The first time I learned of the word “Fashionista” was back in the days of the Catholic Online Forum, when staffers Dawn and Gayle (who made the best, the most beautiful rosaries I’ve ever seen – RIP and prayers for her) went at it.
Let’s just say that Fashionista.com isn’t one I’ve bookmarked. However, someone sent me a link to a story about Catholic “millennials”:
WHY MILLENNIAL CATHOLICS ARE RE-ADOPTING THE TRADITIONAL CHAPEL VEIL
A growing group of young Catholic women are choosing to cover their heads in church.
When former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Leah Darrow first encountered young women in her Catholic community putting lace veils on their heads when entering church, she was a little weirded out. Having returned to the faith after a mystical experience on a magazine photo shoot [all those flashes?] convinced her to leave modeling behind, Darrow was serious about Catholicism — but wary of a practice she considered outdated at best.
“I was like, ‘Is somebody making you do this? What’s it about?'” Darrow says over the phone.
Since the practice of women covering their heads in Catholic worship spaces used to be the norm, but was largely abandoned by the ’60s, Darrow was uncertain as to what women covering their heads might signify in the 2010s. But the fact that the veil-wearing peers in question were “normal girls you could have a glass of wine with, but also very faithful” gave Darrow pause.
“There was something attractive to me about the life that they lived and how they prayed,” Darrow says. After researching more about the history and significance of veiling in the Catholic tradition, Darrow decided to try it herself. “I’m definitely a girly girl, so wearing a pretty veil sounded kind of fun,” she laughs.
Though Darrow didn’t start wearing a veil to mass every week, she did come to a new appreciation for the practice and now regularly brings a head covering on her visits to Rome, where she leads pilgrimages at least once a year. Her travels as a Catholic speaker and book author have convinced Darrow that veils are experiencing a renaissance amongst Catholic women — especially young American ones. [Wait ’til she discovers the TLM.]
“There’s a new uprising in the Church of millennials who are actually wanting a more traditional take on their faith,” she says. This poses a striking contrast to Protestant mega-churches that are leveraging streetwear and celebrity connections to stay relevant.
Samantha Skinner, a high school science teacher in North Dakota, is one Catholic millennial interested in a return to tradition. Raised loosely Protestant but not a regular church attendee until she converted to Catholicism in college, Skinner began wearing a veil to mass every week before she’d even completed the classes necessary to formalize her conversion. A conversation with a friend who worked in a “holy bookstore” convinced Skinner to try the practice for herself.
“It just kind of resonated with me,” she says on the phone. For Skinner, the appeal of veiling was initially an emotional one: It made her feel humbled and reverent, like removing a hat during the national anthem or at a funeral might, [which men do, but not women] and made her more able to focus on prayer.