By Sr. Claire Agnes, OES
Why have I chosen to veil and the process I went to, to decide what type of covering to use and how I feel since.
The thoughts and reactions I’ve received since veiling in particular are mixed. Some, in fact most seem indifferent to what I do. Others on the other hand say its ridiculous and they just don’t get it… and have even called it dangerous. While I understand their concern, I am far from dangerous.
The reason I chose to veil and dress modestly is because I feel called by the Divine to do so. It's an urge to do something I’ve never really had before and can’t really explain. I have heard many people say that you are in no way obligated to listen to these prompts from the Divine but I have chosen to do so. I feel it only appropriate to honor the Divine in the way it asks us to.
I have chosen to partially cover my hair using something similar to a kerchief or a hijab I am at present also wearing long sleeve shirts and pants. I will be changing my wardrobe as I am able. Since covering I feel more complete. I feel a sense of peace and calm that I am able to follow my heart. Although, I don’t fully understand why I am being asked to dress modestly, it brings me great joy to do so, but I must follow my heart.
I am not dangerous; I mean no harm. Veiling is just my expression of what I consider modesty to be. The fear my parents have, I think, is that people will assume I’m Muslim….. and because of the rise of Islamophobia in recent years the general public is afraid of anyone who is different. That is what I am, different. I don’t hide my differences, I embrace them. I love me for who I am.
Although, I understand there are risks and dangers to wearing different types of head coverings as I do… there really should be no difference between kerchiefs and hijab compared to the veil worn by Catholic nuns. Why is one accepted while the others are not?
As a society in the twenty- first century we should move towards inclusion, love and acceptance. This is even more true in a time filled with hate. We need to focus more on what brings us together not what tears us apart. When I first started doing research into veiling and beginning my practice, I didn’t see it as a statement or something dangerous. It was and is just something I feel called to do.
I consider myself blessed that I am able to wear my head covering or hijab as I choose and will work to help western society accept those who are different than what is considered status quo. Strive to be more. Break the mold. Be who you were before society told you who you had to be.
Reflections from the monks and nuns of OES.