Saints' Works

holiest works for the sanctification of the soul

Modesty and Purity Resources

Letter to the Congregation for Religious

To the Ordinaries of Italy:  regarding the crusade against immodest fashions, especially in schools directed by women Religious.

Circular. Most Illustrious and Reverend Sir, well known to you are the grave words of condemnation which the Holy Father spoke, on several occasions, with apostolic authority, against the immodest fashion of women's dress which prevails today to the detriment of good breeding.

Suffice it to recall the very grave words, charged with grief and admonition, with which in the discourse of August 15th current, in the consistorial chamber, promulgating the decree on the heroic virtues of Venerable Paola Frassinetti, His Holiness denounced once again the danger which, by its seductive fascination, threatens so many unwary souls, who profess to belong to the flock of Jesus Christ and to His Holy Church.

It is painful to point out in this regard that the deplorable custom tends to insinuate itself among young girls who frequent, as extern pupils, some of the schools directed by Sisters and Sunday-school classes which are held in female religious institutions.

In order to confront a danger which, by spreading, becomes ever more grave, this Sacred Congregation, by order of the Holy Father, calls upon the Ordinaries of Italy so that they may communicate to the superiors of the houses of female religious in their respective dioceses the following injunctions of this Sacred Congregation, confirmed by His Holiness in audience this day:

a) In all schools, academies, recreation centers, Sunday schools, and laboratories directed by female religious, not to be admitted from now on are those girls who do not observe in their attire the rules of modesty and Christian decency.

b) To this end, the superiors themselves will be obliged to exercise a close supervision and exclude peremptorily from the schools and projects of their institutions those pupils who do not conform to these prescriptions.

c) They must not be influenced in this by any human respect, either for material considerations or by reason of the social prestige and of the families of their pupils, even though the student body should diminish in number.

d) Furthermore, the Sisters, in fulfillment of their educational pursuits, must endeavor to inculcate sweetly and strongly in their pupils the love and relish for holy modesty, the sign and guardian of purity and delicate adornment of womankind.

Your Reverence will be vigilant that these injunctions be exactly observed and that there be perfect conformity of conduct among all the institutes of female religious in the diocese.

You will severely call to task whoever should fail in this, and should any abuse be prolonged, you will notify this Sacred Congregation.

With deepest esteem, I remain,

Devotedly yours,

G. Cardinal Laurenti, Prefect
Sacred Congregation for Religious
Vincent La Puma, Secretary
Rome, August 23, 1928