We Dominican Sisters are dressed in a white tunic with a leather belt. Upon the belt we wear Our Lady’s weapon–the Rosary–complete with 15 decades of beads. Over our tunic we wear a mantle (a black cape) as an expression of the spirit of penance within our Congregation. A black veil covers the head as a sign of modesty and our consecration to Jesus alone. After a Sister is vested in habit, her habit is no different from the professed sisters with the exception of the veil, which remains white while in the novitiate. After the Novitiate, upon the First Profession of Simple Vows, a newly professed Sister receives a black veil.
The white is a sign of our baptismal garment. The black cape is for penance, and also the white tunic through the cape can be seen as a light coming out from the darkness. This was St. Dominic’s spirit, spreading the light of Truth amidst the world of heresy.
The scapular is the sign of Our Lady’s love and protection over us. It is ironed with one crease from top to bottom down the middle as a book, especially the Word of God (Bible) opens to be proclaimed and preached.
The belt is a sign of the vow of chastity, and as St. Paul states, we gird our loins with truth (Ephesians 6:14).
The Rosary is our “sword of the spirit” (Eph. 6:17), our weapon of prayer and confidence in Our Lady’s protection and blessing.