Furthermore, just as it would be culturally offensive to denigrate figures like Martin Luther King Jr. or Mahatma Ghandi, it should be equally unacceptable to mock Catholic figures, she noted.
"I think of a figure like Martin Luther King, who has high ideals, people honor him – if he were depicted in costume with a KKK uniform or something, it's so opposite of what he is and what he represents, that would be akin to sisters in this kind of dress or somehow showing that sexual perversity," she said.
The reason that costumes depicting cultural and ethnic stereotypes cause so much offense and uproar is that those who know real people of those cultures and ethnicities see them as more than what a costume depicts, Sr. Gilmary added.
"I work with religious, I'm a religious, and that's not religious," she said. "These are people who love God, who've given their life for God, who aren't looking to be in the spotlight in any way. And their goodness and selfless service – that kind of depiction, besides mockery... ultimately kind of comes back and just denigrates the person who wears them as well."
Most sisters who see people in such costumes tend to pray for the person, Sr. Gilmary said. While Catholics and Christians have a right to be offended at such costumes, our faith calls us to move past offense, and to forgive and pray for people who mock the faith, she added.
"I think the people that do it really don't understand what they're doing," she said. "We still have to forgive them and pray for them and hope they can come to a deeper understanding of what they're doing and not do it, including those who make those costumes."
In a way, Sr. Gilmary said, mocking the faith is kind of a "backhanded compliment," because it means those who are doing the mocking see something true and substantial in Christianity.
"We stand for something, and there's a substantial claim made if you hold to these things, and we believe those claims are from God," she said. "And religious (sisters) try to live their life in a most radical way, so if that's challenging to the culture, those people are the ones who will be mocked."
"The Lord himself was mocked, and his disciples were mocked. And we look at how they responded," she added.
"We're praying for them, and we hope that they come and see the depth (of religious life). It's like what the Lord said: you know not what you do. Because the ones they're hurting are themselves."