Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Habits in the Making

First a Note: The small but none the less faithful audience for this blog must be waiting for an update of our relocation situation. Frankly the process was so demanding and arduous that we've been taking time to catch our breath. Small updates appear every few days on our Facebook Page "Redemptoristine Nuns of Esopus". One of the things that has to be figured out is how to change that name! In the meantime...someone asked on Facebook for pictures of Redemptorist habits. That was easy to do.

The "Habit Work" of the Redemptoristines

Almost complete - only sleeves need to be sewn on
When the Redemptoristines first came to the Mount St. Alphonsus in 1957 their remunerative work was to be sewing habits for the many professors and seminarians. Brothers who were expert in this work taught them how to make the habits. One of the brothers had been trained as a tailor of German military uniforms. Over time each sister took a turn  working in the  habit department. When the seminary closed this work could no longer provide adequate income. Then the community began to make capes for the Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre.
Detail of side poket flap and sleeve button holes
Note top stitching in both
Still we are very attached to providing this service to our Redemptorist brothers. Sr. Paula is the master of the craft providing expert measuring, establishing proper patterns for fit, cutting and putting it all together. Sr. Mary Anne taught me how to make the stiff collars (machine belting)  complete with hidden hooks and loops and insert them by hand. This process takes about an hour and a half. Often I do the sleeves with their faced cuff and lapped button closure.
Collar put in by hand just yesterday
Note hidden hooks and loops as well as
collar extension that gives a bit more neck
room after a good meal

It gives us great pleasure to see a Redemptorist wearing one of our habits, especially if it fits well. Even Archbishop Tobin and Father General wear our habits. But it is such fun to meet and measure those men about to profess vows. It feels as if we too are sending them on their way attired in a new habit and accompanied by our prayers.

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