Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Baptismal Gowns Worthy of the Occasion

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Acts 22:16

I was corresponding with a friend about a Baptism gown for her yet unborn baby. She was looking at gowns on Ebay that, though beautiful, I doubted would hold up to generations of use. I urged her to think in terms of "dynasty" in choosing a gown that would be worthy of the family name and worthy of frequent use over generations of Catholic families.

Wilding optimistic? Okay. I can live with that. But what is hope for is we can't indulge in it once in a while?

Though a very frugal individual, I think that when it comes to Baptismal gowns, especially for one that is being purchased for several hundred years of use, that you should not look at the price in making your choice. Surely indulgent grandparents or generous godparents can be the means to the Baptismal gown necessary.

Following are a few of my favorite gowns. The first two are availabe from:Once Upon A Time.

For some simpler gowns and Baptismal accessories you can go here. Handmade.

Another from Once Upon a Time:

Below an 1870s Antique English Christening gown available from Paula's Antique Linens.

There is also a tradition I've heard of where a seamstress will take the wedding gown of the mother and refashion it into the Baptism gown for their first child. A beautiful idea.

Finally, I'm not sure if the tradition of the Baptismal bonnet which becomes a wedding hanky (something old) is catching on but it is a lovely idea. You can order one here if it takes your fancy.

Shown here:

It's my belief that for your child's Baptism the baby should be dressed like royalty. Because upon completion of the Baptism, he is.


James said...


Those gowns are beautiful! For each of our children, either an Aunt, Mother, or Mother-in-Law has made the gowns (and bonnet). They are all long, flowing garments with plenty of lace. Truly a royal garment.

One tradition of which we have heard is the re-use of the baptismal gown for the boys' Ordination vestments (surplice, maybe?) showing the Sacramental continuity.

Edward said...

These are interesting traditions of which I have never heard.
I think I'll find out more.

I don't know if we have done well or not, but we have used the same gown for every one of our children: so that when my firstborn Teresa (17) held her new baby sister, Joan Louise (after La Pucelle and King St. Louis), her new God-daughter was wearing the same gown that she herself was baptized in - an instance which she thought was "pretty cool."

Another little tradition which we have returned to and are now maintaining, is that of our children's first Communion being a "private" one: that is, known to the Priest and us and a few intimates only.
My son Edward will make two confessions (his first and a second a week later), and then will accompany us to the rail on the Feast of the Most Precious Blood on July 1st.
This means of receiving first Holy Communion pre-dates, of course, the familiar "corporate" ceremony, which was begun by the Ursulines in their boarding schools in the very early part of the 17th century in France, spreading in popularity.
However, the more ancient private or "family" first Communion was revived in France in the 1950's and is gaining more and more preference (although slowly) among Traditionalists and "reformed" Catholics alike.

Jamie Carin and Claudio Romano said...

Nice Mary! LOL...


PS I won't really be that cheap when it comes to gowns fear not.

elena maria vidal said...

Beautiful! I totally agree that a christening gown should be as beautiful as possible. In our family we have made one from the silk train of an old wedding gown; it really did not cost that much but was of heirloom quality. Every new child of God is indeed a Prince or Princess!

surgite et coffeam olfacite said...

The guy in the first picture has no need for one. . .
On another note; don't you think that buying the nicest baptismal gowns can be just as bad as people who spend thousands of dollars on wedding dresses? I object to going to cheaply but not to going for inexpensie.

M. Alexander said...

James- it brings a tear to my eye to think of a baptismal gown being converted to an Ordination vestment. May God be so generous to grant that grace.

James said...

After speaking with my wife last night, she also recommended converting the baptismal gown of the girls to a bridal veil (whether for Matrimony or Religious).

I like these ideas, but they tend to make a broadside at the "handing down" approach of your post, also a beautiful tradition.

Heirloom Baby Christening Gowns said...

These are all handmade traditional baptism gowns