight frills all the way around it. The bonnet was in a rectangle shape and stuck out so she could only see what was directly in front of her. Her superior told her it was traditional and to do with custody of the eyes but Mother told me it was like being a horse with blinkers on.
Her habit was almost like a gown, with huge full sleeves and a skirt that was so long that she was always holding it up at the front when she went upstairs and up at the back when she went down so it didn't get worn out at the hems.
All the novices had to starch the bonnets and it took them an hour to do each bonnet with some sort of special tool. With 30 sisters in the order, it took them hours. Mother always said that she was so cross that she had to do all that starching when she could have been doing something more useful, though they all continually prayer the Rosary while they did it, so it wasn't a complete waste of time!
I am sorry for the loss of your cat. Twenty years is a very long life for a cat, and he was fortunate to have you at the last. Maybe you can get another. Cats are very companionable and much easier to take care of than a dog--we have both. Old cats fill the shelters and really need homes.
The Srs of St. Elizabeth had a very cumbersome habit with a rectangular fluted bonnet which must have been difficult to maintain. The BVM's of the Middle West had an elaborate horseshoe-shaped thing around their face* and *a large 3-sided box overall *and *a huge skirt with a myriad of fine pleats. I can't imagine how they maintained this rig. Some habits, like the Srs. of the Presentation, had a huge white guimpe, or bib--I don't know how they managed to keep it clean. The Grey Nuns, like the Daughters of Charity had a habit based on their 17th c. origins- very elaborate with a peaked bonnet and an elaborate black transparent veil, also full capes and a pleated skirt, all in wool serge, I think. It was beautiful, but must have been very difficult to maintain. Nurses couldn't wear it in the ORs as it wasn't felt to be sufficiently clean. I always liked the DC's large cornet, but I think that it must have been very heavy, also hard to maintain and hot---all that starch!