That’s a big question – so let’s get some background out of the way.There’s a lot said (mostly opinions on blogs) about whether religious (men or women) should wear a habit or not. You have internet articles like Why Nuns Should Wear Habits, What Color is Your Habit?, For These Young Nuns, Habits are the New Radical, and then you get into the history of the habit, like the 2005 book The Habit: A History of Clothing of Catholic Nuns.
In St John Paul II’s, Vita Consecrata he speaks to the matter here:"… The Church must always seek to make her presence visible in everyday life, especially in contemporary culture, which is often very secularized and yet sensitive to the language of signs. In this regard the Church has a right to expect a significant contribution from consecrated persons, called as they are in every situation to bear clear witness that they belong to Christ. Since the habit is a sign of consecration, poverty and membership in a particular Religious family, I join the Fathers of the Synod in strongly recommending to men and women religious that they wear their proper habit, suitably adapted to the conditions of time and place.
Why are some communities of Sisters dressed differently than other communities? As described above, every community chooses their own style of dress – whether they be “habit-wearing” or not.
For the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis of East Peoria, we choose to wear a habit.
When the Order was founded in 1877, the Sisters took the common fashion of Franciscan habits of the day with its tightly worn veil. It includes a Franciscan cord and rosary at the waist.
Over time, the habit changed….
In 1912, the Sisters modified the veil.
In 1928, the white habit was developed, for those Sisters working in clinical areas at the hospital. It is identical to the brown wool 1912 habit. But white cotton.
In 1968, after Vatican II, the Sisters went to a more modern habit – a one-piece A-line dress, with a simple crucifix necklace.
In 2012, the Sisters returned to the more traditional Franciscan habit – and this is the habit the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis of East Peoria wear to the present day.
The modeling for these Sisters was really tough, here in Peoria. You know how strenuous a photo shoot for models can be, right? Stay tuned to a future blog article with an explanation of the meaning & symbolism of the pieces of our habit - plus behind the scene photos and outtakes from the photo session. :-)
Are you thinking about becoming a Sister or a Nun? Would you like to know more, discuss your discernment or arrange to come for a visit?
Contact our Vocation Director: Sister Rose Therese, O.S.F.phone: (309) 655-2645mail: The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis House of Formation 740 NE Glen Oak Avenue Peoria, IL 61603-3100Email
Are you trying to reach one of our Sisters or find out about an event at our motherhouse, like our annual bazaar?
Call or write: phone: (309) 699-7215mail: The Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis Motherhouse 1175 St. Francis Lane East Peoria, IL 61611-1299
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Contact: The individual facility or service line, listed here: http://www.osfhealthcare.org/facilities/ Or, Billing and Charity Assistance: OSF Patient Accounts & Access Center at (309) 683-6750 or toll-free at (800) 421-5700 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
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