Rorate Caeli published a sermon spoken by a religious superior to her community. It was based on ” the recent order from the civil government, requiring the wearing of a mask in public places”. It is based on the veil and wimple which many religious still wear today (although most ditched it decades ago)
“The wimple came into fashion during the Middle Ages, from about the 13th century onward. All women of good breeding wore a wimple, and, later on it was retained for some time (through the 15th century) for married women. The wimple was always worn with a veil. The idea for the wimple is that the woman’s face is visible, but her neck and her head are covered….
One reason for the wearing of a wimple is the same as the reason for wearing a veil: that of reserving one’s beauty for one’s spouse. … A woman who is not “available,” that is, one who is married or given in religion, does not wish, in any way, to draw attention to her physical beauty, and so it became customary for such women to wear wimples and veils.
Fashions changed, but women religious retained the custom of wearing wimples and veils.
The wimple always leaves the face uncovered. What does the leaving of the face uncovered mean? First, it means that a woman who wears a wimple is not seeking to hide herself totally; she is not seeking to exclude or separate herself from others. She is not excluding communication with other persons. Her face is left free; in fact, the wearing of the wimple draws more attention to the face, since there is nothing else to draw our eye.
The wimple “forces” someone who meets us to focus on our face, not on our body. In a real sense, our face most fully expresses who we are. …
The wimple, then, helps us to relate to other human persons in a way that harmonizes very well with our vocation. The wimple draws attention to the “inner man” which finds expression in our face. Our wimple helps others to look at us in that way.
Last week, the civil government ordered that everyone must wear masks in public places. The mask covers half of the face: the nose and the mouth. It is hard to recognize people when they wear masks; this is why burglars wear masks (the same kind, where only the eyes are visible). We can look from our convent to see people walking the streets who wear masks, but who are otherwise dressed indecently. The symbolic message such people convey is almost an exact inversion of the message we convey. One cannot “see” the “inner man” because of the mask, but one’s eyes are drawn, instead, to the body.
The mask is a barrier to truly human communication, for communication is so much more than the exchange of words. We speak with our face, with our expressions. When we add the wearing of masks to the other regulations, especially that of so-called “social distancing,” and to the increase in “virtual meetings” and “on-line classrooms,” we can see the mask as just one element in the dehumanizing tendency of our society.
Even though people may think it “dehumanizing” that we sisters wear all the coverings we do as part of our religious habit, the truth is that the layers we wear can be aids to make our relationship with other human persons “more human,” more personal. Because the use of masks is an element that frustrates truly human relationships, we have an instinctive aversion to wearing masks. The mask hides the human person; the wimple reveals the human person.
Let us thank God for the gift of our wimples!”
Is this whole thing about controlling us, asserting power over us, bringing a negative attitude and feeling, making us feel irrelevant and dependant ?
Do these things, in fact dehumanize us?
This is what the evil one (and the evil sect and elite that he controls) wants. We are made in the image and likeness of God, and he hates this. He wants to drag us down. He wants to make us seem less human!
But ours is the last laugh, because we know the ending: the Immaculate Heart will triumph!