What is Veiling Really All About?

This post is sponsored by Tami and Love to Veil. I reached out to her, and she sent me a gorgeous veil in exchange for an honest review.

For the longest time, I didn’t veil.

I never felt called, attracted, or even pressured into veiling.

And I even grew up in a parish where I was exposed to veiling. It wasn’t necessarily the mainstream, but you could expect to see a few women and children wearing veils at Mass.

But then something changed.

A Quick Note About our sponsor: Love to Veil

Tami, creator of Love to Veil sent me a gorgeous infinity veil, in exchange for an honest review.

You know, as always, I only review things that I absolutely love. And I LOVE Tami’s beautiful work.

You can find Love to Veil on:

When you’re done reading about the whys of veiling, make sure you scroll down to the bottom of this post to learn more about my experience with Love to Veil’s amazing work!

Why and How I started Veiling

In the Spring of 2018, our family moved across and out of State.

We settled in a beautiful little town, and began attending Mass at the parish 3 minutes from our house. We spent a year there, where although the community was kind and the priests were amazing, we lived as outsiders.

Homeschoolers like us were nowhere to be found.

Then one day, the homeschoolers found us.

A visiting CFR priest pegged us as homeschoolers at first sight (are we really that easy to spot?!)

He exclaimed, “You have to meet my homeschool friends?!”

I was craving community, so I took him up at his invitation. And everything just rolled from there.

We began attending First Saturdays, we joined a homeschool group, we changed parishes —

— And our new parish had a Latin Mass.

I didn’t even know the Latin Mass was available around here!

So, out of curiosity and a desire to get in touch with the traditions of the Church, we began to attend it every other week.

My daughters immediately noticed that all the women were wearing “beautiful veils” on their heads. And suddenly, they wanted to veil, too.

Week after week, they asked me to buy them veils.

Recognizing that they were serious, and something was stirring in their hearts, I let them pick out their own veils, and purchased them as gifts.

But I didn’t buy one for myself yet! I wanted to let my girls take the initiative and follow their hearts where God was leading them.

And I didn’t want to start veiling just because everybody else was doing it.

If I were going to embrace a new tradition, I wanted it to be because it meant something to me.

But then, as I witnessed my girls veiling – not just when we attended the Latin Mass, but also at the English Mass (where other women can be seen veiling, too) – I became more and more intrigued.

And I began to look into what veiling really means.

The Significance of the Veil

What things do we cover with a veil?

If we look back in the Old Testament, God instructs Moses to make a sanctuary – a place where he can dwell in their midst.

And he gave them very specific directions about how to do so.

Included in the sanctuary was the “Holy of Holies.” Whenever the Bible uses this format (Holy of Holies, God of Gods, King of Kings, etc.), that’s the equivalent of using the superlative – saying it’s the best, most, or highest.

So the Holy of Holies is the holiest place.

God instructed Moses to craft a beautiful veil to hang in the sanctuary. The veil “shall separate for you the holy place from the most holy” (Exodus 26: 33).

And within the Holy of Holies, the separation of which is created by the veil, would be housed the Ark of the Covenant, where “I will meet with you… [and] speak with you of all that I will give you.”

So, if we look way back to the origins of the veil, it was used to cover the holiest of places, the holiest of things. It separates them from the regular holy things. It’s a place where God dwells in a special way, a place where his life (more on this later) is present.

And then, when the temple was built in Jerusalem – a permanent location for the sanctuary, again a veil was crafted and hung to separate the Holy of Holies (2 Chronicles 3:10-14).

Then, in the New Testament, when Christ comes and fulfills all the prophecies of the Old Testament – something extraordinary happens.

At the moment of Jesus’ death on the Cross, “the curtain [veil] of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:51).

This is significant. The veil wasn’t just a thin little veil, like we might think – made of lace or some other sheer fabric. It was a huge thick curtain – almost like a tapestry. There was no easy physical way to rip it.

So some supernatural force tore this veil in two – and that has significance.

Among many other things that the tearing of the veil symbolizes, is that the Temple was no longer the holiest place. There is a new holiest place where we encounter God.

And that’s Jesus – the Jesus who died and rose again from the dead – and especially his presence in the Eucharist.

The Eucharist is as close to heaven as we get in this life.

That’s why we cover our tabernacles in Catholic churches with a veil. Because that is the new Holy of Holies.

That’s the place where God literally dwells on earth. Jesus reposes there, present to us.

Now, when women decide to veil, it’s not because we’re somehow less than, and we have to cover ourselves up in shame.

Nope.

The veil signifies the holiest of holy things.

And women, in a special way, are a reflection of God and his dwelling place, we are a reflection of the Holy of Holies.

Which brings me to…

Is Veiling an Issue of Modesty?

Yes.

But not in the way you might think.

As I mentioned, wearing a veil is not a symbol of shame, or being less-than. It’s not an issue of modesty in the sense that women have to “cover up” because of indecency, or because somehow their uncovered hair will tempt men to lust during Mass (I’ve actually heard that one).

In the Church’s tradition, veils are an indication of the holiest of holy things.

So when women place a veil upon their heads, the veil is speaking to something holy within them – the presence of God.

In a way that men never can, women are vessels of life.

The tabernacle, as we mentioned, is a place where Jesus is truly and physically present and alive here on earth.

The Holy of Holies in the Old Testament was the place where God lived – where he became present to the Jewish people.

The womb of a woman is a reflection of this chamber of life.

Her body was created in a way to be a vessel of life, where new life, a beautiful soul, can grow and be nurtured.

The most holy womb is the womb of the Virgin Mary – her womb WAS a living tabernacle! It housed Jesus for 9 months until his birth!

And, as science now tells us, when a child is born, the child leaves behind some of its cells in its mother’s body – which remain there permanently!

So Mary continued to be a living tabernacle for Christ – throughout her whole life, and speculatively in her glorified body as well.

Notice that Mary is always depicted wearing a veil, symbolizing the holy tabernacle of God she is – we even call her the Ark of the New Covenant!

Like Mary, though our wombs do not hold the Christ child, and some women will never grow a child within them, the very design of a woman’s body is reflective of the Holy of Holies.

Her body is a sacred space.

And that’s the essence of modesty.

Modesty, according to Fr. Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary, is

“The virtue that moderates all the internal and external movements and appearance of a person according to his or her endowments, possessions, and station in life. Four virtues are commonly included under modesty: humility, studiousness, and two kinds of external modesty, namely in dress and general behavior.”

Fr. Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary

I want to highlight the part of this definition that mentions humility.

Humility is not self-deprecation, but rather the true knowledge of one’s worth – and of all our strengths, gifts, and even our weaknesses.

Mary, the most humble of all, sings, “all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me” (Luke 1:48-49).

To be truly modest, we don’t act in a way that demeans our worth.

We act in a way that humbly acknowledges our great worth before God, and upholds that worth.

I see veiling as an act of modesty because it acknowledges that a woman’s body is a beautiful, holy, and sacred place. And the act of placing a veil over something is a symbolic act of honoring that thing’s holiness.

We don’t cover our heads with a veil because of shame, we veil in acknowledgement of our precious worth as a woman made in the image of God.

That’s what we mean when we say that veiling is an act of humility, and modesty.

My daughters and I have conversations about modesty in dress and what that means.

One daughter has asked me (at the beautiful young age of 6) why it is that girls cover their chests and their tummies when they dress, but boys don’t.

And I explained to her, that modesty means giving the highest respect to the most important parts of your body.

When a girl grows up to be a woman, her chest develops in such a way that her breasts are designed to give food and life to any babies she might have.

And her tummy holds her womb, the place where a baby might live and grow.

And even in a baby never grows there, the design of those parts of her body are beautiful and miraculous.

And in the same way, I make sure my children know that the private parts that boys and girls both cover are an integral and important part of the way God created us for life – as man and woman, male and female.

We don’t cover our body out of shame.

We cover it out of respect, and the knowledge that our bodies are created to give life, as reflections of God – the source of all life.

In a similar way, veiling for women is a special sign that her body – as unique and set apart from a man’s body – reveals the sacred mystery of bringing new life into the world. Her body is a vessel that holds, or is capable of holding, growing, and nurturing life.

It’s a reflection of a living tabernacle, of the Holy of Holies.

I consider it a privilege and an honor to be veiled in the sanctuary.

Are We Called to Veil?

When I decided to veil, I did so because I suddenly fell in love with a tradition I had never previously understood.

But I wouldn’t necessarily label it a calling or a vocation.

As we know, veiling is an optional tradition. It’s beautiful and rich in meaning, like all traditions of the Holy Catholic Church, but it is optional.

A woman may decide to veil – or decide not to veil.

Neither choice makes her any more or less worthy in God’s eyes.

Just like the choices to wear pants or skirts, to pray the Rosary or Divine Liturgy, to wear a Scapular or say Novenas.

They are all beautiful, but they are all optional. That doesn’t mean they’re insignificant or unimportant! But they are not necessary to be a “good” Catholic.

Veiling is a choice.

It’s a choice to embrace a tradition in which we find beauty, meaning, and a stronger connection to God.

But it’s not a choice that we can or even should push on others.

I feel blessed to be in a community in which I was never shamed or pressured or even encouraged to veil.

In fact, I think that if someone told me I should veil, I would have immediately felt opposed to it – as if veiling were some sort of mark of holiness or piety, and that without it, I wasn’t good enough.

So, just know, I’m not here to tell you that every woman has to veil, or that God calls women to veiling.

I don’t want you to feel shamed or less than in any way.

I just desire to share the meaning behind the tradition, and the reasons I embrace it – in case you’re interested in learning more!

And I definitely want to introduce you to my friend, Tami, who is the maker of the veils my girls and I wear.

Meet Tami, creator of Love to Veil

When my girls decided to veil, they wanted pink and purple veils (of course).

I searched the internet for pink or purple veils, and found them at Love to Veil, an Etsy shop run by Tami, a homeschooling mom of many.

I purchased one for each of my daughters (I believe her purple veils are sold out right now – but she has an amazing selection of veils for young girls!) and loved them right from the start.

Each of Tami’s veils is handcrafted with love.

And they come with a tiny sewn-in hair clip, to keep the veil secure on your head!

This is a saving grace because my 4 year old is a squirmy worm and her veil is constantly sideways on her head. Without the clip, I doubt her veil would stay on more than a few seconds.

When I decided to take the leap and begin veiling, myself, I reached out to Tami to inquire if she was interested in a partnership!

Reaching out to her was the right choice.

She helped me choose the perfect veil – and chatting with her was like shopping with a girlfriend!

She asked me my preferences, sent me many photos of different options, and talked me through her favorite features of different styles, fabric choices, and color options.

At one point, she even told me she could make a veil out of almost any fabric in any style – her willingness to customize touched my heart!

I had such a fun time messaging her back and forth, discovering the perfect veil.

In the end, Tami helped me select this soft, taupe, infinity veil – complete with a sewn in clip, just like the veil my girls wear!

The clip was definitely a selling point for me – as one of my hesitations to veiling was that my active one year old would constantly pull the veil off my head, resulting in more distraction and less reverence.

But, his little one year old plans are foiled!

With the clip, the veil stays secure on my head, despite his squirmy grabby hands.

When I started veiling, I felt a bit awkward, for sure, but the fact that I was no longer an outlier in a veiling community, combined with my awakening to the significance of the veil, trumped the akwardness.

Veiling quickly helped me feel closer to Jesus, more in touch with the sacred space that our church – the house of God – is. It helped me be more focused on the tabernacle, covered with a veil like my own head was. And it helped me recognize my own dignity and value as a woman created in God’s image.

I love my veil from Love to Veil.

It’s soft. The neutral color goes with almost any outfit in my closet (not that that’s the most important factor – but it’s a nice bonus!). And the infinity style helps me feel wrapped in God’s love.

I’m so happy to share Tami’s shop, Love to Veil, with you.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of veiling, and the significance behind it, go browse her shop. Maybe even send her a message, and she can help you discover the perfect veil just for you.

Please Shop Love to Veil!

You can find Love to Veil on:

Thank you, Tami, for introducing me and my family to the beauty behind the tradition of veiling!

3 thoughts on “What is Veiling Really All About?

  1. I LOVE this article on veiling and I would love to but…about five years ago a priest in our parish did not like veiling!
    He said the woman was showing off. That she wanted people to think she was holy and wore the veil because she felt superior in holiness than those who didn’t wear one.
    Although I know he is wrong, it still sticks in my mind.

    However I will now make a point of at least checking it out in our parish.
    Thanks for your articles, they are awesome!

    Like

  2. I felt called to “cover my head,” as I called it, when I lived in a parish in which practically nobody did it. In fact, when I talked about it to one of my fellow parishioners, she just about yelled at me not to do it, because it meant (she said) that women were inferior to men. But I still felt the call. So I crocheted my own veil. It’s in a Möbius strip, and it twists so that I can tie it in a knot that fits easily in my purse and have it handy whenever I happen to drop into my new parish’s church or adoration chapel. I love it!

    For me, it is all about humility in the face of God. It really helps keep me focused on Him. Catholicism is great on having the physical point to the spiritual, isn’t it?

    Like

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