Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Carthusian Nun and the Use of the Maniple and Stole for Professions

Continuing our look at some of the unique vestural customs and items to be found in the Church, this one was inspired by a wonderful book that an Oratorian friend showed to me. It explains the rather unique custom of Carthusian nuns in relation to the occasional use of the stole and maniple (though worn on the right arm, instead of the left as is the case with its normal usage by clerics).

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"The Carthusian nuns have retained the privilege of the consecration of virgins, which they have inherited from the nuns of Prébayon. The consecration, which is given four years after the vows are taken, can only be conferred by the diocesan. The rite differs but slightly from that given in the "Pontifical". The nun is invested with a crown, ring, stole and maniple, the last being worn on the right arm. These ornaments the nun only wears again on the day of her monastic jubilee, and after her death on her bier. It is a consecrated nun who sings the Epistle at the conventual Mass, though without wearing the maniple."

Evidently, it should go without saying that this must be understood in the light of a time where secular principles about what constitutes "gender equality" where not the same, nor where there was any animus against the Apostolic Tradition of the reservation of the priesthood to men.

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