Thursday, March 31, 2011

OMS #10

Cuculla, koo-koo'-la, or monastic choir robe is in the same family as a cowl--a hooded cloak with wide sleeves. White ones were worn by Cistercians, black by Benedictines. They were initiated in the Middle Ages, probably for warmth for long hours in unheated and drafty churches and chapels.

Our sisters received their cuculla at the time of final profession of vows and wore it for special occasions--feast day liturgies, for instance. They had the wide sleeves, but were hoodless. In the early 1960s they stopped being worn in our community, though I know of at least one US community who still uses them.

The word I received from some who wore them (over their habits) was that they made events quite warm, especially in the summer!

Prayer shawls are actually quite popular these days. This one can be ordered from

And here's another member of the family of this type of clothing: a cappa magna, a ceremonial train usually worn by a cardinal.

I doubt that carries these.

Well, this ends my little winter diversion called Old Monastic Stuff (OMS). I certainly enjoyed finding things that I hoped would be of as much interest to you as they were to me. Spring is (slowly) arriving in Erie and our activities are picking up a pace so I'll be turning my attention back to weekly doings that come my way. Thanks for all the encouragement, especially with this feature, OMS.