Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Veils

Tonight after Mass I was accosted but in order for you to understand the tale of happenstance I must back up approximately 2 hours to the time allotted for Reconciliation at our parish.

****DISCLAIMER**** - I am not "anti-city people".  I was one once.  For the sake of understanding this post please note that I attend a "small by your standards" Norvus Ordo parish that's 45 miles from the next priest available.  On a "good Sunday" we have approximately 150 people in attendance.  There's only 1 Mass per day, 2 to fulfill Sunday obligation.  This story occurs on a Saturday Vigil Mass when I usually attend since I'm too lazy to wake up early enough to attend the "early in the morning to me" Mass with the nearly 1 hour commute to get there.  I veil - I began the practice before I was even Catholic.  I often tie my veil under my hair so it isn't as noticeable as well as to prevent toddler hands from taking off with it. ****END DISCLAIMER****

My son's Mass clothes were in the car so after he changed I ran the ones he wore to town outside while he was spending some time recanting to Father one half of the tale he would inevitably hear about our family that evening.  When I came back in an elderly gentleman who appeared to be of "city origins" was standing in the back of the parish floundering around a bit.  He saw me and came over and quietly asked where the confessions were being held.  I pointed to the door behind me (unmarked, no lights, could be a broom closet for all he knew) and told him they were there.  Full of anxiety he asked me of there was a screen and I told him our parish's "set up" (a chair and a place to kneel with a small curtain and a short wall and then you can walk around and sit/kneel with Father and a 6 ft. crucifix if you prefer).  He went and sat down and I thought we were done.

I knelt down behind the last pew and started my own examination of conscience and a few minutes later he came and tapped me on the shoulder and asked if he could bother me.  Of course I stopped for a minute and agreed.  He asked how he would know it was time to go in.  I told him when the door is open, you can enter.  The next person out would be my son and he was more than welcome to go next, I needed more time anyway.  He thanked me and went back to his seat.

I didn't see him again afterwards due to "the usual mommy things" and trying to get in some spare prayer time so when I noticed him at the end of Mass still in his pew after I finished my prayers I thought I might have a chance to make sure all was well and wish him safe travels on the way home.  I ended up walking out silently near this gentleman and a lady in a veil who appeared to be his wife.  

As we walked out she reached up and removed her veil and I took off the long scarf I was wearing in lieu of a veil that week.  She immediately turned as she saw the flash of blue to the side of her and realized what I'd done.  Halting in her tracks she spins on one heel and says "OH!  You wear one too!"  I gently started to explain I tie it under my hair due to the toddler but quickly ran out of breath as I was squished half to death by this tiny woman in glee.  She turns to me and says, "You know, there are more of us" as if she is imparting some kind of massive secret. 

I smiled and told her I knew and we began to part ways, her recounting the encounter of the strange woman who actually veils at the N.O. parish in the middle of nowhere to her husband and I began to gather wool in my head about what a delight it was to meet her and the "Sisterhood of Veils" that exists across the world. 

Whatever your veil is made of, be it the finest French or Spanish lace as hers was or the far more humble $5 Walmart clearance polyester scarf I had on my head know that it's about so much more than you.  Your veil is your connection to Mary and to God but it's also your connection to hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions of women who veil around the world in humble grace and awe of His Divine Presence.

And if anyone knows who this delightful little woman was, please tell her she brought a huge smile and one of the best hugs I've had in months to this "strange woman who actually veils at the N.O. parish in the middle of nowhere".  I've never gotten a hug at church before other than my toddler.  It was a refreshing experience.  May the Lord bless her and her husband and their travels and may they reach wherever home is safely.


  1. Sweet! My mom, 4 year old daughter, & I all veil for NO Mass out in the middle of nowhere too.

    1. That's wonderful! So glad to have others part of the Sisterhood of Veils! :)

      Nothing makes me smile more than seeing others who are "out there" since I'm often alone. :)