‘The Brides of Christ’
The feast honors Mary – mother of Jesus – whom many Christians believe was bodily taken to heaven after her earthly life.
The Sisters of Providence still recognize the feast – celebrated on August 15 each year – but to a lesser degree.
Prior to Vatican II, two receptions took place during the Mass for the Feast of the Assumption.
The first received women religious into the novitiate. It was designed for women who had made the decision to enter the Congregation. At that time, the sister would be given a black habit and white veil, indicating that they were novices within the Congregation.
The first photo (above) here depicts a handful of sisters receiving their white veils and habits during the Mass, having been dressed as “Brides of Christ.”
The second reception on the Feast of the Assumption involved the sisters who were professing their first vows. After taking their first vows, the sisters would then receive a black veil, which is what you see in the second photo (to the left).
Both of these photos came from our Archives department.
The Feast of the Assumption was one of two occasions where the habit was received and the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience were pronounced. The other feast was January 23, also a feast of Mary.
The Sisters of Providence still celebrate the Feast of the Assumption annually with a special Mass and a festive meal.