The chill of winter is beginning to give way to the welcomed warmth of spring in hopes that summer won’t be far away. Everyone is gradually shedding all the flannel and extra clothes. The amount of clothes that will be worn will dwindle down quite a bit. Anyone that has visited this site knows that this is a really problem for me to see the way people dress these days, and I suppose many would say get out of the dark ages and get with the times. There are some things that just should not change, but fashions do every year. It is getting to the point that in some cases it is difficult to tell men from women and visa-versa.
I have included an article by Kathleen Heckenkamp, which I thought was very good and wanted to share. Please read the entire article, and then, go check your closets and drawers to see what really needs to change.
Padre Pio, His Spiritual Daughters and Modesty
Or “Padre Pio and His Whip”
by Kathleen Heckenkamp
(This is a tough subject. However, I wish to share what I have learned over the years. This author hopes that you will consider seriously this sobering topic of modesty and what it really entails. Please do this for the good of your own souls and all of those souls you are responsible for in your life. May I suggest we examine whether or not our eternal destination or at the very least the degree of merit we earn for the next life may just be determined by this (what many people consider –as I did once myself- old-fashioned) idea of Catholic guidelines for modesty In my own personal study, I have found proof that my decision is correct and the one that will lead me to God. )
I want to begin this article with stating that this author is a Catholic woman, wife and mother of six, who was raised in jeans for as far back as I can remember. I was aware of the Mary-like standard of dress in my teen years most especially because of one unforgettable event in Catholic High School. It was “Dress-up Day” in my Catholic Alma Mater. I decided to wear a dress I had sewn myself following a modern pattern of the 1970’s. I was quite proud of my attempts at sewing and thought I looked quite lovely in it and by the I 970’s standard of dress – I was modest – or so I thought. However, my homeroom teacher, Sr. Jolene, a rather stern religious known for her no-nonsense attitude towards the students and thus at times taunted by the brash high school boys at times, didn’t have the same idea. She called me out of class and gave me a book titled “Mary-like Fashions” to read because she thought the dress that I was wearing was quite immodest – it had a V-neckline, but I certainly would have never considered it plunging or revealing. She informed me that after I had read the booklet, I was to fix it right then and there. This created quite a stir as everyone in the class eventually realized what had happened. I had no pin and I was confused as to how to fix it so I went down to my art teacher, my favorite Franciscan nun, Sr. Mynetta. Sr. Mynetta was known for her smiling disposition and lighthearted humor. She was a crippled religious with a hunched back and walked with a limp on good days and sat in a wheelchair on her bad days. When I asked her for advice, she chuckled, and proceeded to help me construct a plastic flower “corsage” of sorts which we plunked over the offending area. When I returned to class, everyone began to laugh and even the severe demeanor of Sr. Jolene’s face cracked into a smile that day when she saw what I had done to “fix” my dress and become more modest. As you can surmise by the story, the booklet didn’t really faze me too much then… and I continued along my merry way with a dulled conscience inebriated with the alluring fashions of our era. I loved new fashion, colors all these that any red-blooded normal feminine creature would! Taking that attitude, this was the 20th century and Modesty’s standards therefore had to have changed. But as you can see I did remember that day and that booklet years later. Today, I believe I have found that exact booklet I was given in 1976 titled: “Mary–like Modesty Handbook of the Purity Crusade of Mary Immaculate” by Reverend Bernard A. Kunkel published in 1969. It can be found at: Http://www.drbo.org/dnl/TWSG_read.pdf
Jeans then, remained my major fashion statement throughout my teens and early married life. Jeans the working garb of a common farmer at the turn of the 20th century. My grandmother who was the wife of a farmer looked at us in disgust when we would don our jeans to go out in public. How could we be so brainwashed into thinking that this is beautiful or attractive? But without a care, my attitude went unchanged. Until one day…my father died. The whole world changed. However, I didn’t make any immediate transitions or overnight conversions. But what did begin was a series of conversions in my heart and soul that was first exteriorly exhibited by my decision to homeschool our two boys. Then a few years later, attempting to fill the void in my life that my father had left, I turned to Padre Pio. I had become a spiritual daughter of Padre Pio in 1995. As I began to reread some of the articles on Padre Pio’s thoughts on modesty and they began to seriously disturb me and I continued to feel something working on my conscience.
Five years later, in 2000, was the real turning point. It was the summer that we began to think about adopting three little girls and their brother. When I began to think of the consequences of my example and behavior on these three feminine souls, I began to rethink my life… Padre Pio is quoted as saying to those who wished to be numbered among his spiritual children he would say: “1 accept you willingly as my spiritual children, on the condition that you always be good and not give bad example before God and man, that you be examples of a good Christian life. “Otherwise I also know how to use the whip.” I believe Padre Pio used the “whip” on me – that is when I finally wanted to be “his” spiritual daughter and he adopted me. However when he did take the whip to me–we could say it was more like a very “wet noodle whip” for he was very gentle on my soul but ever so persevering!
Why fashion standards changed
Before going any further on Padre Pio a little background history on how our standards of dress have changed and why Modesty was flung out the window in the 20th century will be recalled… Our Lady of Good Success said about the very times we live in: ” Further, in these unhappy times, there will be unbridled luxury which will ensnare the rest into sin and conquer innumerable frivolous souls who will be lost. Innocence will almost no longer be found in children, nor modesty in women. As Our Lady of Good Success warned us about Masonry, was it this dreadful secret society that had perhaps caused an intentional loss of “modesty in women”?
In Colleen Hammond’s book “Dressing With Dignity” , she writes: The “Illuminated Masons” were very- outspoken in their desire to destroy the Catholic Church. Their goal was to destroy the Catholic Church, but they admitted that it couldn’t be ruined from the outside. They had to make a two pronged attack. The founder of the llluminati, Adam Weishaupt, had formulated one part of the strategy late in the 1700’s” We will infiltrate that place [the Vatican], and once inside, will never come out. We will bore from within until nothing remains but an empty shell.” The Masons aimed to infiltrate “the sacristies, the seminaries and the monasteries.” But it would take time for the Masons to get into Catholic institutions. So they had another plan. It had to do with women ” …in order to destroy Catholicism, it is necessary to commence by suppressing woman…But since we cannot suppress woman, let us corrupt her with the Church…” Here is a quote from an article in the International Review on Freemasonry, 1928, that states (more like admits), “It is necessary to corrupt that our boys and girls practice nudism in dress. To avoid too much reaction, one would have to progress in a methodical manner: first, undress up to the elbow; then up to the knees; then arms and legs completely uncovered; later, the upper part of the chest, the shoulders, etc. etc.”
Our Lady knew
Therefore, the Blessed Mother knew very well what the Freemasons were trying to do, and what was about to happen. Our Lady of Fatima then gave a warning to Jacinta Marto in 1919: “The sins which lead most souls to hell are sins of the flesh! Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much. Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions; Our Lord is always the same.”
Padre Pio had a loving devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. He believed and followed the rule Our Lady of Fatima laid out for all faithful Catholics; i.e. Penance and the Rosary, the Five First Saturdays and the scapular. In reward for his faithfulness to her, Our Lady of Fatima cured Padre Pio of a grave illness that had begun on April 24, 1959. That date coincides with the date that the Pilgrim Virgin Statue arrived from the Cova de Iria and touched the soil of Italy for the first time “The coincidence of the illness with the arrival of the Madonna in Italy is proof of the adherence to the message of prayer and penitence of Fatima, made by Padre Pio, in his own particular way, making a gift of his own life, subjecting himself to sacrifices and sorrows, to the most rigorous mortifications… ” The illness had progressed so far as preventing him from offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and hearing confession. In fact, he couldn’t even walk, stand upright or talk.
The Pilgrim Virgin visited San Giovanni Rotondo on August 6, 1959. When the helicopter was leaving with the Pilgrim Virgin dangling in the air over the Monastery Padre Pio tells what happened: “That day when the helicopter rose in order to leave and was hovering over the monastery square, I was near one of the windows of the new church. Seeing that the Madonna was about to leave, without having cured me, I was overcome with dismay, and I turned to Her beseeching Her with tears in my eyes: “My mother, you have come to Italy and have brought me this grief; you have come to San Giovanni Rotondo and found that I am still sick; now you are going away and leaving me in this condition, without even giving me your blessing…’ At that moment I was overcome by a feeling of warmth and well-being…and I was cured.’”
(Some say that Padre Pio was cured of a cancerous tumor as at that moment the tumor burst but I have not been able to verify this statement.)
What did the cure mean?
How can we discern what the cure meant except for this: “Our Lady coming to San Giovanni Rotondo wished to reward Padre Pio not so much by greeting him and blessing him, as by thanking him for his extreme testimony of love and solidarity to her message.”
(Quotes from “Voice of Padre Pio” Vol IV No.1 1974)
So it is, therefore, not difficult to realize that Padre Pio responded to Our Lady of Fatima’s warning: “Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much. ” Padre Pio took those words to heart most especially demonstrated in his church and confessional as he also remembered her words: “The sins which lead most souls to hell are sins of the flesh!”
“Padre Pio wouldn’t tolerate low-necked dresses or short, tight skirts, and he forbade his spiritual daughters to wear transparent stockings. Each year his severity increased. He stubbornly dismissed them from his confessional, even before they set foot inside, if he judged them to be improperly dressed. On some mornings he drove away one after another, until he ended up hearing very few confessions. His brothers observed these drastic purges with a certain uneasiness and decided to fasten a sign on the church door” (From ” Prophet of the People”, by Dorothy M. Gaudiose)
A plaque placed on the door outside of the church of Our Lady of Grace by the Capuchins in San Giovanni Rotondo stated:
“By Padre Pio’s explicit wish, women must enter the confessional wearing skirts at least 8 inches below the knee, it is forbidden to borrow longer dresses in Church and wear them to Confession”
Another one read:
“The Church is the house of God.
It is forbidden for women to enter with bare arms or in shorts. It is forbidden for women to enter in trousers, without a veil on their head, in short clothing, low necklines, sleeveless or immodest dresses.”
Another proof of Padre Pio’s idea of modesty can be found in the following quote from “Arrivederci Padre Pio,” by Anne Cillis, a spiritual daughter of Padre Pio for over 40 years who writes:
“Padre Pio’s attitude towards modesty of wearing apparel on women and girls (also on men and boys) was well-known, documented, and always enforced at least in his physical presence. He was especially adamant on the wearing of slacks (and shorts) by women. I had occasion, in April of 1963, to interview, in San Giovanni Rotondo, a Catholic lady, Italian by descent, and fluent in the language of her forbearers, who had been refused absolution in confession, by Padre Pio, BECAUSE SHE SOLD SLACKS AND PANT-SUITS IN HER DRESS SHOP IN VANCOUVER.
He commanded her to return home to Canada, and dispose of ALL this stock, and not to give any of the items to people who might wear them, and if she wanted his absolution, she could come back to Italy and receive it, ONLY after she had ruthlessly carried out his orders. The alternative was, she could seek the absolution in another confession, back in Canada but he, Padre Pio, would KNOW whether she had done what she’d been told (l!!)
To some, this story may sound extreme. But no, it is not. The Christian rationale behind it is sound. It has a Biblical base, “Women shall not dress as men, nor men as women,” declares the Book of Deuteronomy (Chapter 22:5).
The wearing of slacks (“long pants”) by women, is a subtle undermining of the true manliness of men. It constitutes a sex-reversal costume and as feminists strive for total equality in the public forum, they often even override this, in striving for superiority over men. While Our Blessed Mother occupies an historical place in time, when women’s dress was certainly more modest than dress today, still She remains for all women the perfect model of true virtue… the virtue of purity.
Truly Christian women should have a honor of departure from these truly decent norms. There should be an inner revulsion against the contravention of what is ladylike and modest and proper.”
If you take a look at the directives from Rome –
Padre Pio was only following sound Catholic guidelines:
Standards of Modesty in Dress
lmprimatur dated Sept.24, 1956
“A dress cannot be called decent which is cut deeper than two fingers breadth under the pit of the throat; which does not cover the arms at least to the elbows; and scarcely reaches a bit beyond the knees. Furthermore, dresses of transparent materials are improper.” The Cardinal Vicar of Pius Xll
This is not a many centuries old directive. It was written in the middle of the 20th century and yet did many of us obey it? So we must realize that Padre Pio was not an old fogy trying to make women miserable. He was a Heaven-sent victim soul in a battle with the devil fighting for our souls and trying to save the souls of his dear children from eternal damnation!
I would like to share one more quote of Padre Pio on the topic of Heaven, and his spiritual children as he loves us so much that we have evidence of an agreement he made with God to forego Heaven until we, all of his spiritual children, enter into Heaven even before him… God has allowed us to know of his love and protection with these words”
If it were possible, I would like one favor from
the Lord: I would want, if He said to me
‘Go to heaven’, I would like to have this grace:
Lord, do not allow me to enter heaven until the
last of my children, the last of those persons
entrusted to my priestly care, have entered before
me…I have made an agreement with the Lord
that when my soul is purified by the flames of
Purgatory and is worthy to enter heaven, I
will stand at the gates of paradise and will not
enter until I have seen the last of my sons and
daughters enter. “
Padre Pio is waiting there at the gates so let us live well. Let us not make him grow impatient and come back for us with the whip anymore!!!
In closing, the third stanza has been printed from a poem by William Ross Wallace titled “What Rules the World”
Woman, how divine your mission
Here upon our natal sod!
Keep, oh, keep the young heart open
Always to the breath of God!
All true trophies of the ages
Are from mother-love impearled;
For the hand that rocks the cradle
Is the hand that rules the world.
I would like to include these Rules of Modesty one Catholic Parish
gave to their parishioners. Maybe other priests or lay persons will
pass these along for their parishes:
The Church teaches that modesty is required for the proper attendance at Holy Mass and for the reception of Holy Communion. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in no. 1387: “To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament [the Holy Eucharist]… bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.” We must keep firmly in mind that we come to Church to adore and worship our Savior, who comes to us in his very flesh. We come to Sunday Mass, therefore, to adore and receive the hallowed FLESH of the Savior. On the other hand, people do not come to Mass to see our flesh. Those attending Mass, therefore, are asked to cover their flesh adequately so as not to offend God and distract others from their adoration and fruitful reception of the Flesh of Christ. One can certainly dress comfortably without violating modesty.
We ask you, therefore, to read and embrace the following guidelines of modesty:
- “Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 2521).
- “Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 2522).
- “Modesty inspires a way of life which makes it possible to resist the allurements of fashion and the pressure of prevailing ideologies” (Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 2523).
“There is nothing wrong in being fashionable. God does not require us to ignore the dictates of fashion so that we look grotesque! But, fashion can never be the supreme rule of conduct. There is a limit beyond which fashion can bring about the ruin of a soul”—Pope Pius XII.
In keeping with these guidelines on modesty, we ask that you please do not wear sleeveless tops, low necklines, halter tops, tank tops, shorts, short-skirts (above the knees), and clothing that is tight fitting.
Thank you for your co-operation.