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Amanda Lawrence shares her recent experience experimenting with chapel veils.

Some may be wondering: what’s a mantilla?

It’s a traditional Spanish shawl, liturgical lace, or silk veil worn over a woman’s head and shoulders. For many, the practice of covering one’s head in worship never left, while others view it as outdated. I know this can be controversial, but please bear with me as I’ve started using the lightweight sacramental veil as a new way of strengthening my relationship with God.

The Bible considers the ornamental covering a symbol of a woman’s subordination to God. The New Testament teaches the practice of concealing one’s head in the traditional interpretation of 1 Corinthians 11:2-10. Saint Paul elects to bring the coverings back into contemporary fashion, citing various reasons to convince others that “a woman should have a sign of authority on her head.”

The first time I saw someone use a mantilla was during Adoration at the tabernacle on Martha’s Vineyard. The young lady sat a few rows ahead of me, and I honestly didn’t understand why she was holding a veil over her head, but it instantly intrigued me. I want one, I thought to myself (and kept thinking).

I continued meditating on this, which eventually turned into a conviction.

Last December, I purchased a mantilla from Evintage Veils on Etsy to commemorate the feast day of Our Lady Guadalupe. It arrived just in time for evening Mass. I fell in love as soon as I set my eyes on it! Before entering the church, I put it on and all else melted away.

At the invitation of our sacristan, my son and I brought up the gifts that night. Some folks looked at me curiously, while others complimented my gorgeous veil afterward, knowing precisely what it meant.

“I’m bringing them back,” I explained. “Join me!”

I’m still alone in this endeavor in my parish, but I hope to change that!

There are many reasons women adopt the ancient practice of covering their heads in Holy Mass. Some rebellious spirits wish to embrace a more counter-cultural lifestyle and return to the “old ways” of the Church.

Other women want to imitate Our Lady’s example of shrouding what is most honored and sacred. Have you ever seen Mary without her head covered? I can’t say that I have. Mary’s veil is an outward sign of her devotion to the Lord. The garment conveys her humility and love for God as she conceals herself to redirect attention to Him.

We emulate Mary when we veil to show our reverence and submission to God.

And honestly, sometimes a mantilla hides a bad hair day or tear-streaked cheeks. They help a tired mom shut out distractions or superficial worries. Instead of feeling awkward, many women experience the serenity, femininity, and worthiness that often accompany donning the veil.

In a world where up is down, left is right, and everything is battling for our attention, veiling allows us to silence distractions and set our sights on God. Under the comfort of a soft, lovely shroud, we’re better able to focus on the Holy Sacrifice on the Altar. Additional benefits experienced include:

  • Spiritual Peace
  • Union with Christ
  • Detachment from the world
  • Resignation to the will of God




Click to tweet:
While women don't need to wear mantillas, I believe they’re a beautiful and effective way to show reverence for Christ. #CatholicMom

Veiling is a means of grace for me, another method of drawing closer to Our Lord and transforming into the woman He created me to be. I knew veiling was right for me, but that may change six months from now, and that’s okay, too! If you decide to veil and don’t love it, stop. If it’s something you’ve been doing, but feel it might be a stumbling block, give it a break. It’s totally up to you!

While women don't need to wear mantillas, I believe they’re a beautiful and effective way to show reverence for Christ. If you’re contemplating donning one, I encourage you to pursue that.

Besides, it’s good to try new things!

Isn’t that what we tell our children?

Copyright 2023 Amanda Lawrence
Images: copyright 2023 Amanda Lawrence, all rights reserved.