Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Would You Veil if More Women Did?

One of the things I have learned in the last few months in talking to many women at conferences and other venues, is that they want to veil in the presence of Our Lord... but won't do it because they are afraid of what other people will think. They are afraid of calling attention to themselves, because it would mean people might look at them and think that they are trying to appear holier than they are, or worse: that they are passing judgment on the majority who don't veil. These women long to please God, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, but are held back in their desire to do so because of the peer pressure not to veil.

Why do we veil?

We veil as an act of humility before Our Lord, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament. To veil in church is to make visible what we believe in our hearts--that Jesus, true God and true Man, is present in the Blessed Sacrament in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity... and that we desire to humble ourselves before Him.

Why an external sign?

Because we are human. As such, our faith is edified by things we perceive through our senses: sacred music, sacred art, incense, beautiful vestments, pious gestures toward the tabernacle, etc. The greatest gift we receive is given to us by mouth: the Eucharist.

Why the head?

Because hair has always been a woman's glory--a part of us that we take care of in order to present ourselves to the world with dignity. By covering our hair when we enter into the presence of God, we are saying that all glory is God's, not ours.

Should I veil in church if I'm the only one?

Should you do something that is pleasing to God if you're the only one? My answer to this question is the same as the one used by those who are opposed to veiling in church: "God knows your heart." If you truly desire to please Him, then yes, by all means, veil. Even if you're the only one. God knows your heart. He will know that you are not doing it because you consider yourself better than anyone else, or because you want to pass judgment on others who do not veil. And enduring the possibility of others thinking those things about you will become a cross you will be happy to offer to Our Lord. (But most likely, they won't. In fact, you will probably give other women the courage to do what they've been longing to do!)

All of this is why I veil. If you would like to read deeper into the symbolism of the chapel veil, go here and here.

Need a little extra courage before you go for it?

Remember this: the same pro-abortion women's group who pushed the feminist agenda in the 1960's (the National Organization for Women) was behind a campaign to get women to shed (and burn) their veils, in direct disobedience of what was then Canon law. You can read more about it here.

For now, please go to Fr. Z.'s blog and cast your vote!

Longing for God,

The Catholic Wife


  1. Thank you for your comment and encouragement.
    I know your blog for sometime now and you can see that in your followers, I am the lavender square and if you put the cursor on, it will say Alfazema.
    Thank you for your blog.

  2. I always wear my veil because I feel naked without it. I wear my veil each and every time I am in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament. I’ve been wearing it for more than a year now. At first I was the only one wearing a veil at the Sunday mass I attended, but now I see more women (predominantly young women) wearing them. I have issues when older (often bitter) women try to scold the younger ladies for wearing a veil. I have been told that I need to stop moving women backwards in the church. Even my mother-in-law and my own mother look at me wearing my veil with contempt. I happen to like some of the more traditional aspects of the church such as veiling and attending masses ad orientem (I personally still prefer the English over Latin). I have also begun attending an Anglican Use mass on occasion and the vast majority of females veil there. Even the very young girls veil. I find that veiling tends to promote a more modest dress among parishioners. This might be happenstance, it might just be the same women who veil dress modestly, or it might be by veiling the women learns her true worth and therefore feels it’s more appropriate to dress modestly. It’s just an observation.

  3. I really like your blog and would like to share it with my friends and family but when I try to tweet or post on FB is says the page doesn't exist.

    Thank you for your encouragement regarding veiling!

  4. am about to order my veil to wear at mid week Mass - not many attend but a beautiful old church and most Holy atmosphere - went there twice this week as newcomer was warmly welcomed - one lady wore a beautiful lace veil - somehow it felt right for me also as 1/16th italian - ie for these special Masses and also the Eucharistic prayers and at Adoration - ps am an RC convert and husbands high angican - no probs at alls - prayers please - an RC convert who is so so happy somehow after saying this - amen

  5. thanks for your blog....and for keeping up with it. some blogs i read arent currently active.

    i too veil at church and recently am getting very conscious of it that sometimes I dont want to wear it. i've been wearing a 'fashionable' hat lately but with warmer weather coming, i cant get away with that and have to use mantilla. I used to veil when I was away from home for grad school, but stopped for several years. Just two years ago, with the grace of God, i began veiling....but at times, it has been 'difficult'. I am already a very reserved person by nature and getting stares/comments even from family isnt making it any easier. Anyway, still continuing to do so because i do want so much to show Our Lord my love and appreciation for Him esp. at the Blessed Sacrament, and this is my teeny-tiny way for showing it.

    One quickie question: do you veil only during Mass and Adoration? Or anytime you are in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament? How about during Confession or Stations of the Cross?

    Again, thank you for the encouraging post.

  6. Anonymous on March 20: I veil anytime I'm in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, even if hidden in the tabernacle. If the church reserves the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, I veil when I enter the sacred space--whether I'm staying or simply passing through.

    One thing I've realized in the last few weeks is that I've always been very concerned with what others thought of me. Then, this started getting in the way of doing things for God. I would tell myself I couldn't do X, Y or Z out of true love for Jesus because other people might think I'm being holier-than-thou. Now I'm starting to see how *not* doing something for Our Lord because of fear of how others might perceive me... is actually one of the ways in which my struggle with pride manifests itself. Finally, I'm at a point where I have to tell myself, "Don't be afraid of loving God too much!" And the more I do so, the more courage I get to adore God freely and lovingly. The mysteries of the Church really ARE that awe-inspiring. It really IS Jesus Christ in the Eucharist... and we shouldn't be afraid to humble ourselves before that awesome, mind-boggling mystery.

  7. Thanks for this post. I, my three daughters, my god-daughter, and my mother, will all be confirmed this Easter Vigil, and we will all veil from that point on. It has not been part of our previous tradition as Anglican protestants, but we have joyfully come to the same conclusions you elucidate so well in this article.

  8. It is such a part of modesty to veil... it should be self-evident from understanding the virtue..

    To conceal.. not to reveal.. the opposite of the world.. however much the world has troubled and come into positions high and low..

    Modesty is modesty. Where Christ is, there modesty is found.

    'For he said not merely covered, but "covered over," meaning that she be carefully wrapped up on every side.'

    St. John Chrysostom (c.f. Modesty and Purity)

  9. There are not any women in my parish that veil, and I would like to. I don't mind being the very first, but, wonder if I should talk to some of the ladies about it first. How can I breach the subject, and how can I promote it?

  10. I think wearing a veil is a matter of personal devotion. The best way to promote it is to wear it devoutly, and continue on the road of continual conversion. If anyone asks, you can tell them what led you to veil, and why you love it. A smile usually works wonderfully, too.

  11. Thought I'd post just in case:

    I'm 28 now, when I was younger to make it more acceptable I'd wear different colored veil's, coverings like wraps and bandana's. Now I mainly stick to a veil and every so often wraps, they look fabulous and remind me of Mary. I've grown very accustomed to them, so if I've forgotten or lend mine out. There is a feeling of nakedness. haha.

    I veiled myself in my hometown where very very few women (mostly elderly women) did it/do it (Norvus Ordo) and it was/is fine. I have noticed some curious eyes, but perhaps it'll spark interest? AMDG. I have had women inquire as to where I've purchased them.

    The parish I mostly attend now (Tridentine) has many women veiled few do not. When I travel or go back to my home town I use my veil... It's nice to see mother's sharing the tradition with their daughters. I love coming into a new parish and seeing it ...
    I heard my younger sister started going to Latin Mass and gifted her a veil ...
    Hopefully it sparks and interest and she wears it to "regular masses" :)

  12. I just want to encourage my sisters in Christ not to fear what others think of you veilig. It is so true that many out there deep inside want to do it but are afraid. I was one of them for 5 years I was on the fence. I would put it on maybe for a day or two and then take it off. Then I would only wear it in another parish (not my own). Well, I prayed before a statue of Our Blessed Mother to settle this once and for all! She did and the very first Sunday I put it back on (in My Parish) I felt such a peace..Haven't taken it off since with absolutely no intimidation. My Heavenly Mother was pleased for Her Son. Oh just go to her you will see. She has the answer for this dilemma. Since this has happened, people are coming to me and asking me where they could purchase one! Hold your head High for Jesus!! Love Lindairene

  13. I am not of the Catholic faith and I have just decided I would like to veil from reading Scripture. I've been looking for a veil and can't decide how fancy or plain it should be, a cap or a longer veil. I know I don't want it real long I would roast. I would be the only one in church BUT I feel if I can't stand up for God in Church then where can I.

  14. So wonderful to see so many women listening to Our Blessed Mothers wishes . Wearing a veil at Holy mass is vital in proclaiming our Catholic faith . To wear it is to honour The Almighty Father and his beloved son. It sets us apart from men and displays the natural order . I truly believe that the women of the Holy Church can change the world with their prayers under the white peace mantilla . Wear it with pride and pray that your sisters soon feel the power of the Holy Spirit to also veil.
    Please look at my web page

    Your sister in Christ

  15. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, St. Paul clearly taught that women should cover their heads as an act of reverence. In every age, and in every culture, including our own, the veil has been a beloved expression of our Catholic faith. What caused so many women, and even religious sisters, to become afraid to cover their heads? Of whom are they so afraid?

    Women who use their veils contribute to the reverence that should characterize the Mass. Please do not be afraid any more. Use your veil again, and other women and girls will follow your example. You may just start a revival of a great and beautiful Catholic tradition.

  16. There was a period when I was wearing the veil regularly at the Novus Ordo as well as the Latin mass. Then one day when I entered the church I felt the palpable sensation of like an invisible hand waving over my head as if it were a reminder to put on my veil. I have since concluded it may have been an angel.

  17. I am converting this coming fall and have already decided to use a prayer veil after I receive the sacraments. This was not taken lightly and without prayer. I have even ordered cards to give to other women who may be interested in wearing the veil again or for the first time. I believe this is a calling to me and to strengthen my connection to my faith.