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Catholic Dictionary




Covering for the head and shoulders worn by women religious. Historically, different veils have signified different roles. The veil of probation, usually white, was given to novices; the veil of profession was given at the pronunciation of vows; the veil of consecration was given consecrated virgins; the veil of continence was given to widows. In the Church's Order of Religious Profession, published in 1970, it is assumed that the veil is part of the distinctive garb of religious women. The veilling of virgins consecrated to divine worship and the service of the Church goes back to early patristic times.