Our attitudes of respect and inclusion affirm the both/and nature of the question today. Left to our own devices, over time, I believe we can heal this polarized division and in turn help heal a rift in religious life and the church. We find our common ground in the habits of love we develop, which form us as religious and shape the witness of our very lives as ones who follow Jesus in a particular way. Read more....Susan describes her multivalent experience of religious-life 'habit', and that resonates with my own experience.
In my 30+ years of religious life, I have been in-habit for about half, and out-of-habit for the other half. I have embraced the challenges of authentic gospel living while wearing a veil, and while wearing a hoodie. I acknowledge some value in each experience, and some challenges in each. In neither case did what I wore touch the core experience of religious life or my commitment to Gospel living.
I think that wearing regular clothes allows me to be myself and to identify with others and with people I serve. Wearing a sign of my commitment in religious life allows me to identify with something larger, to witness the presence of God and of the people of faith into the present situation where I am living and working.
We can wear a pin or cross, but there is something profound about putting on clothing that represents who I am and what I stand for. I wonder about adopting the roman-collar as that symbol that can be worn as a widely-recognizable public witness.