Dressing Up Like Saints


I’ve written before about the power of scent regarding attraction, and also about women who primp before going out. I’m a firm believer that these things are necessary—and appreciated.

Jewelry is no exception. On our second date, my now-boyfriend complimented the flower in my hair. I blurted out, “Thanks, I’m making adornment a spiritual practice.” I’m sure he had no idea what I meant. I’m not even sure I knew myself!

So how is adornment in any way spiritual? I thought about the Song of Songs. Not only is perfume mentioned, but so is jewelry:

“Your cheeks lovely in pendants, your neck in jewels. We will make pendants of gold for you, and ornaments of silver” (Song of Songs 1: 10-11).

It seems okay to me, then, that adornment can be a spiritual act, making us more attractive as well.

And here is a seemingly unrelated story to illustrate my point.

One year in Catholic school, we did something new and very special for All Saints’ Day: we were to dress up as our patron saints and give an oral report on their biographies.
Because I had done St. Catherine every year—all 5 of them—my mother chose to do something different that year. She chose St. Elizabeth of Hungary, from whom I got my middle name. A disagreement ensued because I loved St. Catherine of Alexandria the most, and if I could have, would’ve done her story every year. It was a full week of a cold war, with lots of doors slamming and stereos blasting.
In the end, my mother got her way, but her tactic was the cleverest, most creative way possible, and she won me over immediately. She just presented me with a finished costume. That was it. It was an exquisite work of art; as the daughter of a seamstress, she had an eye for quality and hands that followed.
All Saints’ Day, as we all know, is the day after Halloween. At that time—the late 1970s—Halloween costumes were simple and no-nonsense. This was, after all, a working class neighborhood that was no-nonsense in all other aspects of life anyway.

The common costumes were the sheet over the head with two holes, (or more than two, imitating Charlie Brown’s costume). Then there was the standard witch costume: black hat and broom, with some old dress from the back of the closet.

Vampires were popular too. The costume was made up of a graduation robe, ringed around the neck, and some blush on the cheeks. The adventurous sort would also have slicked back hair.

But the most popular costume, by far, was the hobo. It was almost the same for all the kids, both boys and girls: their father’s flannel shirt and pants, wrinkled and stained, held together with a belt of twine; their grandpa’s fedora, which was smashed and bent up, and occasionally had a hole or two in it; and dirt streaks on the face. The ambitious hobos fashioned a bindle from a stick and a bandana, filling it with rags. And that was about it.

For our patron saint speeches, you could guess what happened: every kid named John or Frank (and there were plenty) just wore their hobo costume again as John the Baptist or Saint Francis. The witches and vampires reused their capes, apparently because all saints wear capes.

And then there was me, in an immaculate and well-tailored outfit that perfectly replicated Saint Elizabeth of Hungary’s garb. My big moment, however, was when I finished telling Saint Elizabeth’s story. Her wealthy husband did not want her leaving the house; but she defied him, giving his money to the poor. The day he caught her, he opened her cape to prove that she’d stolen from him. Instead, flowers miraculously appeared and fell into her remorseful husband’s hands. As I was reading, I opened my cloak and inside my mother had sewn two dozen silk flowers. The crowd gasped and gave me a standing ovation—the only one.

And here’s my point: after that day, I got asked out by every John, Frank, Anthony and Paul. I can only assume it was the costume and the flowers. I do not consider adornment an act of vanity; it is an effort to venerate God’s beautiful creation. And if, in that effort, it makes us more attractive to others, what harm could it cause?

I still believe this. Case in point: a few weeks ago I went to my boyfriend’s house before a dance performance that was held nearby. I was almost out the door when he shouted: “Wait! Your false eyelashes! You can’t leave without them!” So there it is: one, men love a woman adorned. And two, keep the man who looks after your eyelashes.

So to all CatholicMatch members: have a wonderful All Saints’ Day. And maybe you want to dress up a bit—but not as a hobo or a witch.

Let’s take this opportunity to talk about our patron saints. Who is your favorite saint?



  1. Stacey-101742 October 26, 2013 Reply

    My Patron Saint is Saint Ann , my confirmation name I took Marie for Mother Mary . I admire Mother Teresa and Saint Catherine , Maria Goretti , Saint Francis , Saint Jude , Saint Bernadette , I love Saint Joseph , and daily pray to Saint Anthony -what would I do without Saint Anthony ?
    I am consecrated to Mother Mary in many ways , I am consecrated to Saint Joseph , obviously Sacred Heart of Jesus , and I find the litanies beautiful to pray and inspiring too and they slowly keep changing me life and myself along with all the beautiful ways of being a devout Catholic .

  2. Howard-840771 November 2, 2012 Reply

    Thank you ST. Jude and all of the saints who have helped me.

    Happy All Saints Day!

  3. Sandra-3610 November 1, 2012 Reply

    St. Kateri Tekawitha, Blessed John Paul II, St John the Evangelist, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Pio of Petrucina, St Michael, St. Dominic and Blessed Miguel Pro top my list. So many to emulate!

    I like your article but personally I am allergic to most scents and would never wear perfume and wouldn’t want anyone I dated to wear scents. Chemical sensitivities is getting more and more common these days.

    Happy All Saints Day

  4. Abel-914821 November 1, 2012 Reply

    Today I have a Special saint to thank for intervening in a 2:00 am attempted break-in at my home early this morning . Saint Michael ! This young man was attempting to enter throwing my front door then Side door . He finally found the kitchen window . I could have ended his life at that moment , but faith an the local police saved us both . I felt betrayed by a stranger ! Wow !!! I thought how dare you , but reflecting I can understand what our Lord said about Death ! It comes like a thief in the night . I pray and Honor All the Saints for their Devotion in life and constant assistance to us still awaiting our journey Home to our Fathers House . I Pray we all reflect on the Magnitude of their devotion and Humbly Honor them for their constant intercessions !!!

  5. Linda-666928 November 1, 2012 Reply

    Saint Joseph of Cupertino., SANTA BRIGIDA.SAN Tarsicio., SAN JOSE MARIA WRITE.

    SPECTACULAR article … very well written.

    BERNADETTE, young woman gave her life to Our Lady of Lourdes., A GIRL WITH GIFTS ESTRAORDINARIOS.

    Santa Filomena gave his life to preserve her virginity, CASTIDA, pursued by the devil to PERDERLA.GUARDIANA OF GOING TO MARRIAGE.

    SAN JOSE, CUPERTINO, humble carpenter And JARDINERO.TUVO mystical experiences donated by GOD.

    SAN TARSICIO.NIÑO PRODIGIOUS to lose their lives to defend the Eucharist, PRISONERS AND JAILED.

    St. Bridget, THE 15 prayers of St. Bridget.

    SAN JOSE MARIA WRITE, founder of Opus Dei.

    SAN JUAN MARIA Vienni had REVELCIONES of doom, FINL OF THE TIMES, closed saloons and liquor stores.

  6. Marcus-639827 November 1, 2012 Reply

    It’s hard to pick just one, but St. Anthony of Padua really comes through for me when I lose something. He is also invoked for finding a spouse, and he is one of the doctors of the Church.

  7. Chiara-418581 October 31, 2012 Reply

    My favorite saints are : san Pio the great Italian! saint Rita da cascia prayed for impossible things, saint teresa di Lisieaux, and our beloved Pope John Paul 2. Church Magisterium tell us to pray the saints of our historical period expecially the new saints.
    have a saint night !

  8. Liliane-677357 October 31, 2012 Reply

    The little flower and Saint Philomena are my favourite saints.
    I like your perspective on adornment.
    God bless you.

  9. Erin-419365 October 31, 2012 Reply

    What a great story, thanks for sharing it! In a time in our society where there is so much confusion over the role of the sexes and the diminishing of authentic masculinity and femininity, your story points to an important aspect of authentic femininity and one that men are very appreciative of.

  10. Pat-5351 October 31, 2012 Reply

    I would be interested in the source material on this story of St. Catherine, as I have written on her myself and am unaware of this particular story about her, so wondered about it.

    Love your point about adornment.

  11. Maria-846262 October 30, 2012 Reply

    My favorite saints are Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego. I’ve loved their story since I was a very young child.

  12. Brenda-74660 October 30, 2012 Reply

    My favorite saints are Our lady of the Rosary and St Therese the Little flower….and I am also very fond of St Andrew….. :))

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