The Green Scapular
Ten years after the manifestation of the Miraculous Medal to St. Catherine Laboure, the Blessed Virgin Mary, on September 8, 1840, the Feast of her Nativity, entrusted the Green Scapular of her Immaculate Heart to Sister Justine Bisqueyburu, a religious of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Our Lady promised that this new Scapular would contribute to the conversion of souls, particularly those who have no faith, and would procure for them a happy death.
The Green Scapular is a single piece of green felt and braid with an image of Mary on one side and Her Immaculate Heart pierced by a sword and dripping blood on the other side. Her Heart is surmounted by a cross and encircled by the words: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death." The Green Scapular is truly a remarkable piece of cloth. The devil has no power over whoever makes it, wears it or spreads devotion to it. All who wear the Green Scapular confirm to the evil one, that they are agents of the Mother of God and the devil knows he is powerless to hurt them. God wills the Green Scapular to become a badge . . . a most sure barrier to the evil one's assault upon the soul.
The manner of using the scapular was indicated by the Blessed Virgin. Since it is not the emblem of a confraternity but simply a double image attached to a single piece of cloth, no investiture is necessary. The only requirement is that the Green Scapular be blessed by a priest and worn or carried by the person wishing to benefit by it. If however, the person in need of grace is obstinate, the Green Scapular may be placed secretly inside his clothing, home or possessions, and the giver should say the prayer instead. The only prayer necessary, which may be said many times daily, but should be said at least once a day is: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death." Although many graces are obtained, they are proportionate to the confidence with which it is given. The Green Scapular was approved by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1863 and again in 1870. He said: " write to these good Sisters that I authorize them to make and distribute it."
Rev. Leo Steinbach�s experiences with the
When I first came in contact with this devotion, I read an explanation which seemed to give the impression that it was intended only for lax Christians. I thought it might be useless for me since I had very little contact with Christians, be they good, bad or indifferent. My contacts were mostly with Buddhists and Shintoists whom I was trying to christianize. However I put a few scapulars in my pocket and decided to try one out. That very day I went to a nearby hospital where I discovered a non-Christian woman patient who had been unconscious for 10 days previously. The doctor explained to me that she would very probably die within three days without regaining consciousness. He and a nurse escorted me to the room. I addressed the sick woman but she gave no indication whatsoever that she understood a word I was saying. Thereupon I took a green scapular from my pocket, applied it to her forehead and repeated the invocation, "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death."
And what happened? The woman immediately regained consciousness, joined her hands and very devoutly asked God to forgive her sins. I was amazed. The doctor and the nurse both non-Christians were also flabbergasted. I immediately instructed and baptized the dying patient that same day much to her joy. She remained perfectly conscious for three days more during which time she very devoutly received Holy Viaticum. She breathed her last while praying to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Another incident is related: An 80-year-old non-Christian lady said she would like to visit the church in her vicinity but she was unable to walk because of arthritis. Every winter both her ankles and wrists were swollen and very painful. She was given a green scapular which she applied daily but since she could not remember the prayer she merely asked the Mother of Christ for help. Within a few days she was completely cured. After a brief instruction and Baptism, she attended mass daily and always received Holy Communion. She kept up this habit for two years until she was called to her reward. During this interval she converted her aged friend who lived just across the street from her home and she had the happiness of being her godmother. Her good husband, a staunch Shintoist, also treasured his green scapular but no one could induce him to become a Christian. However, just three days before he died, he had a change of heart. He died very happily after receiving the sacraments.
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