Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Veil with Ties!

We have added a new long veil *with ties* to the Veil Shop.

Since it ties underneath your hair, it is more likely to stay in place, even with little ones around.

Also available in ivory.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Order Fulfillment Update, and a Sale at Snood for All Seasons!

Károly Brocky - Portrait of a Woman with Veil - WGA3213
Károly Brocky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

We just wanted to let everyone know that we are running right on time, and will be able to ship everyone's veil(s) in time for Easter!  As a reminder, if you have an open order, and are planning to wear the veil for Easter, please do let us know, so that we can monitor its timely arrival.

On that note, we wanted to let everyone know, also, that A Snood for All Seasons is having a sale on their beautiful headcoverings!  You can read details, and get the coupon code here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Headcovering Ladies, We Have a Treat for You

Tired of enduring sidelong glances and answering silly questions?
Have a hot cup of something wonderful, and smile.

Christian Headcovering Mug, now at the Veil Shop:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Easter Order Deadline

Easter (April 8) is around the corner!
Veil shop orders must be received by Sunday, April 1, in order to arrive by Easter. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Free Shipping at the Catholic Chapel Veil and Christian Headcovering Shop

We are offering free domestic shipping at the Veil Shop now through April 8, 2012!
Just enter code:
at checkout



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Welcome to the Catholic Chapel Veil and Christian Headcovering Shop blog!
Updates, sales, and giveaways related to the Veil Shop are posted here.

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Christian Headcovering: Catholic Mantilla Chapel Veil Colors: Do They Vary According to Age and Marital State? Does Color Matter?

A lovely lady visited the Veil Shop this morning, and asked whether there are any hard and fast rules about the color of veils that one might wear, whether one is married or single, younger or older?  Or whether, presently, it's more a matter of personal taste?

Of course, traditionally, married women wore black, or darker colors, and single women and girls wore white, or lighter colors.  Now, though, it seems to me that those practices have relaxed a bit.  I would say that, as women are re-embracing the practice of veiling, we are, to some extent, making it our own.

However, I am sure that local parishes may have different norms and practices.  If you veil in church, are there any "color rules" or practices in your local congregation?  I would love to here your input on this question.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Men and Mantilla Chapel Veils at Church: Matthew

In a prior post, I presented the results of a question presented to a number of male friends regarding how they feel about headcovering.  One of the responses merits a reading in its entirety.  That response follows:

            Pierre Auguste Renoir, {PD 1923}

The way I feel about veils is very much effected by questions of context.  Specifically,

*  ”Are veils a cultural norm in the relevant venue?”
*  “Is the wearer consistently modest (or obedient to scripture) in their behavior and choice of other apparel?”
*   and, if I am on familiar terms with the person, “What are the intentions of the wearer?”

First of all, if the veil is a cultural norm (as it is in many Orthodox churches), then I really think very little about it.  I don’t automatically think that everyone wearing the veil does so without conviction, but it simply reduces the matter below the level of controversy requited to trigger my mental energies.  In point of fact, it is now the abstainers that automatically draw my curiosity.

Non conformists aside, I can simply bisect the issue into: 1) Why is it a cultural norm among this community? And 2) What draws and holds these individuals to this community?  The first question can generally be answered with research, the latter only through relationship.

Photo: Creative Commons, click for license
Second, if a woman veils but otherwise leaves little to the imagination, then at best the veil means nothing; at worst the veil is a mark of hypocrisy or low self awareness.  If a woman is inordinately flirtatious, it would be better if she wore no veil, because the outward expression of modesty conveys innocence, thereby compounding the seductive effect on the man.  Because immodest dress excludes no viewer, only the most desperate men would fool themselves into taking any ensuing affectations as a unique token of appeal.  Like the gleam of gold through a keyhole, the invitations of a modestly arrayed woman are far more provocative.  Further, veils can be a sexual fetish simply for being a mark of feminine modesty.

Additionally, if the purpose of the veil is to avoid drawing attention, then wearing one where it is not a norm to do so is counterproductive.  I shall not belabor an obvious point.

That being said, the third context is really the most important to me, because it is the heart that matters most to God.  If the person intends obedience or modesty or virtue, then those intentions trump any outward effect.  Even if it is just a point of fashion, I cannot find fault with it in and of itself – veils can be very feminine and aesthetically pleasing simply as an article of clothing.

Finally, I should say that I appreciate the mindfulness that the veil represents when worn by young women in modern western communities.  I like to see women who don’t simply accept the norms they are presented with at face value, but are compelled to compare them to the traditions in which we find our origins.  If a woman veils and is virtuous in deed and modest in dress, discriminating in though, discerning in her study and obedient in her convictions, then it is not a veil at all.  It is a crown.

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What Do Men Think of Women Who Practice Christian Headcovering and/or Wear a Veil to Catholic Mass

I sought, this weekend, to get a taste of what men think of women who cover in church.  After reading a rather coarse comment on dear Cam’s blog, I was interested in finding out.  I asked  a somewhat motley, (by age and denominational affiliation), group of Christian men for honest reactions to veiling.  All of them are men who are dear to me, which may mean that they were kind, and somewhat guarded, in their responses…but I asked them not to be.  Clearly, this is a naturally biased sample, since it only included people that I know, but…it’s a start.

I have learned some things that were unexpected, and some things that were no surprise at all.

Here are some highlights:

One Thing I Had Expected to Find:
These men, even those in their 40s and 50s, do not seem to have the same hang-ups about headcovering that women do.  They don’t associate it with subjugation, male dominance, or power issues.

One Thing I Was Pleased to Find:
Not one man was critical of the decision of some women to cover.  Now, maybe I just have really awesome friends, but, I think I was getting pretty honest answers.  There were varying levels of understanding of why a Christian woman might choose to cover, but no one along that continuum, expressed distaste or negative judgment. 

In fact, while none of these men, to my knowledge, has a woman in his life that chooses to cover, each was accepting of the practice, and, in the case of some, even willing to defend it.

Photo: Creative Commons

The Thing That Was Most Disquieting for Me:
A few brought up the one issue, regarding veiling, that causes me to squirm, both intellectually and emotionally: the idea that headcovering, if intended to express modesty and humility, is counterproductive when done in a cultural context where it is not the norm.

This has always been the only personally valid argument against veiling, for me.  I certainly cover in a cultural environment where it is not the norm.  However, I also live in the midst of a culture where virtue, respect for male headship, the placing of vows over personal gain, pursuit of  integrity, and honor for God are not the norm.  I’m not about to give up striving for these things, because I find myself in a culture that does not universally embrace them.  My fierce internal longing to honor the Presence of our Lord trumps the desire to flee circumstances which may call attention to me.  And, in the end, I squirm far more unveiled in church, than I do veiled.

A Question That Was Answered for Me:
Some of these fine Christian men are not immune from sharing the discomfort that some of us headcovering women feel, toward veiling in church, when they are intimately tied to us in some way. However, those who expressed this potential discomfort, also rose to support us, in rather knightly fashion, provided our reasons for veiling were Biblical, sincere, and virtuous.

Artwork: {{PD-1923}}-published before 1923 and therefore public domain in the US 

Something I Already Knew:
Men, the good ones at least, are pretty wonderful.  They are more thoughtful, reasonable, supportive, and kind, than most women give them credit for.

The Thing that Surprised Me Most:
The first response, that I received, came completely out of left field for me.  This portion was not at all what I had expected:

"I don't really care if you do or don't, I see it as a form of fashion.  I do not know the reason why veils wouldn't be allowed as per doctrine but so far as I know God doesn't care if you wear them or not." (Italics, mine.)

As I thought about this, I realized that this very thoughtful, contemplative, intelligent man, whom I hold rather dear, was born post-Vatican II.  We have adults, now, that were born well  past Vatican II.  Have you, (assuming that you are old enough to remember sitting through televised Watergate hearings), thought of it?

They have lived entire lives with no exposure to looking out over a congregational sea of hats or lace mantillas on female heads in church, images of a veiled Jackie Kennedy, priests/pastors with backs to the congregation while facing a wall-backed altar to celebrate communion, housewives at the grocery market in the middle of the day with their hair set in rollers under scarves, or significant controversy over the use of birth control.

This very well informed young man probably has no awareness of the National Organization for Women's heavily promoted 1968 suggestion that:

"Because the wearing of a head covering by women at religious services is a symbol of subjection with many churches, NOW recommends that all chapters undertake an effort to have all women participate in a "national unveiling" by sending their head coverings to the task force chairman.  At the Spring meeting of the task force of women and religion, these veils will be publicly burned to protest the second class status of women in all churches.  (National Organization for Women, Dec., 1968.)

Many of the cultural shifts that have occurred in the short time between his generation, and mine, have been tragic.  Others may not be.  It hit me rather hard that, to him...and most of his peers...a veil in church is just a piece of lace.

...It's not a sign of subjugation.  It's not a sign of honoring the wearer's husband, present or future.  It's not a sign of backward thinking by a woman who is not comfortable with her own sexual freedom.  It's not necessarily a sign of modesty.  It's not a sign of imprisonment by superstitious religious thinking. It's not a gesture of honor toward the Real Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

It's just a piece of lace.
And, maybe, that is a good thing.

I don't know why I didn't realize it before now.  I suspect that a lot of things that headcovering women (or those considering it) worry about, regarding the reactions of others, are no longer least for people under 35, or so.

Perhaps we have finally reached a point where we can get our collective societal head on straight.  Maybe, now, lace covered female heads; male headship in the home; and a heading away from limited family size, institutionalized child care, and the embracing of a culture of divorce...can become true matters of choice.  We have seen a period where women had no choice but traditional roles.  We have seen a period where society militantly opposed women's embracing of traditional roles.  Maybe now, as images of sit-ins, and bra burnings, fade in the memories of the relative handful of us that possess them, we can entertain hope for healing.


One Sunday, my daughter wore a dress to church that, by most people's standards, was perfectly modest.  However, it fell lower along the bust line, than she would generally wear without a shell underneath.  As the mass progressed, I was aware of her tell-tale judicious fussing with the neckline of that dress.  Finally, as we prepared to go up for communion, my rather scrupulously headcovering daughter discreetly slipped her lace mantilla off her head, folded it in half, and tucked it quietly into the bodice of her dress, in preparation for meeting her Lord, bareheaded, at the altar rail.

That episode is the best example I can recall, of healthy, balanced veiling...and I believe that those Chrisitian men, whose opinions matter, would understand her decision perfectly.

My own testimony of veiling is here.
A response best read in its entirety is here.

Pax Christi,

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How to Tie a Catholic Chapel Veil or Christian Head covering: One Method, A Tutorial

A reader asked for a tutorial on how we tied this headcovering:

We'd be glad to!  So, here goes:

1.  Place a triangular veil on your head, with the point in the back.  (You can also use a square scarf folded in half, point-to-point, to form a triangle.)  You may want to place a bobby pin at each temple to keep it in place during tying.

2.  Grasp the two side corners, and draw them under your hair.  Tie them.  (If you are using a smaller triangle, you can just cross them at this point, so that each point ends up above the shoulder opposite where it started.)

3.  Grasp the two side corners again and draw them around your hair and the scarf that is covering it.  Tie them together around your hair, across the top of the scarf.

4.  Grasp the side corners again and draw them back under your hair.  Tie underneath.

Alternate (To enclose all your hair in the veil):

1.  Place a triangular scarf on your head, with the point in the back.  (You can also use a square scarf folded in half, point-to-point, to form a triangle.)

2.  Grasp the two side corners and draw them up under your hair.  Cross them and lay them on your shoulders.  Grasp the point in the back (at the ends of your hair) and draw it up under your hair.  Grasp the two side points, catch the point of the back of the scarf, and tie the two sides of the scarf together, catching the back point in the knot.

Then..follow steps 3 and 4 above.

Here it is with a thinner veil:

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Why I Wear a Catholic Chapel Veil / Christian Headcovering in Church

I had felt called to cover, and toyed a bit with doing it, when some years ago, at the Easter Vigil, the deacon began to sing the Exsultet (the Easter proclamation hymn which announces the dignity and meaning of the resurrection).  I was, as I am every year, overcome by the sacredness and lyrical beauty of this ancient hymn, and by the fact that I was standing in consecrated space sharing the experience of women across centuries who, too, had stood in sacred space listening to the evocative rhythms and poignant lyrics of this very song.  Struck by the holiness of the experience, and intensely aware that I was standing in the very presence of our Lord, angels, and the faithful across time and space in the Communion of Saints, I covered my head with the scarf that I had around my neck.  I have never gone back.

We dress well for events that we value.  Being well dressed shows respect for the event, our fellow attendees, and ourselves.  Church is no different, except that in church we are going to meet God.  This is especially true if we adhere to a faith that holds that Christ is truly present in the Sacrament.  The way that we are dressed impacts our perspective and behavior.  Many women, myself included, find that this is true of veiling, as well.

Part of showing respect for our fellow attendees is embracing modesty in worship so that we support the men in attendance by refraining from throwing distractions in their way.  Our brothers in Christ are bombarded on an unrelenting basis with sexual images, not just in the media, but on the bodies of women all around them in daily life.  We ought really to give them a break, at least in church.

There is also the headcovering passage in 1 Corinthians 11.  (It is quoted at the bottom of this post.)  I have read all of the arguments against a scriptural mandate for covering.  I do not extend any obligation to cover to other Christian women.  However, Christian women, worldwide, covered their heads at prayer from the beginnings of Christianity all the way until the advent of Feminism in the 1960s.  If nearly 2000 years worth of Christians, across times, cultures, Church affiliation, and geographic boundaries, interpreted this passage to extend beyond the limited culture of Corinth, that is good enough for me.  I think I’ll go with nearly 2000 years of Christian practice over 40 years of Feminism.  I also believe that the writings of the Church Fathers clarify that it was the practice  in the early church to cover.

I find that people who do not know me, but see me veiled, assume that my husband is aggressive and controlling.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  My choice to veil is my own.  He supports that choice, but had nothing to do with its initiation.  I do, however, respect and value my husband’s role as a leader, protector, and provider in our family, and my veiling is also a nod to that respect.  I do not believe that covering subjugates a woman.  I believe that covering elicits, even demands, respect for the sacredness of womanhood.  In a culture that devalues women by exposing them, veiling restores a level of respect for her honor.

I have read plenty of reactions from women regarding others who cover, some of which suggest the the woman who veils considers herself more “holy” or spiritual than the one who does not.  Covering is about me and God, not about me and the woman in the next pew.  If anything, veiling can be very humbling.  It’s not easy being counter cultural…or wondering what others are thinking about the practice.

I’m sure that there are women who believe that covering is essential to salvation, but I personally have never met or communicated with one.  For most women, covering is something that one feels called to do, not required to do.

Veiling has blessed my walk with Christ in many ways. It has kept me focused on the point of church attendance, increased my respect for my husband, increased my humility, deepened my prayer life, taught me that my relationship to my creator is more important to me than the opinions of other people, and enabled me to give a gift of worship to God.

I don't share these things because I expect that others should adopt my practices.  I share them only because I have been asked.  Whatever your approach to drawing close to our Lord, I pray that you will be blessed by it.

A marvelous pictorial history of Christian head covering throughout the centuries can be found here.

(If you are a woman who covers, or who is considering covering, don't forget to enter this month's giveaway, which features of headcovering from the veil shop!)

Pax Christi,

“Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head.  And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head – it is just as though her head were shaved.  If a woman does not cover her head, she should have her hair cut off; and if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head.

A man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.  For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.  For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.  In the Lord, however,  woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.  For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman.  But everything comes from God.

Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered?  Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace  to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?  For long hair is given to her as a covering.  If anyone wants to be contentious about this, we have  no other practice-nor do the churches of God.
~1 Cor. 11: 2-16

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Free Shipping at the Catholic Chapel Veil and Christian Headcovering Shop

We are offering free domestic shipping at the Veil Shop now through April 8, 2012!
Just enter code:
at checkout


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