THE BROWN SCAPULAR
On July 16, 1251 Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock (Superior General of the Carmelites), handed him
what was to become the Carmelite habit, a brown woolen scapular, and said, “This shall be a privilege
for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.” The Church
extended this magnificent privilege to all who are willing to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the
Carmelites and who perpetually wear it. The investment or enrollment (usually done at one’s First Holy
Communion) is a simple ceremony which can be performed by any priest. After having received the initial
blessed Scapular from a priest, no other Scapular need be blessed before wearing. The blessing and
investiture are attached to the wearer for life. The Scapular may be worn over or under one’s clothing
but must be worn on the shoulders in such a manner that one part hangs in front of the body and the other
in back. Worn in any other way it carries no indulgence or promise.
We should attach great
We should attach great
On the very day Our Lady gave the Scapular to St. Simon, he was hurriedly called by Lord Peter of Linton: “Come quickly, Father, my brother is dying in despair!” St. Simon left at once to the bedside of the dying man. He placed his large Scapular over the dying man and asked Our Blessed Mother to keep her promise. Immediately the man repented and died in the grace and friendship of God. That night the dead man appeared to his brother and said, “I have been saved through the most powerful Queen and the habit of that man as a shield.”
Many of the popes approved and recommended the Brown Scapular. It is remarkable that only 25 years after the Scapular vision Blessed Pope Gregory X was buried wearing the Scapular. When his tomb was opened in 1830, 554 years after his death, his Scapular was found intact. It is still preserved in the Arezzo (Italy) Museum today.
The two great founders of their own respective Orders, St. Alphonsus of the Redemptorists and St. Don Bosco of the Salesians, both had a very special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and both wore her Brown Scapular. Upon death, they were buried in their priestly vestments and Scapulars. Many years later their graves were opened. Their bodies and sacred vestments were completely decayed, but the Brown Scapular that each was wearing was perfectly intact. The Scapular of St. Alphonsus is on exhibit in his monastery in Rome.
St. Claude de la Colombiere, renowned Jesuit and spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary, said: "Because all the forms of our love for the Blessed Virgin, all its various modes of expression cannot be equally pleasing to her, and therefore do not assist us in the same degree to Heaven – I say without a moments hesitation that the Brown Scapular is the most favored of all!" He also adds: "No devotion has been confirmed by more numerous authentic miracles than the Brown Scapular."
The devils even revealed to Ven. Francis of Yepes, brother of the great Carmelite reformer St. John of the Cross, that three things especially tormented them. The first is the Name of Jesus; the second, the name of Mary; and third, the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. "Take off that habit," they cried to him, "which snatches too many souls from us. All those clothed in it die piously and escape us."
We should also give the Scapular to non-Catholics as Our Lady will bring conversions to those who will wear it and say one Hail Mary each day as the following true story will show: Unconscious and dying, an old man was rushed to the St. Simon Stock Hospital in New York City. The nurse, seeing the Brown Scapular on the patient, called the priest. As he was saying the prayers for the dying, the man became conscious and spoke up: "Father, I am not a Catholic." "Then why are you wearing the Brown Scapular?" asked the priest. "I promised my friends to wear it," the patient explained, "and say one Hail Mary a day." "You are dying," the priest told him. "Do you want to become a Catholic?" "All my life I wanted to be one," the gasping man replied. He was baptized, received the last rites and died in peace. Our Lady took another soul under her mantle – through her Scapular!
“Wear the Scapular devoutly and perseveringly. It is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.” – Our Lady of Mount Carmel