Good Mennonite girls of the 1950s and 60s like me wore a prayer cap and a dress with a cape. Yes, no fancy fad in the frock I’m wearing in the photo. As best I can tell, the belted cape was worn to add an extra layer of padding to de-emphasize female curves. The object was modesty and humility at all costs. Underneath my cap, also called covering or veiling, I planted a circlet of braids attached with hairpins. Why is it worn? “According to I Corinthians 11:1-16, . . . the long hair and veiled head gives evidence of the woman’s “unceasing prayer and constant witness,” accepting “submission designated by God.” *
* Statement of Christian Doctrine and Rules and Discipline of the Lancaster Conference of the Mennonite Church, Article II—Ordinances, Section 5, July 17, 1968.
More on the Prayer Cap:
Wenger, J. C., The Prayer Veil in Scripture and History, Herald Press, Scottdale, PA, 1964.
Three Common Misconceptions about Amish and Mennonites:
1. Amish came first. No, Menno Simons, a former Swiss priest, broke off from the Catholic Church during the Reformation in 1536, originating the Mennonite Church. Later in 1693, Jacob Ammon formed the Amish, who have worn even more conservative dress.
2. Most Mennonites are farmers; their children go to one-room schoolhouses. No, from the mid-1950s and earlier Mennonites have embraced the professions, among them doctors, lawyers, educators. Higher education is the norm for many.
3. Plain looks equate to lack of emotional expression. Just ask my husband!
1. What misconceptions can you add?
2. Any similar experiences? Share your anecdote.
Harvey Yoder, Mennonite pastor and counselor, has compiled a more complete list of 10 myths about Mennonites and Amish on his own website. I invite you to check out this link:
Coming soon! Grandma’s Kitchen: Recipes and More