Over the past 30 years, the number of women in Catholic religious orders has decreased by around 50 percent. There remains 85,412 religious sisters in the United States, and the average age is 68. The religious orders actually seeing growth are the ones that wear a traditional habit including The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia and Mother Teresa's religious order. The fact is that the habit is truly a spiritual treasure. The key to increasing the number of religious sisters and nuns in the world is to again bring back the mandatory habit. No longer should nuns be allowed to live in apartments and wear laypeoples' clothing; rather, they should be living in a monastery to praise and serve God.
One cloistered Dominican postulant gives her own thoughts
While I was discerning my vocation, I attended several vocation weekends, seminars, and discussion groups designed to help young women find the religious community to which God called them. All of the women I met, both younger and older vocations, desired communities that wear the habit. Each shared the desire of giving oneself completely to Jesus and, thus, "putting on" Christ every day.
What better expression is there of who we are as the Spouses of Christ than the holy habit? The professed sisters in my cloistered contemplative community each wear their habit with great love and reverence for Jesus; it is as much a part of them as their rosary, their veil, and their wedding band.
In the active orders, the habit acts as a very powerful and necessary witness of God's presence in today's world. Speaking from my own experience, it is very reassuring to see religious out and about in our communities proudly wearing the habit. And what an encouragement for young people thinking about a vocation to religious life!
That is why, to me, as to many of my contemporaries entering religious life, the habit signifies something much more than a garment of choice--it is a testimonial to a life consecrated to God.
More happy, habited nuns: