Our distinctive red habit often draws questions.
Why do the Redemptoristines wear red and not the usual black or white or grey or muted dark colours of other Orders?
Our habit is full of meaning for us.
The first Redemptoristine, Blessed Maria Celeste Crostarosa, had a revelation about the founding of our Order. It was to be founded through her and have as Rule of life, the very life of Jesus.
“…she was given to understand about a new Institute, that the Lord would establish in the world by means of her; and that in Him, in His life, were contained all the laws by which they were to live, and their Rules, like an opened book...” (Autobiography 19)
At first she is full of doubts about her experience. Did she imagine it? Was it temptation?
A Sign of the Deep Passionate Love of God
As soon as she saw our Lord Jesus Christ, suddenly all that darkness fled away, because in the sacrosanct host she could see the Lord dressed in the habit of the Order, which was a dark red colour, and with the mantle exactly in the shape of the habit that the nuns have to wear. This apparition was for only a moment, and was spiritual, and not with the eyes of her body; and it was full of such light and radiance, that it cannot be described by any comparison, because the mantle looked like it was a clear sky; His tunic was both bright in colour and deep red, and resplendent all over…(Autobiography 21)
She writes later on then in the Rules that the habit the Nuns would wear, would be red.
A deep red. A sign of the deep, warm, full Love of God.
A Love for all people. It is a reminder of the Incarnation. That Jesus became human so as to unite us to show us the infinite Love of God.
The mantle is to be sky blue and remind us that Jesus has united heaven and earth. We are citizens of heaven. Called to share in the very life of the Trinity. Our hearts and thoughts should always be turned to Him.
Their life as enclosed nuns is a life “hidden with Christ in God” (Col 3:3) and this is symbolised by the black veil.
The solemnly professed wear a medal of the most Holy Redeemer. The image of Christ’s humanity - “to show that I live in their hearts”.