Saturday, January 19, 2013

Prairie Muffin

I was recently in a large metropolitan area and visiting with other traditional Catholics.  The subject came around to modest clothing, and she made an observation to me.  She said that many non TLM Catholics have a stereotype of us Traditionalists as "prairie muffins"  You know, we dress in long flowered dresses like we just stepped out of Little House On the Prairie.  And that was not necessarily a good thing.  We are not taken seriously by our larger Catholic family, or we are simply not recognized at Catholics!  I can relate to this.  At my old parish, a friend told me that people would ask her "Who is the German Baptist family?"   Duh, Im going to Holy Communion!  Duh, walk up to me and introduce yourself....notice the scapular, (if you even know what one of those is) the ample children with very Catholic names.....

Whoa, hold those trotting horses!  Its the typical modern Catholic "you must be like the world to be everything to everybody" kind of mentality.  Sorry, not interested.  In fact, this style of dressing for me did not descend from on high at the moment of my conversion.  Long flowered dresses have always been a part of my fashion world.  In grade school, dresses on little girls were still common, and I wore them all the time.  Back then I used to get comments like, "another dress??" from fellow 4th graders.  In high school I was a hippie, so I wore the standard calico and corduroy fare that we all wore to Grateful Dead concerts every day.  Keep in mind that I went to a suburban Chicago highschool that was populated with larger than life hairdos and Z. Cavaricci's.  I would often be engaged in very special conversation in the hallway between classes with gems like "hippie!!" or "are you wearing your mothers curtians?" that last one I would have to say, "No, my mothers curtains are beige and polyester lined, not good for a hippie dress" (but of course I had no backbone of sarcasm and quick wit in highschool, back then I was so crushed by daily misery and boredom that I would just hang my head and walk on)

So, fast foreword to today.  Im a mom of 7 children living in the country.  I am a Catholic who goes to the Latin Mass.  It just so happens that I love calico and linen in long and flowing designs!  It just so happens that my plethora of girls share this love with me.  It just so happens that I can sew!  Wow, wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles, we wear flowered dresses, and....WE LIKE IT!

Is it my problem that "I am not approachable" by your average Catholic on the street because they think I am mennonite or something?  Is this my problem?  (no) Do I have a smile on my face? (yes) Do I have a voicebox that works and do I speak english? (yes)   Could we have a problem in our larger church population if many can't bring themselves to chat with me because I don't dress right out of Old Navy? (yepper)

Let me get this straight.  I dont care how you dress, as long as it is modest.  I am not going to have the pants debate, because lets face it, St. Gianna wore pants.  We don't wear them here, but I know holy and happy Catholic women that do.  If I want to dress like and Amish woman, I will.  If I want to dress like Smurfette, Im gonna do it.  If I feel like wearing that denim skirt and t shirt that makes me look Pentecostal, then guess what, Im gonna wear it.  French Peasant?  Yep, like that one too.... Modesty and my own sense of style are what are driving my fashion choices, not what average Mrs. Catholic in the pew is going to think about me as she sits behind me at Mass.  (besides that veil thing on my head is distracting enough)

So, to the Catholic "dress like everyone else so that you fit in" crew, it is a big "sorry!".  I have never done that and Im am not going to start now.  That is the neat thing about being Catholic, the only dress code we have in the laity is "modesty".  That can be in a any sense.  Modern modest, sporty modest, prairie muffin modest, dumpy tired mom modest, whatever.  Just wear it and get over it!  Pray and ask Jesus what He wants you to put on your body.  Don't be dictated to by the fashion industry and what everyone else on the block is wearing!  Remember the wise words of St. Jacinta "Those who serve God should not follow the fashions."
Cozy reading to chew on here


  1. Good on you for recognizing how the sin of human respect colors the choices of people trying to fit in. We are to follow God's call not fashionistas.

  2. Additionally:
    "Believing in God makes us carries of values which often do not coincide with the
    prevailing fashion and opinion, it requires us to adopt criteria and a conduct
    which do not belong to the common way of thinking. The Christian should not be
    afraid to go 'against the grain' to live his or her faith, resisting the
    temptation to 'conform'." Pope Benedict XVI, Audience: 2013-01-23 11:52:25\

  3. thank you for that Benedict XVI quote!