Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I have taken an informal poll of folks about my little melt-down of Sunday.  I wanted to see how many people thought my wearing running clothes to mass was a big deal.  Not too many people did.  Most of those who did were my age or older.  Not that they thought I was "bad," or "wrong," but that they understood why I felt uncomfortable about it.  

A few years ago, I decided to be a "trend-setter" and wear a veil to mass.  I conducted an internet search to purchase one.  I found a beautiful lace mantilla and bought it. (I abandoned wearing it after a few trials.) I read the reviews of the people who had bought one.  Someone had written that the reports of people pinning kleenex to their heads "back in the day" had to have been "urban legends."  Well, let me tell you - that is no urban legend.  We really did that.  We would no more go into church without covering our heads than we would go in without clothing today.  It just was.not.done.  It was better to have a kleenex or a handkerchief on our heads than nothing.  And everyone had a bobby pin and a kleenex or a hankie in their purse - back then.  

This makes me sound like I am a hundred years old, but when I was a child, my mother would take me downtown to go shopping - we would both wear dresses, hats, and white gloves.  I wore black patent leather shoes with white socks.  My mother wore heels and stockings with seams up the back.  My father wore a suit.  This is how we dressed.  This is how we went to church each week too.  It wasn't because we were trying to impress anyone.  It was because that was how it was done.  It was how you showed respect.   On special occasions, my father would have corsages in the refrigerator, ready to pin on "the girls" before mass.  

So, this is my mind set.  And I am beginning to realize it is very different from most of the rest of the world which is now younger than me.  They did not dress in hats and white gloves to go downtown to go shopping.  They dressed in pajama bottoms with "pink" emblazoned on the rear, and popped over to the mall.  So how shall these same people go to mass?  With hearts probably more fervent than mine, that is how!

But I cannot change the fact that I was born in 1951.  I was raised when I was raised and I have the values I have.  I still believe that I dress as nice as I can to show that I have respect for what I am doing.  Not to impress anyone, but to show respect.  I don't have mink coats or diamond jewelry - I am not dressed to impress, but I hope that I show that I know I am someplace pretty special when I am in God's house!  

And now I need to bathe and dress my body to show that I know that I am in the workplace and that I am there to work!  And that I respect that too!  


  1. I think, live and live on this one. Or do I mean, dress and let dress? As long as it's not immodest or a cause for damage to the morality of another's soul. As I often joke, I think I'm more likely to be turning stomachs rather than heads, lately, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Sorry, got a bit carried away there.

    I'm not even going to begin to describe what I am wearing at the moment Mary Christine, but the knees of the lower garment are damp, as are my wrists from kneeling in front of a fridge, whilst cleaning it ( I bet you thought I'd cried profusely during my rosary, didn't you? I do actually do that, at times).

  2. that should read, live and let live.

  3. That's the way it should be, Mary Christine. You dress as you wish and others dress as they want to. The Church has some fairly lose regulations and we have to follow those because the Church has authority. Beyond that, que sera sera.

    Sorry for the Doris Day. I'm getting old, too.

  4. One need not dress expensively to dress appropriately for church. I also know clothes are not necessarily an accurate reflection of the disposition of one's soul. However, I do think that a lax attitude in dress is too often accompanied by a lax attitude toward reverence. "Back when" we didn't have people coming to church with cleavage and everything else hanging out. And along with the more refined style of dress there was silence and not the bingo-hall atmosphere that precedes Mass in too many churches. Whether one thing is the cause of another, that is not for me to say. But I do wonder.

  5. That's Tom for you. Do you know that he found a sale on maroon button up shirts and bought a dozen of them. ($5 a piece, heavy duty shirts). Every day he wears a new one, every- single -day. And then there are the two layers beneath them- one T-shirt and one green/gray long underwear shirt sandwiched between them. Now he has added an olive green stocking cap, even indoors. To complete the outfit, he has dual layers on the bottom, red long underwear topped by various colors of sweatpants. This is not to forget the fingerless gloves. All he needs is a burning trash barrel and he would be right at home. Oh, wait, there IS a burning trash barrel right outside our garage. Right where visitors park and can experience the lovely scent of smoldering paper towel rolls. Yes,he is the perfect person to give advice on how to dress. Now you see why I say I have transformed into a Bubbette- but he is the love of my life and I'll take him no matter how he comes wrapped.

  6. The Little Way- I agree with your comment about the bingo-all atmosphere. I have even seen parents feeding their children McDonald's hamburgers while sitting in the pews, before mass.

  7. What a great blog. I loved reading this. It was a window into an earlier world. Where did you grow up Mary? Was it Colorado?

    I fall somewhere in between. I like people who dress for church, but I don't find an occaisional lapse anything disrespectful.

  8. Hello my friend, I plan on arriving in heaven only wearing my soul and hopefully it will be clean and filled with the holy spirit. That is my goal.....I too remember the white gloves and patent leather shoes, it was nice to dress up, but I know God loves the kids in the jeans and pj's as much as he loves me.....:-)Hugs

  9. Oh, what fun we have blogging! Thanks for all the comments. This has been great thought provoking dialog for me.

    Manny, I grew up in eastern Ohio.