Women only please: "acclimating" to head covering

Starting a new thread because the earlier one is 1) hijacked and 2) not my situation.

A little about me: I attend the ordinary form of the Mass; there is no alternative in my area, but it’s what I’d probably choose anyway, But I’m asking this in this forum because you are the ladies with experience with veils.

I understand the head covering as a valid option, and I am a big believer in the idea that “what we do with our bodies affects our souls.” So I bought a lace veil; I’ve worn it once, not at my home parish.

And, unlike those of you that experienced immediate graces and consolations, I totally distracted myself. Both with thoughts about whether the veil was on right, would stay. felt funny AND with worrying about what and whether OTHERS were noticing.

So… is this just a failed experiment? Am I just too [fill in the blank] for this? Or should I assume that some new things are difficult, and I’ll eventually be comfortable?

PLEASE keep the canon law / Scripture / Tradition / tradition fight over on the other thread. Ladies only! To sum up:

Were you distracted at first?
Did it pass?
What helped you get to a sate of prayer?

I started with one of those lace “chapel caps,” but I dyed it black so it would blend better with my dark hair and since I am not a teenage girl. I did feel a bit self-conscious, and I was afraid it would fall off since bobby pins don’t stay put in my silky-textured hair. I also sat in the back, so I didn’t have many people behind me. So yes, I was more distracted than consoled by wearing it, even though there were a couple of other women wearing mantillas.

I am more comfortable wearing an ordinary scarf than the lacy stuff, so maybe you might want to try a scarf instead and see if you feel any less distracted in that. Being a large woman of northern European ancestry, I feel odd wearing the Spanish-inspired mantilla – I’m more the babushka-type, I guess. I have a couple of long rectangular scarves which I can tie around my hair, and I usually wear one of those when I go for adoration. But I must admit, I am too “chicken” to wear an obvious head covering when I am up front as cantor or playing my flute, so I sometimes make a scarf into a wide headband instead…and sometimes I just skip it. Maybe next Lent…

Good luck and God bless.

Amethyst - I do hope this thread blesses you and others, may it be a safe place to talk…

God bless you for even trying! :slight_smile:

Yes - I was distracted at first, and yes it did pass. Now I don’t really notice it that much. I’m 42 (am told I look 28), and I wear a long mantilla lace, my hair is to the middle of my back and the little doilies would look really stupid on me. Mine are black, I’m married, and would feel silly wearing white, though I realize that is a personal preference.

Keep trying - you will find your comfort level, just don’t give up after your first try. :slight_smile:


My experience with covering my head began when I attended a TLM parish. It was not required by our priests, but I knew that they preferred it, and one even gave a rather long sermon about head covering for women and printed copies of his sermon to distribute! LOL

Yes, I was distracted by a veil. Mine never stayed on properly, even with bobby pins. I switched to wearing a hat and was much happier, though I was never fully convinced of the need to cover my head.

I continued to wear a hat to mass at my current parish (NO mass) for a while after we left the TLM but don’t anymore. Hats aren’t really “me” and I don’t wear them as a matter of course, not even on the beach. I always felt a bit self-conscious and awkward, and figured the head covering was probably proving more of a detriment to my spiritual life than anything else.

I found that engaging in a regular routine of prayer (I currently pray the Morning, Evening and Nighttime prayers from my Magnifcat missal) and daily rosary helped me much more at praying than covering my head. What I mean is that “training” myself to pray by actually making prayer a regular, scheduled part of my day helped me more than just “wearing the uniform” - i.e. a headcovering. Does that make sense?

Others’ experiences, of course, may be different.

Mine never stayed on right, which was annoying, but since I started pinning it I have no problem. It was a distraction at first in a lot of ways, and still is sometimes, because people give you looks. Even though you may be wearing it for reasons as specified in canon law, Scripture, and Tradition, they don’t like it, and will often give you a look that implies you’re doing it to show off. I did not want people to think that of me, but then realized that I was then trying to please them rather than do what God wanted me to do. I personally believe every woman should wear one, BUT (don’t be mad anyone) I believe that God reveals that to each woman in His own time, if she’s willing to listen to Him. It doesn’t really bother me now, because if I don’t wear the veil those same people are going to give me annoyed looks because I genuflect to the Tabernacle and bow to the altar. I wore it for about a month, stopped for a few for the reasons mentioned above, and started up again a couple of years ago.
To stay in a state of prayer, especially when you know many eyes are on you with disgust, is hard. I myself prayed for the strength to do it until I did it again, and once I did not stop. My suggestion, if you have a hard time wearing it in the church at your home parish, is to ask your Guardian Angel to cover your head when entering, and to pray for the grace to know when to start wearing it, and for the strength. When praying, just close your eyes and imagine that you’re at the TLM where all the women are veiled, and just continue you prayers. Ask for help from God that He make it not noticable to you. When it is, and everybody is staring, offer it to God as an act of obedience and humility. That’s my opinion, and pray for discernment.

I agree that the kind of veil you wear can affect how comfortable you feel. The idea is to cover your head/hair, so a hat works too. That is usually something that we have more experience wearing, so they generally feel more comfortable.

I look at it that the purpose of the veil is submission and humility. So if that is my intention, even wearing something a little more physically comfortable works. I often wear my hair up with those small snood type things over the bun, hair is covered, but I don’t feel so much like I’m screaming “Look at me! I’m covering my head!” LOL

I did receive consolation wearing my lace veils; but also was the object of some funny looks. One woman approved heartily. Another woman I know looked at me as if I had just committed a felony. A younger priest shaking hands after mass looked askance as I was leaving and removing the veil. It’s generally being discouraged and lately I feel like such a rebel if I choose to wear my veil. But then, people are going to mass in bermuda shorts sometimes. I guess it’s a matter of not caring what others think and being grateful that we have a choice. I certainly didn’t intend to wear my veils with “attitude”.

I’m currently struggling with this issue myself. I tried the mantilla thing once, and let’s just say, it wasn’t really great. Maybe I will try the scarf idea, or something less conspicuous since I often attend Masses where there are more uncovered heads than covered ones.
OK, you’ve convinced me to give it another shot.

Dear Amethyst,

Thank you … You are another mere mortal who has problems wearing a head covering, like I do !!! :slight_smile:

I wear the veil at the indult Latin Mass downtown.

Like you, I find that the head covering leads nowhere near consolation at all, in fact quite the opposite … to the distraction of bobby pins forever falling out and the head covering falling off such that I am probably bothering other people with my struggles to put it back on … And then the other distraction of temptation to vanity because I think I look much better with my nice deep turquoise blue mantilla than without it.

Fortunately, things are getting easier.

  1. As for the bobby pins jumping all over the place, one week it was so frustrating that I simply removed them all together. I prayed, “Blessed Mother, please keep my mantilla on.” And like a good mother keeping her child calmed down at Mass, she has. :slight_smile:

  2. The more I wear my mantilla without it flopping around everywhere, the less I notice it so the less of a temptation it is. But it seems I will never be perfect in this regard.

So what seems to help me is prayer, and time.

As for graces or consolations, I don’t expect to get any from wearing a mantilla, and this is just fine with me.

~~ the phoenix

I think the same kinds of distraction might come the first time we try any pious habit, such as saying grace in a public restaurant, for instance, or wearing a veil, a scapular, a medal, fasting, more modest clothing than what is fashionable, whatever it might be. I am guessing it is the fairly common experience, which spiritual writers warn about (John of the Cross being one) that we are tempted to do these worthy actions for the wrong reasons or motivations, or that the evil one allows wrong motivations to get in the way of the good intentions. His advice on other such situations probably applies here to, we have to constantly monitor our reasons for penitential and other pious practices, make sure we are doing them out of love, obedience and humility, and check the human tendency to a)worry about what other people think b) be influenced by their criticisms or even worse, their praise and c) allow the practice to detract from the “main event” the Mass itself. It probably takes practice with any such good practice to get away from worries about it.

I grew up in wearing a head covering to Mass so it’s no big deal for me. I do confess that I feel much more lovely and feminine when I’m wearing a hat, veil, or scarf, but I try to take that pridefullness? vanity? and direct it back to God by thanking Him and honoring Him in creating me as woman.

Maybe you could try wearing a head covering you feel more socially comfortable with i.e. a snood, scarf, or fashionable hat. Do be careful if you’re wearing a large hat that you’re not obstructing others’ views.

I also happen to be huge fan of vintage clothing and you can find some adorable pill box type hats with viels at vintage clothing stores.

I wear mine even when I go to a novus ordo mass. I really don’t let what other’s think about it bother me. Sure I guess some folks think I’m strange or wierd but who cares? Not me.

It’s between me and the Lord and I just feel better about myself. I attend TLM most of the time so it’s really not an issue.

Perhaps a chapel cap would be better suited to you and your situation?

As for the veil/cap falling off. I sewed a hair comb into the front of my veil. I just slide it in at my hair line,a nd there you go! For Vivi’s chapel cap, I sewed a small hair clip to the front, and I just clip it to her hair. Both are no muss, no fuss, and you’re on your way!

The first time I wore a veil it was initially really distracting. I had to deal with the bobby pins and since I was actually in Jerusalem I was peroccupied with looking like I was a muslim woman in church. but at the same time it was a really calming experience. though certainly one I had to get used to and adapt to me. I actually bought a second veil which is a long rectangle (like a lace neck scarf) that stays on my head without the pins. I put it over my head and then wrap the ends loosely around my neck. It works for me.

though I certainly can sympathesize with the funny looks and the fear of people judging me. I am a convert and a I visit a lot of different Catholic Churches, but I am usually the ONLY woman wearing a veil and since I’m new I have to work hard to not be mentally worried about how others see me. but in the end I had to just decide that I know God calls me to cover my head in HIs presence so I do. and I try not to think about what others are thinking about me. It’s a baby cross to bear in comparisson.

It takes time like starting any new devotional practice. Do it consistantly and boldly not matter what looks you get. and it will bear fruit.

I will pray for you.

I love to wear hats, long mantillas - don’t care for the short ones - but my husband doesn’t like them. I always liked winter so I could wear a warm hat or I had a hat/scarf that I wore a lot. Unfortunately, in the flood I lost the long mantilla, hats and my hat/scarf. In wanting to find something else to wear I came across the following website headcoveringsbydevorah.com. I ordered a very pretty skullcap that is white (only came in white) with pearls. I started wearing it while my husband was back in Louisiana and when he returned I put it on and he did not say anything - the third Sunday I wore it with him a lady stopped by our pew on her way out and asked where I got it from. I keep it on until we return home - leaving it on even if we go out to eat. I feel it is not distracting to me and he doesn’t mind it and I have received several compliments on it. I plan on trying to make my own so I can have different colors and also to have some smaller - this one only came in a 6" size but others come in 4 or 6.

Just keep trying different coverings until you find one you are comfortable with. I feel we should take the example of Mary who has never been seen without her head covered.

This is what I’ve done, too. The veil really stays put that way, and it’s very easy to put it on quickly without any fuss what-so-ever. I love my mantilla, but really can’t bring myself to wear it to the ‘NO’. Pride. But also, my husband wouldn’t like it if I wore it to the ‘NO’. I don’t think anyone’s worn one to our parish in 30 or 40 years.

I like the idea of a scarf or a wide head band–for the ‘NO’ Mass. That could work…
Pax Christi,

This is what I have done too. It works well, and doesn’t snag the lace. I also pin some of my hair back, or pull it into a low ponytail or something b/c my hair is so fine, and that seems to help keep it anchored a little better, and keeps the flyaways out of my face.

As far as getting comfortable with wearing a headcovering - **whatever type you may choose **- I think the comfort comes the more you do it (at least it did for me). For one thing, it becomes a part of what you do every time you go to Mass, and you just do it. Also, I don’t know how much you travel to different parishes, but if you attend a certain parish(es) repeatedly, eventually the “shock” seems to wear off and people don’t stare anymore. They become used to seeing you in it, so they don’t even notice anymore (unless they have strong feelings about the practice, either positive or negative). So, if you really feel called to wearing a headcovering, I suggest giving it time and pushing through the self-consciousness. Ask the Lord to help you through it. I will be praying for you too! :thumbsup:

wearing a sweater or sweat shirt with a hood helps to acclimate some people who aren’t very “frilly”…

I had to do the hoodie routine when I went to adoration on the spur of the moment one afternoon - now I just keep a chapel veil in a zippy bag in the console of my car so I’m never without it. :slight_smile:


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