The Thriller in Mantilla

Posted June 6, 2017 7:05 pm by Mrs McLean

The Thriller in Mantilla

After bragging about going to the TLM in a coin-sized fascinator, I felt guilty.

My mini-hat is a lovely wee object, but I’m worried it makes me look like the proverbial organ-grinder’s monkey and, besides, nobody else in my local TLM community wears a fascinator to Mass. One dashing young matron wears a smart pillbox, and there is a beret or two, and the Frenchwomen go bareheaded, but mostly the women and girls wear mantillas. The girls and maiden aunts wear white mantillas, and the married women wear black. Well, one married woman wears blue because she’s Italian and doesn’t want to look like the proverbial Italian widow. Me, I don’t want to stick out as the one woman at Mass wearing a fascinator, just as when at the NO, I don’t want to stick out as the one woman in a manilla.

The Sunday after my bragging, I noticed how pretty many of the mantillas are, but most of all, I was haunted by the private revelation of some girl on the FSSP Supporters Facebook page that her veil had found favour with the Lord. Yes, this was a complete stranger writing on the internet about a personal and private locution, but it made me think all the same.

 Is Our Lord and Saviour pleased when, out of respect for His presence in the monstrance or tabernacle, we women wear veils? I don’t know, but so far nobody has claimed it makes Him mad. Saint Paul, naturally, was all for them and, if this is the sort of thing saints think about in heaven, perhaps he still is. For a contemporary point of view, here’s what Raymond Cardinal Burke had to say on the matter. 

I am not sure my husband would care one way or the other what I wore on my head to Mass although he might find it odd if I deliberately stopped wearing anything on my head. And he did not kick up a fuss when I presented him with a bill and asked him to write a cheque for £30 to a mantilla maker.

For, lo, I looked online and discovered Zélie’s Roses. A Mrs D. of  Oxfordshire, England blogs there when she is not making “modest clothing, First Holy Communion wear, Wedding Dress, Mantillas and Veils”–and gorgeous altar frontals, too, it seems!  Here are some of her laces and designs. Oh, the pretty!

Making mantillas is not as easy as one might suppose, which I guessed thanks to attempts at making wedding veils. UGH. Not a good project for an indifferent seamstress. Therefore, I did not make the mistake of thinking I could do a mantilla on the cheap. No, no! I wrote to Mrs D about her current stock, and now I have a lovely  mantilla that looks rather like this, only black:

For some reason, I find the tiny label identifying the mantilla as the production of “Zélie’s Roses” rather thrilling. Perhaps it’s the thought of a Roman Catholic woman having her own little business making beautiful church-appropriate garments for whichever women care to wear them.

I love the idea of women running little businesses from their homes, and I very much admire the women who have the patience, talent and eyesight for fine sewing.

By the way, I wore my new mantilla on Saturday to confessions at the Cathedral, and afterwards I thought I perceived people staring at me although maybe this was because I was looking at them. Or because I looked incredibly beautiful and the women all suddenly wanted one of their own!

Update: The baby bonnets. THE BONNETS!

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