Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Mantilla Veil

I fell in love with the mantilla veil when I began my search for a wedding dress. One look at the intricate scalloped lace and soft tulle draped over a bride’s tight chignon on In Style was all it took. My knees started to shake, my heart raced like it had just run a Marathon and my ears rang with Elton John’s “Baby, you’re THE ONE!’

 My mantilla veil was hand-sewn from the Philippines and beaded with pearls.  I tried it on at least fifty times before I walked down the aisle and I was reluctant to fold it away after the Church wedding ceremony, knowing I would never wear such exquisiteness again.

A mystic visited St. Joan of Arc’s Church once and through her, I learned that Our Lady regards women who wear veils as “her own special consecrated daughters.”  I’d just consecrated my life to Our Lady and the invitation to wear a veil to seal my consecration was irresistible.  But outside a wedding, a white-covered head sticking out of the crowd was also embarrassing.   After struggling with the issue, I decided to veil with the hopes of offering my modesty and purity to Our Lord as sacrifice… so that my daughters, too, would maintain their purity and modesty till their wedding day.    

One of the first few times I veiled, my husband glanced at me and a goofy smile came over his face.  Might have been that he remembered our wedding day because he reached over to take my hand and squeezed it.  I’ve never been embarrassed since then. 

Other women “veil” for different reasons and were called to it in diverse ways.  Here are the words of other consecrated daughters of Our Lady:

“I started veiling at age 15 after listening to Mr. Gil's tapes on the subject. I was actually the last girl in my family to put it on- and I am the only one still wearing it 11 years later. I originally veiled just to show respect for the Blessed Sacrament, but now I also happily wear it as a sign of submission to my husband.” –Jennifer

  “I only recently began veiling (summer of 2010). I struggled with this even though I felt called to wear the veil I was apprehensive of appearing "holier than thou" to some of my friends. I was also afraid of succumbing to pride. I didn't understand that on the contrary, submitting to the call was an act of humility to God, not man. Something that greatly helped me overcome my obstacles was this beautiful article.” –Graciela

“I came to the "world of veiling" from my grandmother. I remember as a child she would never EVER go into church without it and she was a daily communicant. She also taught me the rosary when I was 12. I thought she was the holiest woman around…She died in 2000 and after her death, the family decided to give me her precious veils and a Saint Anne chaplet she bought in Canada. This was special because she had a huge devotion to St. Anne and she wore her veils dare I say "religiously." A family moved to my town and they were wearing veils, and then another family moved in and also brought the veil with them. I had always thought it was special to wear the veil…so, I decided to give it a try. I now feel unholy if I ever forget it or that I'm not being reverent to our Lord. It does come with the occasional child pulling it off your head or having to tie it like a bonnet because you forgot the bobby pin or comb to hold it in place. It has now become a part of my service, sacrifice and devotion to our Lord. A badge of courage, if you will, proudly displayed. Not wearing the veil during my time in the church is like showing up with a halter top on. Yes, you're clothed, but really indecent.” --Elizabeth

 "Since converting back to the Church, I've adopted the tradition of the chapel veil, and dress much more modestly in the Presence of the Sacrament.  For me, it is a personal reminder of my submission to Jesus, and a constant reminder to behave in a manner fitting a daughter of God. I came across this practice through my research into Marian apparitions.  It dawned on me that the Blessed Mother never really appears without her own veil.  In all her apparitions, she's veiled- after all, she's ALWAYS in the Presence of God, right?  So in my mind, it makes sense that anytime I'm to be in the Presence of God in the Holy Eucharist, my head is to be veiled like the Blessed Mother.  Far be it from me to place myself above her example, right?"  To read the complete post:

(A must read from a Jewish convert) "After reading this post, I found and expanded one of my old posts about wearing the veil," Rochelle at Semper Gaudete

 "Having my head enveloped by a beautiful piece of lace is very grounding.  It's as if the mantilla is gently caressing my head and keeping me focused on Mass.  I felt greater reverence for the prayers, the the Blessed Sacrament and for receiving Jesus in Communion..."

"I began veiling in Church at Easter. Not because of outside influences, or for Scriptural reasons, although both of those certainly exist. It was not tradition or rank sentimentality which brought me to this point either. It was a deeply personal decision, as many of the best ones are. It was through the process of examining my conscience that I became aware of my own weakest points, which is the whole point of a regular examination. I am prideful. I am weak. I am easily distracted. I worry overmuch about the opinions of other people as they pertain to the way I present myself to the world..." Rebecca  at

"For me, wearing the mantilla in Church serves as a physical reminder to myself that I am no longer out in the world, but I am now in God's house, and in His presence in the Blessed Sacrament. This physical reminder helps me to focus on the liturgy. Also, it may serve as a reminder to others that I am in the house of God to pray. Why is this important? Well, going to Church no longer seems important or special to a lot of people. I suppose that is why many come to Church wearing flip flops or short-shorts. Going to Church becomes a casual event, rather than a venue for people to come into the presence of God and to be nourished my Him through the word and through His Body and Blood. For me, wearing the mantilla reminds me that Church is set apart from the world."  -- Helen of Troy  @ Confessions of a Catholic Wench.  Read full article here

"I know I’m blessed to be at a church where veiling is the norm, rather than the exception so I don’t feel out-of-place. I never felt a lot of pressure to veil, I just tried it, read and prayed about it, and ultimately embraced it completely..." - Kelly @ This ain't the Lyceum (Please please, click on her link for a not to miss picture)

Three posts on veiling you might like:

If you want to share when you veiled and why, I invite you to comment or post your own link (I’ll move you up from comments to the post if you leave your first name).   Remember ladies, there is beauty in numbers.


Rochelle said...

After reading this post, I found and expanded one of my own old posts about wearing the veil.

Semper Gaudete!: To Veil, or Not To Veil, that WAS the Question


Victor S E Moubarak said...

There was a time when all women covered their heads in church as a sign of respect.

That was also the time when men took off their hats when a funeral procession passed by in the street.

And it was also the time when people made the sign of the Cross whenever they passed a church.

God bless you and thanx for another wonderful post.

Amy @ Consecrated Housewife said...

Who was the mystic in St. Joan of Arc church? I tried looking up the story so I could read more but couldn't find it so now I'm curious...

Anabelle Hazard said...

Her name is Emma De Guzman. Website What she said about the veil is not in her public messages. It was given privately during a prayer meeting. But she is an interesting and very humble mystic endorsed by Bishops, priests and our former spiritual director of the Carmelite Secular Order--and I did smell the odor of sanctity on her so my nose endorses her:) I might write more about her soon. Thanks for stopping by, I visit your site, too!

Roel Eden said...

I would like to buy a couple of spanish mantilla's for my wife. Would you know where I can buy from? Thanks!