Wearing a Tonsure

This is a picture, copied from an old painting, of an abbot clipping the hair of a young man
who has decided to become a monk.

After having his hair cut the monk would then have the top of his head shaved,
leaving a round bald patch.
This is known as the tonsure.

The tonsure is a sign that a man has made a vow (a promise) to become a monk and follow the rules of the Order (community) which he has joined.
Long ago all monks wore a tonsure, but now many Orders do not expect their monks to shave their heads.



The illustrations are from the book "A Cistercian Monk's Life" by Gillian Elias (published by Saint Bernard Press, Leicester)
who has kindly given permission for them to be used in this project.