Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Mantilla Quotient...

Annie Elizabeth and I have gleefully noted that the number of women wearing mantillas at Mass is going up. Of course, under "mantilla" I also include scarves and shawls used as head coverings. Hats are quite good too, but one doesn't tend to see so many of them, except at weddings - and then they are, more often than not, just little scraps of feather and net.

The reason I wear a mantilla in church is that it is a way to show reverence and humility in the presence of God. A woman's hair was traditionally considered to be her crowning glory, and it was considered an act of humility to cover it before God. I also find the act of putting on my mantilla before I enter the church to be a useful moment of reflection.

It didn't take long to get used to it, and now it's second-nature. This was brought home to me when I found myself in Victoria a couple of weeks ago without a mantilla in my handbag. I had four of them in my car, but since it was one of the rare occasions when I was using public transport, they weren't much use! I felt positively undressed, and incredibly self-conscious, despite the fact that no-one would have batted an eyelid if I hadn't worn one.

I then had a brainwave - I shot into the St. Paul's bookshop next door. Yes, they sold mantillas - one size, one style, rather ghastly... and overpriced as well. June Wood, the lady who makes mine, uses much nicer materials, beautifully finished and for half the price. However, I wanted a mantilla in a hurry, and I figured that it would teach me not to leave home without one again!

When I recounted my experiences to Annie Elizabeth, she told me about the church at Ecône, where the church porch has a rack with a variety of scarves and shawls available to borrow... thinking about the amount of money I had to pay for my scrap of material, I rather wish I had been more creative in my thinking, and had bought a nice scarf instead.

Now Annie Elizabeth and I have formed the Blackfen branch of the Mantilla Mafia. First challenge: to figure out how to get Leutgeb to wear one...

6 comments:

Mac McLernon said...

Several people have asked me about where to buy mantillas.

June Wood agreed that I could put her name and number on the blog. She charges between £5 and £6 (around $12) or thereabouts for a beautifully made mantilla plus postage. She can be contacted on +44 (0) 1582 708 374. It's a home address, so if you're phoning from abroad, remember the time difference!

Richard Collins said...

I think that women are extremely blessed to be able to demonstrate their humility and love of God by donning a scarf or mantilla.

Us men have to go bare headed and that's it.
Very unfair.

Rachel said...

In my parish near Los Angeles, California, I see more and more women wearing mantillas. I have a circle of five friends, and only one of us covered her hair in church five years ago. Now four of us wear mantillas to Mass and the fifth wears a veil all day as a nun. :)

I got over my self-consciousness about wearing a veil by focusing on Christ in the Eucharist, and my desire to pay homage to Him.

gemoftheocean said...

For true humility, ya coulda just stuck a kleenex on your head like we 'had to' in the 'olden days.' [no surrender here....]

Mac McLernon said...

Heheheh... Karen, I didn't have any kleenex in my handbag either!
;-p

Ninian Doohan said...

I am ever so grateful for this post. I phoned Mrs Wood, and I couldn't have hoped for more beautiful mantillas. This is a truly wonderful apostolic work. I ordered a dozen, and they arrived in no time at all. Mrs Wood is to be congratulated and I would encourage anyone to buy a mantilla for their loved ones, or even to leave behind in Church (they come in little plastic bags) as a gift from an "anonymous Catholic, helping to change the world one mantilla at a time!

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