Founded 1995, Scranton Pennsylvania, US
Nuns of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles conform to a growing trend, especially in American communities, of wearing a full, traditional habit. This includes a wimple that obscures the neck, forehead and part of the face, and is a sign of their commitment to traditional ideas and values.
The cuculla is a long gown, sometimes stitched and pleated, with very wide sleeves that fall over the hands. It is a ceremonial symbol of rank, and is the sartorial predecessor of the gowns worn by judges and academics.
Moving every few hours between prayer in chapel and physical work outdoors, the sisters face the challenge of wearing clean clothes for worship. When working, the sisters wear a lighter tunic under their scapular and belt, which they remove for visits to the chapel.
Members of this institute sing in chapel six times a day and once at night. This music has recently been heard more widely. Their debut album, Advent at Ephesus, recorded in a temporary studio within the convent, reached the Billboard Top 200 in the US in December 2012. Their second album, Angels and Saints at Ephesus, was number 1 on the Billboard traditional classical albums chart for thirteen weeks, displacing a musical tie-in to the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey.