I love this picture for multiple reasons. First of all I have a special liking for “uniform sarees”, secondly I have special affinity for simple sarees but this picture transcends all.
But the main reason that I like is that it is an iconic Christian+Hindu mix of traditions and colors!
These are Sisters and Novices. What is a novice, you ask.
A novice in Roman Catholic canon law and tradition, is a prospective member of a religious order who is being tried and being proven for suitability of admission to a religious order of priests, religious brothers, or religious sisters, whether the community is one of monks or has an “active” ministry. After initial contact with the community, and usually a period of time as a postulant (a more or less formal period of candidacy for the novitiate), the person will be received as a novice in a ceremony that most often involves being clothed with the religious habit (traditional garb) of the particular religious community. The novice’s habit is often slightly different from those of professed members of the order. For instance, in communities of women that wear a dark veil over the head, novices often wear a white one; among Franciscan communities of men, novices wear an additional shirt-like chest piece over the traditional Franciscan robe; Carthusian novices wear a dark cloak over the usual white habit; etc.
Novices are not admitted to vows until they have successfully completed the prescribed period of training and proving, called the novitiate. This usually lasts one year, the minimum required by Canon Law, though in some orders and communities it is two. Novices typically have dormitories in separate areas within a monastery or community and are under the direct supervision of a novice master or novice mistress.
The interesting part here is that the novices are wearing saffron sarees; saffron has a deep rooted significance in Hinduism. So instead of wearing traditional nun’s habit, with different color head scarf, they have chosen to wear a saffron saree.
The picture comes from Kurokami (Christina Stoppa)’s flickr stream. Her work is really appreciated.
Here I am posing with some of the sisters and novices from the Mother of Mount Carmel Convent in Kalamassery. The novices are the ones dressed in orange sarees.
Sunday, January 2nd, 2011
Mother of Mount Carmel Convent, Kalamassery, Kochi, Kerala, India