Our Unique Traditional Mode of Dressing
The habit forms only one aspect of our life as consecrated African women. Our Founder desired that our Congregation expressed some difference and this difference should exhibit itself in the spirit as well as in a constant manifestation of all that is good, true and beautiful in the Nigerian culture. With this in mind, we wear an indigenous dress – one that adopts both the traditional Church concept and our own cultural concept of feminine dress.
The pattern of our Habit is a modified style from the regular ‘buba and wrapper’. It is a woven material; the top is a simple blouse with a round neck, sleeves reaching down a little below the elbow and the length reaching about midway of the hip while the wrapper is modified into a simple long wrap round skirt reaching from the waist to the ankle and with buttons at the waist band. This woven material is the official habit of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
A second habit is made of a different printed material but following the same pattern of style known as the work habit or alternative habit. This is worn at home, to work, while travelling and during unofficial occasions or duties. One essential value in our habit and dressing is that the Sisters dress decently and modestly at all times. The respect we have for our habit reflects the way we think, express and create our self-image.
Our mode of dress represents, upholds, and promotes what is best and beautiful in the Nigerian womanhood, consecrating it to the service of God and humankind as a whole. Our whole deportment is a witness to the sacred and what is religiously authentic in our culture.
Quoting our founder, he says: “I want you to represent what is best and beautiful in the Nigerian womanhood, to uphold, promote it, and consecrate it to the service of God and humankind as a whole” (Excerpt from our Founder’s Statement on our Habit, 1978)