Upcycled and vintage wedding dresses in a remote monastery

Written by on August 21, 2014 in Fashion, Uncategorized, Women - Comments Off on Upcycled and vintage wedding dresses in a remote monastery

Tucked away in the Umbrian hillside is a hidden gem. Not only is there the beautiful monastery of St Rita, but within the monastery there is an unexpected and glorious atelier; the home of beautiful upcycled wedding dresses.

The monastery was once home to St Rita, an abused bride and a widow before she became a nun about 600 years ago. From St Rita’s inspiring story the monastery has long been a pilgrimage site for Italian women, who come to pray to the saint to protect their marriages.

The donations of beautiful wedding gowns began when some women brought their wedding dresses as an offering of thanks.

Sister Maria Laura helps Chiara Cariolato try on shoes and a wedding dress at the Santa Rita Sanctuary in Cascia, Italy.

Nowadays, Argentinian Sister Maria Laura heads up the atelier and specialises in helping brides find their dream dress. Before she entered monastic life at the age of 28, 20 years ago, she was a designer and seamstress in her family’s tailoring shop in Lucca. Sister Maria Laura only sees brides by appointment and she has a designer’s eye to find the right dress for the right bride.


After their wedding day, many brides who found their dress thanks to Sister Laura give it back to the monastery for other brides to have the same experience. However, most brides just leave a donation, the amount is at their discretion.

It’s a wonderful story of community and upcycling and perhaps, a reason to plan a trip to Umbria.

About the Author

Christina Latham

Christina is one of our original writers who helped with the launch of allmygoodness. She has a love for finding vintage treasures and organic products in unexpected, undiscovered places. She has previously worked as a journalist for CD News at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy and Bader TV News in Berlin. She also writes freelance articles for Fitzrovia News and BetaTwentyOne. Follow her on Twitter @ChristinaLatha