This article explores the role of the religious habit in the lives of Catholic sisters in Poland. It is based on research data from qualitative interviews carried out by the author in five Polish convents. The argument focuses on the indeterminacy of the message which the habit sends to the lay audience. It considers the significance of the habit through a Durkheimian lens. The nuns’ accounts of their encounters with the lay public are used to illuminate the precarious position of the Catholic Church in twenty-first century Poland. The article concludes that the habit acts as a ‘barometer’ for attitudes towards institutionalised religion in Polish society.
- sociology of religion