“The professed wear a white dress with a blue sash and black veil: they wear a crucifix with a chain around their neck. The professed of perpetuals also wear the ring. ” (Cost. 86)
“The habit is the most obvious outward sign of our religious status and of our Congregation.” (Cost. 87)

The dress is an anthropological element of great importance, so much so that it is a cultural feature and of the evolution of civilization of entire regions and populations.

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In religious life, the habit became important when organized forms of consecrated life were born. But already St. Cyprian, bishop of Carthage, in his work THE DISCIPLINE OF THE VIRGINS writes: “Continence and chastity do not consist only in keeping one’s own flesh intact, but also in the decorous modesty of dressing and dressing, so that, according to the Apostle said, she who abstained from marriage should be kept immaculate in body and spirit. “

The controversies regarding the religious habit are not in vain: history, sociology, psychology and theology find in them a field of interesting research and history teaches that the constant values ​​in the tradition of the religious habit are simplicity, poverty and modesty.

The dress of the Daughters of St. Maria di Leuca, which in the Directory is called “simple and decent” (Dir.71) is therefore faithful to this constant tradition.

That this is not a secondary thing is also proven by the fact that the Second Vatican Council itself speaks of it in its directives on religious renewal, albeit with a simple affirmation, but of great significance: “The religious habit is a sign of religious consecration. ” (PC 17)

Thus it is highlighted that the religious habit is also an expression of a doctrine: that is, of the way of conceiving religious life concretely and of its role in the society in which religious live.

The habit does not make the monk, they say; but the habit expresses what the monk is.

The habit as such, and therefore also the religious habit, has a strong communicative value and if religious life has a valid message for the contemporary world, it sees it transmitted also through the clothing of its adherents.

It also expresses the wisdom and moderation of the Founders: not the ambiguity or whimsy of fashion, but not even the anachronism that would make religious life appear as a relic of the past.

The Foundress of the Daughters of St. Maria di Leuca has shown that she possesses such wisdom and moderation, because in the fifty years of the Congregation’s life only a few minor adjustments have been made to the original habit, dictated by practical needs.

Faithful to traditional canons and attentive to the inspiration of her charisma, the Mother Elisa Foundation has designed a dress for her daughters that is clearly inspired by what St. Bernadette reported on the apparitions of the Mother of God in the Massabielle grotto: “a white dress tightened by a blue ribbon “(Laurentin, Vie de Bernardette, page 58)

Religious clothes “also express a theology” and therefore the Daughters of St. Maria di Leuca also give their habit the meaning of “putting on Christ”. That is, they apply, by analogy, what the Apostle Paul repeatedly writes about life in the Spirit: as if Mary, the Immaculate Conception, addressed to them the invitation: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and do not follow the flesh in your desires” (Rom 13.14). “You must renew yourselves in the spirit of your mind and put on the new man, created according to God in true justice and holiness” (Eph 4: 23-24). “Clothe yourselves therefore as loved by God, holy and beloved, with sentiments of mercy, goodness, humility, meekness, patience” (Col 3.12).


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Throughout the Mediterranean area and in the Bible itself, the veil expresses a particular consecration to divinity.

The black veil that completes the dress of the Daughters of St. Maria di Leuca is, as in all tradition, a sign of the renunciation of vanity and of virginal consecration. Saint Paul speaks of the “helmet of salvation” to be worn together with all the spiritual armor to defend oneself from the Evil One. Because the veil is given to them of their entrustment to Mary: she who triumphed over the Evil One with her immaculate conception.

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