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Nuns and monks, convents and monasteries: the monastic orders and their costumes

(3,523 words)

Author(s): Allison D. Fizzard
For perhaps no others in medieval society was clothing such an integral part of their identities as it was for members of the religious orders. The adoption of distinctive monastic articles of clothing such as the veil or the cowl marked one as having renounced worldliness and embraced the Christian ascetic values of self-deprivation and austerity. Indeed, the putting aside of the distinctive habit of the religious was regarded in canon law as an act of apostasy, an indication of the rejection o…