I started out making a conscious effort not to ever wear liturgical colors. Every parish I went to had some lady neatly turned out in a red, green, or purple outfit to match the season and the feast. I remember being self-conscious enough not to wear purple when it wasn’t Lent. But then when it was Lent I also didn’t wear purple, so as not to match. Green was even easier, since I didn’t have any green clothes. For Saint Patrick’s day I put on a ceramic brooch with a green flower on it.

Red was my downfall. I love red, and have lots of red clothes. Sometimes I’d accidentally wear red on a martyr’s feast, but I was rarely caught off guard by the seasonal cycles and deliberately didn’t wear red on Pentecost or the feast of the Sacred Heart.

I must say the effort put into the outfits by those matching ladies I’ve seen was remarkable. It wasn’t a matter of a red tee-shirt or purple dress. It was in every case complex outfits comprising blouses, skirts, jackets, hats, shoes and purses. The style was a rather indeterminate early to mid 20th century. It was both very self-conscious and also admirable for the effort.

I don’t imagine I’ll ever reach those starry heights, but today, despite it being the feast of the Sacred Heart, I found myself reaching for a red blouse and heart necklace. Whatever reticence I used to have has been replaced by a cheerful sense of fun.

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