A cornette is a piece of female headwear. It is essentially a type of wimple consisting of a large, starched piece of white cloth that is folded upwards in such a way as to create the resemblance of horns (French: cornes) on the wearer's head. It was reported in The Times to have been "in fashion among the Ladies of Paris" in 1801, made of muslin or gauze and richly ornamented with lace.
Use by the Daughters of Charity
The cornette was retained as a distinctive piece of clothing into modern times by the Daughters of Charity, a Roman Catholic society of apostolic life founded by St. Vincent de Paul in the mid-17th century. The founder wanted to have the sisters of this new type of religious congregation of women, that tended to the sick and poor, and were not required to remain in their cloister, resemble ordinary middle-class women as much as possible in their clothing, including the wearing of the cornette.
After the cornette generally fell into disuse, it became a distinctive feature of the Daughters of Charity, making theirs one of the most widely recognized religious habits. Because of the cornette, they were known in Ireland as the "butterfly nuns". In the United States, the Daughters of Charity wore wide, white cornettes for 114 years, from 1850 to 1964. With Vatican II the nun's habits were modernized to return to a clothing that better reflected their charitable role, working with the poor and infirm.
- "Parisian Fashions". News. The Times (5002). London. 13 January 1801. p. 3.
- "Daughters of Charity: Province of the West » History". daughtersofcharity.com. Retrieved 2016-11-13.
- ""Why the Daughters of Charity don't wear white cornettes any longer"".
Media related to cornettes at Wikimedia Commons