A friend of mine has great devotion to St. Michael, and heard that the ‘Old Mass’ had a lot of references to St. Michael.
At Mass, my friend wore her mantilla and was delighted with all the references to St. Michael. It was later (over the cups of tea) that a ‘discussion’ developed. My friend happily brought out her mantilla and passed it around to the others who were scoffing their scones and sipping lattes. She introduced her mantilla saying that her grandmother had worn a veil and that felt she was re-connecting with the faith of her fore-fathers. Then another girl who is about our age piped up,
‘But you know, you should not be wearing that mantilla. You can’t wear that mantilla. No.’ And it was a very emphatic ‘no’, as though she were correcting a small child.
‘How d’ya mean?’ my friend asked.
‘Well, it’s a black mantilla. Black mantillas are for married women only, they are not to be worn by single women. Single women wear white mantillas’ stated the other girl as though she were reading from a rule book.
I rudely jumped into the conversation, tried to remonstrate with the girl who was explaining that because she was unmarried that she only wore white head coverings.
‘But at Mass this morning, there were other girls who are single, and they wore black hats and black mantillas’ I said.
‘Well, they weren’t meant to!’ quipped the other girl. I was a bit taken aback at what happened next.
The other girl took up my friend’s mantilla and started examining it, before saying again,
‘yeah, this is only for married women’.
Then I asked the girl where she had heard about this white vs. black mantilla rule, to which she gave the name of a lay organisation within the church. We then proceeded to ‘debate’ which organisation said what about mantillas. Sigh. Major Groan. It was silly of me to agitate disagreement on which group said what about white mantillas, and which cabal said what about black mantillas. Afterwards, my friend said that she was quite confused about what to do, and why did certain ‘groups’ have certain opinions on mantillas?
I do know (only too well) that girls can be very vicious to one another. But it’s one thing to criticise a secular item of clothing, but to get prim and fussy when someone is making a big effort to wear a head covering out of respect, or to make an argument out of it…then I think a lot of pink-frosted lips should remain firmly closed. Starting with mine own.