Cilice sells gear for modern-day Medieval penitents. Their site reports:
A cilice was originally a garment or undergarment made of coarse cloth or animal hair (a hairshirt). In more recent times the word has come to refer not to a hairshirt, but to a spiked metal belt or chain worn strapped tight around the upper thigh. Many religious orders within the Roman Catholic Church have used the cilice as a form of “corporal mortification,” but in recent years it has become known as a practice of numeraries (celibate lay people) of Opus Dei, a personal prelature of the Roman Catholic Church.
Hand-crafted using traditional materials, our hairshirts, metal chains and goat skin cilice belts, used in some form throughout history as an aid to worship, are available to buy and can be shipped worldwide (Prices shown are inclusive of shipping). Practiced for centuries, use of the cilice has been commonplace in the lives of the saints, for example: St Francis of Assisi, St Thomas More, St Therese of Lisieux, Pope Paul VI, St Padre Pio and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The motivation behind these voluntary mortifications is to imitate Christ and to join him in his redemptive sacrifice (cf. Matthew 16:24), and they can also be a way to suffer in solidarity with the many poor and deprived people in the world.
The use of the cilice belt or hairshirt must not be undertaken lightly, it is essential that people seek spiritual guidance and instruction before using one.
I think that’s my Christmas shopping list sorted!
(Thanks, Jon Graham!)