Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Habits, Good and Bad

A question that I aways seem to get asked, and even more so while in Mexico is; "Why don't you wear a habit?" Glenmary Home Missioners is a Religious Society of missioners with both priests and brothers but we don't wear a distinctive habit. I think that habits can be a good thing and in particular as those who wear them give a strong witness to the Gospel values. Glenmary is not against that but wearing habit has never been a part of our tradition. I think the main reason is that we go and serve in the rural mission areas and for all the good habits can bring they also can present challenges. In areas where the majority of the community 99% are NOT catholic and there is often STRONG anti-catholic sentiment a habit can serve as a barrier or wall between us and the people we meet. In these areas we try to reach out to everyone in the community and by presenting ourselves as standing apart or being so different we might alienate ourselves more than we are reaching out. Therefore Glenmary does not have a distinctive garb. Most of our members dress very simply, similar to the people where we serve and hopefully all of our actions serve as an example of the Gospel values we are trying to promote.

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