The religious habit of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Wichita consists of a navy blue dress with a matching scapular, a silver badge representing the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a black cincture and the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows, a black veil and, for a Sister in perpetual vows, a simple white gold ring worn on her right ring finger.
Blue was chosen as the color of the Sisters’ habit in honor of Our Lady, navy to remind us of her sorrows. For the same reason, the Sisters wear the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows. Thus the sorrows of our Lady, which are the mysteries of our redemption, are called to mind and pondered daily. The black cincture serves as a constant reminder of the Sisters’ vows: the Sisters bind themselves to Christ in chastity, poverty and obedience. The scapular is traditionally known as Mary’s garment and is a physical representation and indication of her maternal care for us.
Pinned to the right shoulder of the scapular is the emblem of Mary’s heart encircled by three roses, pierced by a sword and crowned with flames. The flames symbolize Mary’s charity; her heart is on fire with love for God and his children. The roses on her Immaculate Heart represent her three primary virtues: humility, obedience and purity. The sword prophesied by Simeon, “and your own heart a sword shall pierce” (Lk 2:35), reminds us of her seven sorrows, the mysteries of our redemption, the cause of our joy.
At the time of profession the novice’s white veil, which indicates her “new-ness” is exchanged for the black veil of the professed Sister, signifying her consecration as a Bride of Christ.
At the time of perpetual profession, the Sister is given a wedding band to signify her perpetual spousal relationship with God, the relationship with Him that all in heaven will enjoy for all eternity.
Listen to an IHM Sister explain what she likes about wearing the habit: