The Provincial Archives receives many questions concerning the Daughters of Charity’s traditional habit. Our new exhibit, “Swan Song”, opening today, will look back at the 1964 change from the 17th century “cornette” habit.
We recently received this question concerning the habit, and thought it would be a good one to address here. The question was:
“if not wearing the habit what else can you wear as daughter of charity?”
The short answer is, the Daughters of Charity DO still wear a habit. Since 1964, when the habit was first changed, it has been modified numerous times, and continues to be modified in order to adapt to the circumstances of the Sisters’ ministry of service to the poor.
One thing about the Sisters’ attire which has not changed is the color scheme, blue and white, which is a symbol of the Community’s devotion to the Virgin Mary. However, today’s attire allows for much more variation than was the case in the years of the cornette habit. This story from the Province of St. Louise’s website, about the Sisters’ recently-completed Provincial Assembly, includes a picture of the Sisters who attended the Assembly. You will see in the picture the many different ways the current habit can be worn.
4 responses to “Do the Daughters of Charity still wear a habit?”
Is the exhibit open to the public? I would love to visit and see the exhibit.
The exhibit is open to the public on Wednesday afternoons, 1:00 to 4:30 PM
Vincent De Paul was insistent that rach Daughter of Charity have the same dress code. Never understood how they moved away from his position on uniformity.
You are correct – Vincent and Louise wanted the Sisters to dress the same way. They never intended for the cornette to take on the appearance it eventually did. The change in the cornette’s appearance began after Vincent and Louise’s death and it evolved gradually over centuries. When the habit changed in the 1960s, the entire worldwide community changed, and the habit they adopted was uniform throughout the world. The continuing simplification of the habit means less uniformity, true, but it does conform to another idea important to Vincent: blending in with the people the Sisters are serving.