In this week's Catholic Standard, we read an article about an exhibit at the Smithsonian International Gallery on Catholic Sisters in America.
The exhibit is sponsored by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). You may have read about them here, but much more on them has been covered on Fr. Z's blog.
The author, Laura Wright, says the following:
Many of the older photographs depict sisters wearing habits, while the majority of the modern-day sisters are not wearing a habit. This is potentially misleading because of the large number of women religious who still don the habit.
How true this is and a good insight (congrats Ms. Wright).
The article goes on to say that Sr. Mary Dacy (former President of LCWR) stated "that the same number of people think the habit made it difficult to relate with the sisters." In addition, she later states that "the exhibit will help people realize some sisters don't wear habits anymore."
That is because most of the membership of LCWR is composed of sisters who do not wear habits. In fact, many of them do not even wear a religious symbol on their clothing. Further, many of the LCWR orders are not growing. The majority are shrinking. It is the orders who wear habits which are increasing. (Yes, it is not because of the habits but something much more.)
In fact, whenver I see a sister in a habit, I always make it a point of going over and asking if they are in need of assistance.