Religious habits


If you were a monk, would you wear your habit to a visit to your dentist or eye doctor?


Yes I would, why not!?!


Why would you not? Maybe if you were going to the proctologist where you might have to disrobe, it might be advisable. But I’ve always kept my clothes on when I’ve been at the dentist.


Can’t speak for monks, but when I was in a monastery, the nuns always wore their habits when they went into town for any reason, including dentist, doctor, shopping for the community, duties for the farm (e.g., buying and selling livestock), and so on. Of course, we wore our habits all waking hours.

The only exception was when we were performing certain farm chores – the ones that involved machinery where wearing loose clothing would be dangerous. So we wore jeans and long-sleeved shirts, with our veils tucked into our shirts for those chores.

It may be different for men.


You should, cuz Jesus needs STAND UP people


If you were a monk, would you ask strangers what to wear; or would you ask your superior?


there was once a nun wearing her habit at the hospital while having her eyes checked up so that counts


At least around here, the doctor comes to the cloistered monks. The only time they might be likely to wear something other than their habit is maybe while playing certain sports or fixing the roof. One of them is designated for the shopping or going out for certain things and I’m rather sure he does so in habit.


My superiors since religious are bound by a vow of obedience.


Thomas Merton and other monks used to come into our store to get keys made for the abbey. They were always in their blue (denim?) work clothes. I never saw them in their habits.

The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth wore a habit at all times, but then ditched it for either a modified habit or civvies. When some sisters came into our store after the change, my dad asked where their habits were. The one wearing a garish, polyester pantsuit said, “We don’t have to wear those costumes anymore!”

Our emerging community will be wearing “clothing appropriate to the ministry.” If a sister is more comfortable in civvies while attending to health appointments, then such is acceptable.

Mrs Cloisters OP
Lay Dominican


@daniel3 , I’m not a monk , so I haven’t a clue what I would wear for the dentist or doctor .

Going to the dentist my mind would be more preoccupied with the tooth fairy .


As a religious who regularly wears his habit, I can speak from experience. It varies from Order to Order. Many of the Orders I have encountered, even monastic ones like the Trappists at Gethsemane and Mepkin Abbeys, often do not wear their habits for manual labor. So too, many habited Orders do not wear their habits if it would cause scandal. In many areas of Europe, the poor view habited religious as holding themselves above those whom the religious would help and so the religious do not wear the habit. The habit is an outward sign of an inward conversion. Because of this, some non-cloistered habited orders do not wear the habit while in private community. Everyone within the community already knows of the inward conversion of their brothers and sisters and thus do not need the outward sign. When our Order was founded in 1588, all members kept their habit in a communal cabinet or closet next to the primary door of the convent and only put it on for prayers or when they went out to minister.

Other than this, it is perfectly acceptable to wear the habit to places like the doctor’s office. I’ve worn mine to the grocery store to pick up breakfast for my brothers. Even though I was in South Carolina where there are very few Catholics, I think that was the most pleasant experience in a market I’ve ever had. I got some funny looks initially, but once they realized that I wasn’t actually wearing a dress, they became very happy and welcoming. Watching someone’s face light up upon seeing the habit is something special and uplifting. (Also, the double takes can be quite funny.)


It always made a good impression on me to see a person in their religious habit.

(I understand the need for safe clothes when working in a field with machinery.)

The habit is a sacramental and inspiring!


I suppose that would depend on your vow of silence :rofl::roll_eyes:



@Cloisters @CRM_Brother
I noticed the Gethsemani Trappists have their “regular” habits, an abbreviated version that many work in, and then as you mention, those that omit it altogether when working and slip it on en route to the church for prayer times. It gave me an appreciation for their sense of balancing the sacred with the practical.


In the monastery I entered, we had our “blacks” (habit for chapel), our “blues” (work habits), and our jeans (for working with farm machinery). When doing work, the nuns also changed from their black veil to a white veil.

In keeping with the vow of poverty, each nun had as little as she could get away with – two blacks (a special woolen one for feasts and solemnities), one blue, one pair of jeans.

The funny thing is that the one thing we were allowed more of was what we could wear under our habits during the cold months. I had long underwear, sweat pants, a sweatshirt, a couple turtle necks… In the chapel, as we held our prayer books, our sleeves would sometimes fall back a little, and you could see a riot of colors on our long-sleeved arms. Mother had a red and white striped shirt she sometimes wore under her habit in the winter, and we all said she looked like a pirate! :joy:


I wouldn’t wear it to prom night. Wow. I’d love to see the reaction on my family’s faces the first day they see me in a monk’s robe.


I wore my habit to the dentist today. Everyone at the office (staff and patients) were smiling and friendly. I don’t think they were laughing at me, I think they were happy to see someone in a habit. They asked me questions about the Order and my work. I was very nervous about wearing it, but I asked the Lord to help me be His witness and He did.


I love to see Priests and Consecrated Religious in their habits out and about in society. it speaks volumes and it might even inspire a new religious vocation or 2.


You know the old story, St. Francis and one of his friars, walking around and preaching the Gospel! :wink:

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