Why Wear A Veil?

Where does the practice of veiling come from?

The Christian tradition of veiling for women goes back a long way in Catholic history. It is also a custom that has an apostolic root as proclaimed by St. Paul. In the Old Testament, the Israelite women veiled for their modesty and to protect their dignity.  In the New Testament, St. Paul explains that the practice of veiling for women is an outward sign of her reverence for God as her ultimate authority (1 Corinthians 11:1-16).

It is a practice befitting for women, to reflect the mystery of God’s creation of woman in relation to man, and of the Church in Her mystical relationship to Christ, Her Bridegroom. Traditionally, a man does not veil his head for he is the image of Christ, who was incarnated as a man. On the other hand, a woman is the image of the Church and she veils herself to represent the Bride, who Christ has come to sanctify.

Who might we look to for the perfect model of woman as the image of the Church? St. Pope John Paul II writes in his 1988 apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem (The Dignity and Vocation of Women), that “Mary is the model and icon of the Church.” Therefore, in the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, may we find confidence and hope, as we contemplate on her Immaculate Heart and lean into her perfected womanhood as our friend, sister and Mother.    

Why wear a chapel veil today?

The mantilla or chapel veil is becoming more and more popular in our modern times. It is a uniquely feminine devotion, and today, many women choose to wear a mantilla as a sign of reverence and humility in front of the Blessed Sacrament during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration.

Perhaps you’ll notice too, that the most sacred things in the Church are veiled! The Body of Christ is often veiled inside the Tabernacle by a white curtain or liturgical fabric. The Blood of Christ in the wine is held hidden by the chalice. Likewise, we as daughters of God also share in this image of a sacred vessel – for the wombs of women are hidden sacred spaces, which nurture and nourish new life. Indeed, the most sacred womb of Our Lady, Mother of God, held Christ Himself for the first nine months of His Life on earth.

Finally, to finish on a more personal and practical note, I’ve found veiling has helped me immensely in increasing my focus on the Lord during Holy Mass! It has helped in more indirect ways too, by gradually improving my prayer life, and developing a keener sense of modesty and reverence. Over time, it has increased my sensitivity towards God and is still continuing to transform me as a woman today.  

I hope that you will enjoy veiling more and more just as I have. If you have some personal stories about veiling that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them! You can email me at filiadeiveils@gmail.com.

May this little humble practice bring you many blessings beyond your imaginings and most of all, bring you closer to the Heart of Christ!

In Him, with love,
Jane Mary-Gianna