When should my daughter start wearing a mantilla?


#1

My wife and I have 4 duaghters. The oldest in 9, the others are all under 4. My wife wears a mantilla whenever she is in the presence of the Eucharist. She's a convert, so she can't ask her parents when they started her with mantillas. I grew up in a family of boys, so I don't have many reference points to work with either. We attend the OF, and my wife is the only woman with the mantilla. How do we bring this up with the kids?


My wife is pregnant!
#2

Mantillas are not mandatory for any female no matter her age. Any female may wear one if she likes, of course. If you wish to encourage your daughters to cover their heads at Mass/before the Blessed Sacrament you could start with simple hats and scarves. As they get older it would then be a choice for them to decide if the mantilla is appropriate for them or if they want to wear hats/scarves instead. Any decent head covering will do for those who wish to wear something.


#3

Currently the mantilla is a personal devotion. Unlike modest dress I don't believe kids should be forced or guilted into any personal devotions.

While some may suggest that puberty is a good time, in a shy girl it may also cause a feeling of shame.

A good time would of been first communion.

However, I'd wait until the daughter approaches your wife. Your wife should make the case and explain her personal devotion. If any of your daughters then choose, they choose. If one of your daughters dosn't want to, than that's her business before God.

As far as bringing it up I'd talk to your daughter about faith, certinally she's noticed her mother's devotion.


#4

I'm probably not much help but back when I was young and it was required that women wear a head covering it was not normal for girls to wear mantillas until they were 15 or 16. Younger girls usually wore hats/bonnets/beanies/wide headbands. Beginning in middle school a girl (11 years or so) might wear a chapel cap which is a lacy round "veil" up to 10 inches in diameter.

(I never made it to the mantilla stage because I turned 14 around the time when people stopped wearing head coverings.)


#5

[quote="bieby, post:1, topic:230990"]
My wife and I have 4 duaghters. The oldest in 9, the others are all under 4. My wife wears a mantilla whenever she is in the presence of the Eucharist. She's a convert, so she can't ask her parents when they started her with mantillas. I grew up in a family of boys, so I don't have many reference points to work with either. We attend the OF, and my wife is the only woman with the mantilla. How do we bring this up with the kids?

[/quote]

I would let them be kids and not worry over such things until they are old enough to make that decision for themselves. Just my humble opinion.


#6

[quote="SeaShoreGirl, post:3, topic:230990"]
*Currently the mantilla is a personal devotion. Unlike modest dress I don't believe kids should be forced or guilted into any personal devotions.
*

While some may suggest that puberty is a good time, in a shy girl it may also cause a feeling of shame.

A good time would of been first communion.

However, I'd wait until the daughter approaches your wife. Your wife should make the case and explain her personal devotion. If any of your daughters then choose, they choose. If one of your daughters dosn't want to, than that's her business before God.

As far as bringing it up I'd talk to your daughter about faith, certinally she's noticed her mother's devotion.

[/quote]

Exactly!


#7

I notice that you say your wife is the only person you see wearing a mantilla.

IMHO, requiring a 9-year-old to do so -- or even a 14 year old for that matter -- is simply asking for your daughter to be singled out for needless attention by other kids if/when they see her....and kids (particularly girls, sorry!) can be EXTREMELY clannish and hurtful to the "1 kid who's different." Plus she'll grow up to resent it.

I personally would never even ask let alone direct, my daughter to wear a mantilla. Explain why it's done? Fine. Ask? No. Require? Not on your life.


#8

You may receive better answers on the Traditional Catholics sub-forum: forums.catholic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=102

There are quite a few who practice the wearing of a head covering visit that sub-forum and may be more supportive of your beliefs and practices. You may get better insight from someone who actually practices the devotion.

It is perfectly good to wear a head covering, and noble of you to pass on the tradition to your child. You don't always have to "fit in" with the crowd.

God bless!


#9

I would be more inclined to give the girls an age at which they are allowed to wear a mantilla, maybe ten or twelve, as this is a practice for adult women. Better it be something they look forward to as a sign of adulthood than that it be remembered as a feature of childhood. It ought to always be their own choice, and no chiming in from their sisters allowed about that choice, either. You could also allow it at the age at which they make their First Holy Communions, though, with each one's veil from that day being their first, if she is so inclined.

IMHO, it is very important for the encouragement of charity in our children and the unity of the Church to teach our children that personal devotions, while of great value, do not have the force of regulation. Therefore we must be particularly careful to refrain from making any judgements about those who do not observe them, more so than any other exteriors that might tempt us to judge hearts. Why? a) the Church simply has too many beautiful devotions for any one person to observe all of them! and b) if a devil sees anyone trying to become a saint, the first thing he will try to do is to make her into a Pharisee. We must seek to have God guard our interior modesty even more closely than that we practice on the exterior.


#10

[quote="MomaMary8, post:8, topic:230990"]
You may receive better answers on the Traditional Catholics sub-forum: forums.catholic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=102

There are quite a few who practice the wearing of a head covering visit that sub-forum and may be more supportive of your beliefs and practices. You may get better insight from someone who actually practices the devotion.

It is perfectly good to wear a head covering, and noble of you to pass on the tradition to your child. You don't always have to "fit in" with the crowd.

God bless!

[/quote]

This is a good idea, as well! Those on the Traditional Forum will also be able to report on the various ways their daughters felt about this rite of passage, what kinds of mantillas and methods of securing them work best for fine hair, that kind of thing.


#11

No idea when a good age would be (we never wore them in my family -- we'll I'm sure the older generations did) however there was a girl this weekend, at the 1st Reconciliation who was wearing one and her mother was as well. She is 2nd grade so 7 or 8.


#12

I've only worn a veil/mantilla a couple of times (the few times I attended a TLM), but I would've assumed that if a family is a veiling family, girls would start wearing a head covering when they are old enough to keep it on. And if not before, I would say definitely once they are receiving Holy Communion.

I don't say this because I think women and girls must veil (I don't do it myself), or because of some wild parenting idea. But this is how parents teach the devotions to their children. Devotions and traditions are practiced as a family. Just as those Catholics who pray the rosary automatically include their children, it is perfectly sensible for a parent to pass on the devotion of veiling to their daughters if it is an important devotion. This is also not the same thing as letting there be a World War III if your teenaged daughter refuses. A parent doesn't need permission from her child to pass on an important tradition or devotion to that child.


#13

[quote="ThyKingdomCome, post:12, topic:230990"]
...but I would've assumed that if a family is a veiling family, girls would start wearing a head covering when they are old enough to keep it on. And if not before, I would say definitely once they are receiving Holy Communion.

I don't say this because I think women and girls must veil (I don't do it myself), or because of some wild parenting idea. But this is how parents teach the devotions to their children. Devotions and traditions are practiced as a family. Just as those Catholics who pray the rosary automatically include their children, it is perfectly sensible for a parent to pass on the devotion of veiling to their daughters if it is an important devotion. This is also not the same thing as letting there be a World War III if your teenaged daughter refuses. A parent doesn't need permission from her child to pass on an important tradition or devotion to that child.

[/quote]

While I don't disagree in general, I just need to say that I do NOT believe it was traditional for girls in Western society to wear veils until they were at least teenagers. Other head coverings, yes. But not what we would think of as a "veil" today. Other devotions and traditions would typically be passed along at much younger ages.


#14

I agree with those who say that wear a mantilla is a personal devotion since it is no longer required that women cover their heads. It is a beautiful devotion however, and one which I hope will become more widespread again. As someone who was in high school during VII, I remember the customs that were observed by women and girls at that time. Veils were worn by brides, first communicants, and widows at their husband's funeral. I never saw anyone wear a mantilla until Jackie Kennedy wore one for Easter one year. (We associated mantillas with pictures of Spanish women going to bullfights in operas!) Jackie's picture was in the newspaper, and anything she did started a craze. Even my Italian grandmother, who was born in 1881, never wore a mantilla. We did keep the little lace chapel caps in our purses for visits to the Blessed Sacrament, as they were better than kleenex. As we would put kleenex on our heads if we had nothing else, you can see that covering our heads was very important to us. We would NEVER enter a church without something on our heads, and normally covered our heads by wearing hats. (Remember that in those days men wore hats too. Look at films of baseball games taken in the 1940's and 50's. Men removed their hats upon entering a building.) All ladies wore hats, even very young ones, as you can see by looking at pictures of women in old prayer books. I have a picture of myself at about age 5 with my 3 year old sister dressed for church ( I had a prayer book in my hand). We were both wearing cute little hats, my sister's tied on, and my sitting on my head. I was also wearing white gloves. I love mantillas because I find them flattering even though my sons say I look like an old Italian lady, and I'm blonde! I only wear them to an EF Mass because they seem have become more about making a political statement rather than reverence. Maybe your daughter would like to wear a cute hat, and she could start as soon as she could keep it on. Then she could be reverent, and not feel weird, which could lead to rebellion later. May God bless your family as you try to pass on the beautiful custom of women covering their heads in church.


#15

For those who have said that parents should not "force" kids into private devotions, please be honest; do you really mean ANY private devotion? Or is it this specific private devotion that leads you to that comment. I am, for example, thinking of praying before meals, rosary, and/or frequent reception of the Eucharist.


#16

[quote="CuriousInIL, post:15, topic:230990"]
For those who have said that parents should not "force" kids into private devotions, please be honest; do you really mean ANY private devotion? Or is it this specific private devotion that leads you to that comment. I am, for example, thinking of praying before meals, rosary, and/or frequent reception of the Eucharist.

[/quote]

While prayer before meals is a "private" devotion that's the ONLY one that I would "force" kids to do.

The rosary is nice but it's also a private devotion, as well as Daily Mass. Now, I'm not saying you should leave a pouty 2yo home if Daily Mass is your routine, but if 13yo decides that it's too much than sobeit.

They need to develop their OWN independent devotions. These can overlap yours or they cannot. I know a boy who was around 9 or 10 when he took up the hours or whatever that prayer is by himself after visiting a trappist monk's bakery. He really loved the devotion, even waking himself throughout the night or stopping during the day. His father decided to join him on some occasions, as well as a younger brother and the family respected it. But his three older sisters, his mother and others ALL developed their own practices individually. They did pray together at meals and before bed...some went with the mom to Daily Mass, some didn't. The eldest boy didn't really have any devotions growing up, little interest in Mass and didn't really care to do prayers at all. His parents NEVER forced it. He's in the perminate deaconate last I heard, and very nearly a priest..or probably is one now. (I've lost touch with the family since college).

No good ever came of forcing religion. Forcing a child to buckle up, forcing a child to eat a healthy diet, forcing a child to calm down after a tantrum and not punch out his sibiling...all ok, beucase they are not intimatly tied to identity.

To me forcing a child to do a certian devotion is like forcing a child to write with their right hand or never letting them pick out clothing when they have a closet full. They have to get comfortable in their own skin.


#17

Ask them if they want to. When my daughter wants to wear a hat she wears a hat. If she wants to wear a veil she can wear a veil. If she doesn't want to she doesn't. Usually though, she wants to be dressed like she sees Mom dressing, which means lots of dresses.

http://i624.photobucket.com/albums/tt325/cammie51396/veil.jpg

Our whole family participates in a family rosary every night that my husband is home (and on our own when he has to work). It's not viewed as optional. It's something we do and will continue with. It's a quiet time when the kids wind down and get in bed.


#18

A parent has the duty to pass on the faith and traditions as the parent sees fit.
If this is an important matter to you as parents, you may certainly insist that your children do it.

Options may include:

Hats, scarves, berets, caps, bandanas, etc instead of a mantillia.

At what age to begin:

First communion, or puberty (beginning of childbearing age), or whenever she requests to start wearing one.

Just my 2 cents worth.:)


#19

I think that setting the example is much more powerful than “forcing” the child to do anything. Like RedSoxWife’s lovely little girl, she sees Mommy being reverent and prayerful and she will do what children do… Say “I want to be like Mommy,”

When we get to the preteens, it gets more complex, mostly because teens seem to be hyper sensitive to any perceived unfairness or hypocrisy. I think the parents example is cost crucial then. If they see you walking the walk, not just talking the talk, you’re miles ahead in the effort to keep them on the right path.

Although you can insist that a child or teen be present for, and verbally say, family prayers or rosaries, you can’t actually “force” someone to be reverent and prayerful. Hopefully, that part will come from just setting the good example!


#20

I second the advice to go over to the traditional section of the forum. You'll get good advice since many posters there cover in church.
I think it's wonderful that your wife who is a convert understands the beauty of our Catholic traditions and wants to pass them on to your daughters. :thumbsup:
God bless!


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