Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Costume for St. Josephine

It's that time of year when my kiddos try to stump the Mommy by choosing a saint for All Saints Day that stretches my creativity and my sewing skills. This year, Sunshine asked if she could dress as her Confirmation patron, St. Josephine Bakhita. Have you SEEN a Canossian sister's habit from the early 1900's? Whoa!

Obviously, the most notable aspect of her habit is her veil. OK, so here is the best I could come up with...

I took a scrap piece of black cotton (about a 1/2 a yard) to make the head covering. Using wide width ribbon and tape, I created the look of St. Josephine's veil and then tacked it in place with a needle and thread.Yup. I left the tape there and hand sewed right over it for extra stability.

Then I crossed the ends in the back, and then tied and tucked on top. You could also secure them with a safety pin. Now, St. Josephine's veil wasn't a head wrap and actually fits more like a bonnet, but we are just going for an impression, not reality. If I had more time, I might try to make a bonnet, but not this year. I do have some more ribbon loops to go on the crown of her head which we will attach on the day.

For the necklace you see in her picture, I had some help from a friendly Canossian sister, Sr. Lisa, who answered my question with this interesting information:
The medal she wore around her neck was double-sided, with our Lady of Sorrows on the front side, and the back side depicts the instruments of Jesus' suffering, as drawn by our foundress, St Magdalene of Canossa. These pictures were encased in gold and/or brass frame with glass - and later - plastic window panes. Each Canossian Sister wore this medal (and they would put between the two pictures their private messages to Jesus - so neat!), hung from a black, silk woven cord. 
She even sent me copies of the images to print out for Sunshine! Thank you, Sr. Lisa!

For the rest of her costume, Sunshine is wearing an old black skirt and using a black capelet from our dress-up box. I'll try to post pictures of everyone in full costume later. We don't want to spoil the surprise for the cousins.


  1. beautiful veil/bonnet and what a unique costume! I just posted a saint folder about this inspiring Saint the other day. http://lovemylittleflower.blogspot.com/2010/10/st-josephine-bakhita-folder-28.html
    There are some actual photos of her -- full length with her habit.
    St josephine Bakhita lived such a humble, loving, selfless life for God.

  2. Great Job! I know whose creative genius I will be seeking out the next time my little one wants to dress as her name saint, Catherine Laboure. Those veils can be amazingly difficult. I tried everything to make her head piece. In the end, it just didn't hold together. Yours looks brilliant.

  3. Thank you, Charlotte, for the mention! I look forward to seeing the finished product! Many blessings! Sister Lisa

  4. Thank you, again, Sr. Lisa and yes, I will send you a picture of Sunshine in her full costume!

  5. Oh how wonderful! St. Josephine is my daughter's patron saint and was what she wanted to dress up as for our Saints party this week-end. Can't wait to see the finished product!

  6. Well, the "best that you can come up with" is pretty amazing if you ask me! That turned out SO great!!

    I can't wait to see pictures of everyone after the party!!

  7. Wow, Charlotte! That's fantastic!

    lol, on a different note I'm getting some pretty funny word verifications today. The one I have now is "nongrati"...at least it isn't "non grata". ;)

  8. Wow! You can come work in my costume dept. any old time you want!

  9. Good luck trying to stump that Mommy! Charlotte, it's beautiful. I couldn't have even begun to know how to try such a thing. You can come over and do our costumes any day.

  10. Just came across this because I am doing some research for a blog on St. Josephine Bakhita for the Diocese of Rockville Centre- loved your headpiece, and thank you for the info from the Canossian Sisters! Keep up the good work with those children of yours, be blessed, Brenda


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