On this matter, the current regulations of the Church say: "Religious must wear the habit of their institute, made in accordance with the norm of proper law, as a sign of their consecration and witness of poverty" (Canon 669). This short canonical text provides answers to the frequent questions that lay people ask religious: Why do they wear a habit? Why does everyone dress the same? always with the same as if they had no other clothes. What is the meaning of the habit?

The Canon Law of the Catholic Church, after marking for the religious the obligation to wear a habit, notes the double purpose of its use.

First, habit is a sign of consecration to God. And a sign, to fulfill its function, must be visible and clear, in such a way that it gives us to understand the reality that is behind or beyond it. Therefore, a person with a religious habit, with the naked eye and with only his presence, evokes God and his primacy in the life of man; because although we are not always aware of this truth, we all belong to Him because we are our God and Lord, our Creator and Redeemer. He himself has consecrated us to himself through baptism. The people consecrated through a specific vocation, what they want is to bring radicality to the same baptismal consecration and remind us, with the sign of habit, that we belong completely to God.






Second, the canon quoted above affirms that the habit is a testimony to poverty. And so, it is in reality, in the midst of today's consumerist society, where most people invest not a few resources - energy, time and money - in the desire to get dressed; mainly those who like to show off their external appearance to the maximum and be fashionable.

A religious can and should walk presentable and worthily groomed, provided he maintains a style of simplicity and poverty, opposed to the imbalance of vanity and luxury. The religious faithful to his commitment, does not have to worry about how he will dress every day of the week, what "fashion suits him", how he will combine the many or little clothes he has or, in short: what accessories or makeup fit for each chance. This fact gives his life a special touch of simplicity and freedom that helps him to be available for the service of others and favors equality among the members of the religious family, (regardless of the social stratum from which each one comes), where the rich do not exist who dress luxuriously, while the poor do not have anything to buy or the essentials. This beautiful ideal is tangible, palpable, when all the members of a community live with joy the commitment acquired on the day of their consecration through the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.

The religious habits before the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), in their majority were more complex than the current ones, but one of the aspects that the Council itself in its decree "Perfectae Caritatis" asked the religious to renew, was precisely this of habit, saying: “The religious habit, as a sign of consecration, is simple and modest, poor as well as decent, which also adapts to the demands of health and the circumstances of time and place and accommodates to the needs of the ministry. The habit, for both men and women, that does not conform to these standards, must be changed.” (PC 17)




This is the reason why many Congregations have modified their habit, making it more functional and simpler, so that the religious can carry it on a daily basis, not only in extraordinary liturgical ceremonies. But, even so, it is often not used, since in Mexico we still carry the aftermath of the persecution against the Church, of several decades of the last century, when the public use of cassock and habit was prohibited; ("The typhus passed and we got the idea"). So the Congregations, especially those of active life, unlike those of contemplative life (the nuns), invented dresses or uniforms (very different from the habits) to wear on the street and in public places where they exercised their apostolate. This custom has dragged on to this day, even though there is already greater religious freedom in our Country.








The habit of MSCGpe

The religious habit and particularly the habit of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and of Santa María de Guadalupe, also has its own history; Let's see the most significant moments in the history of our habit and its transformations up to the present moment.

Our Founding Mother, the Servant of God Maria Amada, did not wait for the Work to have "all the law" to teach its religious the experience of their consecration with the same seriousness and formality as if they had ecclesiastical approval, since the covenant is made with God. Furthermore, the Church could not approve them just for presenting beautiful Constitutions, but for the experience of living that norm of life as a way of holiness in following Christ.

That is why, as early as 1933, the first generation of sisters who started the formative stage of the novitiate, used a habit, although very simple, since it consisted of a black dress or tunic up to the ankles, a black and short cape, up to the middle of the back; a simple veil, a crucifix hung around the neck with a chain and a Rosary hanging from the belt. Having a habit at this stage was very important for the sisters, since in most of the Congregations, the habit was received at the initiation ceremony of the novitiate, which was given much relevance; So much so that the sisters entered the chapel dressed as a bride, in all the wedding attire, and went out as devoted novices in the religious habit. In fact, when referring to the date of this event, it was mentioned as “the taking of the habit”, and not: “the beginning of the novitiate”. After the Council this custom fell into disuse, since the habit is received until the moment of religious profession, which is when a formal commitment is actually made before the Church when pronouncing the vows.




On June 28, 1935, the first 28 sisters who made their religious profession at the end of their novitiate, put on a more formal habit, because in addition to the black robe, they wore a scapular of the same color and size; and he looked over at the center, at the height of the chest, a crown of thorns embroidered in white, in the middle of which stood the monogram: JHS, which means originally: Jesus Man Savior; although it has also been interpreted: Jesus Holy Host in Spanish. These letters ended in a crown and at the bottom they had a heart. In addition, this habit already included a double veil and headdress. The headdress is a kind of hat that covers the head, part of the cheeks and the neck, made of linen and on which the veil is fastened.







In the early 1940s, the habit was changed to another in an ankle-length wool tunic, cream in color, with well-marked pleats or pastries and wide sleeves. The tunic was gathered with a cherry color cloth belt, from which hung a band eight or ten centimeters wide, the same color as the belt; and on the right side they held the black rosary of fifteen mysteries and large beads. For the head it was a more elaborate headdress than that of the previous habit and two veils: one long for liturgical ceremonies and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and another short to wear during the day. On the beige scapular like the robe and of the same height, they carried a hand-embroidered shield, with the following symbolism: a heart surrounded by flames and rays, with the signs of the Passion of Our Lord, such as: the cross, the thorns and wound and blood drops; also a crown over the heart. Around this symbolism, in the form of a circle, had the inscription: Heart of Jesus Your Kingdom come to us. In addition, this habit wore an elegant layer of wool, also cherry color, that fell to the height of the robe.

Around 1944, on the shield, the size of the heart, which was somewhat bulky, was reduced from 9 centimeters to only 3 or 4 centimeters, in a simple embroidery; and the words surrounding the shield were changed to Latin: SISTE COR IESU MECUM EST, at the top; and below: COR IESU, VENI REGNA. Ten years later, the cloth belt was changed to a leather one.










This habit will later undergo some modifications only in secondary details, keeping its style until the seventies. With the post-conciliar aggiornamento (adaptation, updating, updating ...), in 1971, the habit was significantly transformed to make it simple and functional, as well as modest, as required by the regulations. The changes were: waist tunic and skirt with two planks in front and back, fabric the same color as before but simpler and more economical; reduction in measurements (about 10 centimeters above the ankle, normal sleeves), no touch, just a veil. On the tunic half scapular tight around the waist and with a white collar. On the scapular, the same shield will continue to be shown at chest level, but now with the inscription in Spanish: LOVE AND REPAIR. HEART OF JESUS COME AND REIGN.






Finally, the last modification was made in the Ordinary General Chapter of the year 2005. In general, it was kept in style, only changes were made to the design: simple tunic without planks, full scapular and slightly girded at the waist. The shield remains the same, hand embroidered.





Habit Shield

As we already mentioned, since 1940, the MSCGpe, have been wearing in habit a shield with the symbol of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which to this day retains the essentials, since the changes that have been made to it are secondary. 

The shield of our religious habit expresses, through the motto and all its symbolism, a synthesis of the charism and spirituality of our Congregation, and therefore that of each of its religious persons. It is made up of an embroidered heart in shades of red, which bears an open wound, from which 3 drops of blood flow; around his heart is a crown of thorns; from the upper part of it, flames of fire sprout; a cross stands out above the flames and above it is a royal crown; Rays of light are emitted from the heart. Around it is embroidered the motto: Heart of Jesus, come and reign; love and reparation.



Each of the elements that comprise it are explained below:

  • Heart: Universal symbol of love, which in this case, that of God is the culmination of divine and human love. “Engrave me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your bow, because love is strong as death; Inflexible as the abyss is jealousy. His arrows are arrows of fire, his flames, flames of the Lord.” (Song of Solomon 8, 6)
  • Wound: It means, in the phrase of Saint Augustine, that the Divine Heart has wanted to remain open to serve as a refuge in life and at the hour of death.
  • Drops of blood: express the dedication of the Savior, complete and absolute, who spared not a drop of his blood to save us. "One of the soldiers pierced his side with the spear, and immediately blood and water gushed out." (Jn. 19, 34)
  • Crown of Thorns: It symbolizes the humiliation that was the object of our love and invites us to imitate it in its life of humility, self-denial and sacrifice. “The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They covered him with a red cloak.” (Jn. 19, 2)
  • Flames of fire: Represents the fire of his infinite love, with which he longs to embrace the hearts of all men. "I have come to bring fire to the world and how much I wish it was already burning" (Lk. 12, 49).
  • Cross: it was the instrument by which Christ redeemed us, proof of the great love that moved him to suffer for us, dying on it to redeem us; and invites us to carry our own cross at his example. "Whoever wants to follow me, renounce himself, carry his cross and follow me." (Mt. 16, 24)
  • Crown: It tells us about the universal royalty of Jesus Christ and that it symbolizes the reign of the Heart of Jesus Queen in our hearts and in the whole world. "Jesus replied, «My royalty is not of this world. If my royalty were out of this world, those in my service would have fought so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But my royalty is not from here». Pilate said to him, "Then you are king." Jesus answered: «You say it: I am a king. For this I was born, and I have come into the world: to bear witness to the truth. He who is of the truth listens to my voice»”. (Jn. 18, 36-37)
  • Rays of light: They represent the light that gives off the Heart of Jesus and illuminate our lives. "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (Jn. 8, 14); He asks us to follow in his footsteps and we too are to be light with our way of living: “You are the light of the world. A city situated on top of a hill cannot be hidden. Nor does a lamp light up and they put it under the bushel, but on the candlestick, so that it lights up everyone in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Mt. 5, 14-16)


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