The Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel
Flower of Carmel,
Splendor of Heaven,
None equals Thee.
Who no man didst know,
On all Carmel children
Thy favors bestow,
Star of the Sea!
This is the only talk I wrote that I never presented to a group. I wrote this talk several years ago. While looking at it I realized I could add more material and information. I will mainly be writing about the brown scapular, but I will add information on the other five scapulars; the red, blue, black, green, and white scapulars.
Along with the rosary, I firmly believe that there is not a devotion closer to Our Lady's heart than her brown scapular. Of all the Church's sacramentals, it is the most highly indulgenced and there are more miracles associated with the brown scapular.
To begin with I would like to tell you a story found in a book on the scapular by Fr. Marianus Ventimiglia, published in 1773 in Naples. "In the early part of the thirteenth century, St. Dominic, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Angelus the Carmelite accidentally met one day on a street corner in Rome (a chapel still stands at the spot to commemorate this event). St. Dominic then uttered a famous prophecy: 'To my Order, the Blessed Virgin will entrust a devotion to be known as the rosary and to your Order, Angelus, she will entrust a devotion to be known as the scapular. One day, through the rosary and the scapular, she will save the world.'" 1 How this will come about, will be made clear, as I tell you the origin and history of the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Mount Carmel is on the northwestern coast of Palestine. The Hebrew word for Carmel means - 'beautiful gardenland'. Truly that is what Our Lady is, the beautiful garden that brought forth Jesus Christ, Our Savior.
The Origin of Carmel goes back to about 860 B.C. to the time of the prophet Elias and his victory over the pagan prophets and their god, Baal. I recommend reading 3 Kings chapter 18 for the complete story. Briefly though, the Jewish people had taken to worshipping false gods, especially the god Baal. Their evil King Achab had married the gentile, Jezebel, who worshipped Baal. The king built a temple to this pagan deity. When the prophets denounced him for this, he had them killed. Elias stood firm and challenged the prophets of Baal to gather on Mount Carmel to determine which God, Baal or the Lord was the true God. Each built a stone altar with firewood and a sacrificial bull upon it. The "God" who would send fire from Heaven upon the altar would be accepted as the true God.
The prophets of Baal prayed and danced and chanted all day to no avail. Elias, though before beginning his prayer poured gallons of water over his sacrifice, making it humanly impossible to light the fire. Elias called upon the Lord and immediately a bolt of lightening came down from heaven consuming the sacrifice and the stones of the altar.
The pagan prophets were killed and Elias went into hiding on Mount Carmel. Later a community of prophets joined him. They dwelt in caves, praying to God, living in peace.
Before coming into Europe, the Carmelites were hermits living on Mount Carmel in Palestine. They believed themselves to be the spiritual sons of Elias. They led a life of contemplation, modeled after the prophet. They were known for their devotion to God's Mother. So great was their devotion that they were known as the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. A title they gladly defended! Mary was their ideal, for she too, like Elias, kept all the things that God said to her in her heart, pondering them. At their profession they vowed their lives to God and to her.
Because of the Saracen invasion, they were forced to leave Palestine. St. Louis IX of France conducted them to Europe. As they were leaving they sang the Salva Regina. Our Lady appeared to them and promised to be their Star of the Sea. Along the way some stayed in Cyprus, others in Naples. Still some went to France to live. A few went on to England. Lord Richard de Grey gave them Alyesford in Kent.
It was in England that Simon Stock joined the group, later to be elected their first Vicar General. Many problems plagued the new order. The people made fun of the 'striped bedouin mantle'. Others felt there were enough religious orders already. To make matters worse there was internal strife and bickering between the older and younger monks.
By 1251, St. Simon realized that Our Lady was his only hope. With tears in eyes, he saluted her as the Flower of Carmel and the Star of the Sea. He prayed fervently for her "privilegium". The special protection a Lord gave to his vassals. The Lord would protect his life and property, in return for the loyalty of the one making the request.
In the 13th century there was no commerce or industry. Land was the only means of a livelyhood. The vassals paid homage to the Lord of the land. The Lords owned the land and by this act of homage the vassal was given the right to till the land. He was guaranteed the protection of the Lord.
The scapular was not something new to medieval Europe. It had been around since around 550, when the monastic orders came about. The two pieces of cloth joined at the shoulders and hanging down the back and breast had deep spiritual meaning. Our Lord said in the gospels, 'My yoke is sweet and my burden is light.' The monks by putting on this garment realized that the sweet burden of Divine service was upon him and the whole day was dedicated to God.
Faith and actual living were one in the middle ages. The monk presented himself to God, His Divine Master, just as a vassal presented himself to his lord 'to pay homage.' So too, did the friar make his vows to God.
As we have seen the idea of the scapular and the giving of yourself to another for protection was not a novel idea. Our Lady choose that which was traditional and widely practiced.
While praying, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, giving him the Brown Scapular saying to him:
"Receive, my beloved son, this habit of thy order: This shall be to thee and to all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire" 2
There are those today who say this apparition doesn't have the documentation to prove its validity. John Haffert in his book, "Mary in Her Scapular Promise," states that the documents were originally stored in the Carmelite libraries at Bordeaux and at London. A hundred years after the Vision, the library at Bordeaux was burned by the city officials to prevent the spread of the Black Plague. During the Anglican schism, Henry VIII ordered the London library burned to the ground.
But there is one document that is authentic. In 1389, the General of the Carmelite Order, John Grossi, wrote the book known as "The Viridarium". It is a catalogue of the Carmelite Saints and gives an accurate account of the Vision. John Grossi consulted and talked to companions of St. Simon. He had access to all the libraries in the Order. He explicitly declared that he wrote nothing in his Viridarium that was not from the ancient documents. 3
After Our Lady appeared to Saint Simon, almost immediately a miraculous change took place in the Order. The order was saved, its Marian character confirmed and Mary became more a Mother than a Queen to it. In the beginning only the Carmelites wore the scapular. But by the 14th century the privilege of wearing the scapular extended outside the order. Lay groups and third orders were formed. Some of these groups were called confraternities.
Still Our Lady continued to favor the Carmelite Order and her scapular with further blessings and promises. In 1321, St. Peter Thomas was told by Our Heavenly Mother that 'the Order of Carmel is destined to exist until the end of the world'. On March 3, 1322 an even greater favor was conferred. On this date Pope John XXII issued a Bull, "Sacratissimo uti Culmine". In it he stated that the Blessed Virgin appeared to him asking him, as Christ's Vicar on Earth, to ratify indulgences for the scapular already granted in Heaven. This has come to be known as the 'Sabbatine Privilege'. Our Heavenly Mother has promised to those who wear her brown scapular, observe chastity according to their state in life and daily recite the Office (members of the World Apostolate of Fatima are allowed to substitute the rosary for the Office), that "I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend into purgatory on the Saturday after their death and bring into heaven all confraternity members I find in purgatory ." 2
All who are enrolled in the Brown Scapular belong to the Confraternity.
Since Pope John XXII, many popes have ratified this privilege: Alexander V, Nicholas V, Sixtus IV, Clement VII, Paul III, St. Pius V, Clement VIII, Leo XI, Paul V, Urban VIII, Alexander VII, Benedict XIV, Pius VI, St. Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI.
This favor caused Pope Benedict XV to state: "Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the gospel; the armor, the Scapular of Mary which all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death."
One day at prayer, St. Teresa of Avila saw three souls flying straight to heaven. She recognized two of them, St. John of the Cross and St. Peter Alcantare. The third person she did not recognize, when suddenly she saw that person had on Our Lady's Brown Scapular. St. John of the Cross rejoiced to die on Saturday, because of this Sabbatine Privilege. Pope Pius XI said that everyone should strive for it. (The Sabbatine Privilege)
Yet it is so sad that very few people fulfill these conditions to obtain the privilege. St. Alphonsus de Liguori, a Doctor of the Universal Church, has stated that if the scapular wearer does only a little more than Mary requires to obtain the Sabbatine Privilege, he will never go to purgatory. Our Lady asks so little for such a great privilege. And for those of you who feel that going to purgatory is nothing, I strongly urge you to read the book, "Purgatory Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints" by Fr. F.X. Schouppe, S.J.
St. Alphonsus did more than Our Lady asked and on his death bed she came personally to take his soul straight to heaven. At his canonization, when his body was exhumed, everything was dust, except his brown scapular. I believe this was heaven's statement that God was pleased with St. Alphonsus and his devotion to Our Lady and her brown scapular.
But what is the meaning of the brown scapular? We cannot wear her scapular and live a sinful life. Our Lady's promise means at the hour of death we will receive the grace of final perseverance or the grace of final contrition. St. Alphonsus tells of the prostitute who heard of the scapular promise and wore it but continued in her life of sin. Years later as she lay dying, sick in a hospital, and all alone, she thought of her life and looked at her scapular. She called for a nurse and cried out: 'take off this scapular for surely the torments and fires of hell could not be worse than the pain it is causing me.' The nurse took off the scapular and the woman immediately died in her sins. Our Lady will not be mocked!
A person who wears the Brown Scapular, and continues to live a sinful life is committing another sin that borders on sacrilege. As we saw in the previous example, the person will not die wearing the scapular. As death approached, the scapular was the cause of her agony instead of being a source of consolation! Pope Pius XI warned the faithful that the Blessed Virgin loves all who love Her, nevertheless those who wish to have the Blessed Mother as a helper at the hour of death, must in life merit such a signal favor by abstaining from sin and laboring in Her Honor.
The Church teaches us that devotion must be founded on revealed truth. Revelations, such as this serve to focus our attention on some truth God has revealed. For Example; The Sacred Heart is not based on revelation to St. Margaret Mary, but on the Incarnation of the Word! The apparitions of Our Lady have called attention to her role in the redemption and to the old Christian doctrine of prayer and penance.
Scapular devotion is based on the spiritual motherhood of Mary. The Order's total dedication to her made the scapular a sign of consecration to her. This consecration consists of three things: homage, confidence, and love. When we wear her scapular we pay her homage and show that we have confidence in her promises. By doing this we show we love her as a Mother. Only a mother loves and protects her children as Mary protects and loves us. Mary is our spiritual Mother. The sign of her Maternal Motherhood is her brown scapular. The scapular has stood its test of time for over Seven centuries. The saints in paying her homage have come to realize that to find her is to find life in her Son and draw salvation from Him!
The spiritual significance of a garment is as old as humanity. After the fall, God clothed our first parents and the garments he gave them were the sign of His forgiveness. Jacob made a coat of diverse colors for his favorite son. Joseph and Anna made a coat for her son Samuel. A garment was the mark of close friendship between David and Jonathan. (1Kings 18:4) Jonathan stripped himself of the coat with which he was clothed and gave it to David. Elias cast his mantle upon Eliseus, there by appointing him to be the prophet in his place. St. Paul calls the human nature of Christ a Habit, while Jesus compared grace to a wedding garment. St. Paul again loved to say to put on Christ and to clothe ourselves with His virtues. But the greatest significance is the seamless garment Our Lady made herself for Our Lord. This was the same robe he wore to Calvary. I am sure Our Lord never looked at that garment without thinking about his mothers love and solitude she had for Him. 4
When Our Lord gave us Mary as our mother, one would almost expect her to have a garment for us. And she did! The special love she has for us is shown in the words of the prophet Ezechial: "And I passed thee by and saw thee: and behold thy time was the time of lovers: And I spread my garment over thee and covered thy ignominy and I swore to thee and entered into covenant with thee: and thou becomest mine." (Ex. 16:8)
"And thou becomest mine", these very words could only come from the very depths of the heart of a mother who loves us so. She brought us forth into the grace of life and wrapped us in her garment of special love. Just as she wrapped her first born Son, Jesus. Yet, the fact that she should cover our ignominy, that is our spiritual nakedness, is something only her merciful love can explain. St. Bernard explained her mercy when he wrote: "She is impetuous in mercy, she is resistless in mercy. The duration of her mercy is unto the end of the sinner's life. The broadness of her mercy is unto the limits of the earth. The height of her mercy is unto heaven. The depth of her mercy is unto the lowest abyss of sin and sorrow. She is always merciful. She is only merciful. She is our Mother of mercy."
In the book of Numbers it is written that God commanded Moses to address the following words: "Tell them to make to themselves fringes in the corners of their garments, putting in them bands of blue that when they shall see them they shall remember all the commandments of the Lord and not follow their own thoughts and eyes, going astray after diverse things." (Num. 15:38) So too, the scapular is a reminder that we as children of Mary, should not follow our own thoughts and eyes which could lead us astray, but obey the laws of God. Mary is not only our Mother, but our model on how we should love God!
One of the most beautiful scripture verses that refer to Mary is written in Ecclesiasticus. "Put thy feet into her fetters and thy neck into her chains. Bow down thy shoulder be not grieved with her bands. Come to her with all thy mind, and keep her ways with all thy power. Search for her and she shall be made known to thee and when thou has gotten her, let her not go: for in the latter end thou shalt find rest in her, and she shall be turned to thy joy. Then shall her fetters be a strong defense for thee, and a firm foundation, and her chain a robe of glory. For in her is the beauty of life and her bands are a healthful binding. Thou shalt put her on as a robe of glory and thou shalt set her upon thee as a crown of joy." (Ecc. 6:25-32) Those who are consecrated to Mary and love her as a child loves its own mother will always stay on the straight and narrow path that leads to heaven. If we could talk to the saints in heaven they would surely tell us that the surest and quickest way to heaven is through Mary, Our Mother!
When we wear her garment we should be inspired to lead a pure and holy life. For the words of eternal wisdom tell us this. "Her ways are beautiful - and all her paths are peaceable." (Prov. 3:17)
The Church teaches that we cannot merit the gift of final perseverance. This doctrine of the Church should make us more and more aware of God's great Mercy. The Church further teaches that devotion to the Mother of God is a pledge of eternal salvation. We can see this in Eccles. 6:31
"in her is the beauty of life and her bans are a salutary binding."
Our Lady stands behind her promise to those who wear her scapular. A priest tells how he saw Our Lady keep her promise in a town near Chicago. He was called to the bedside of a man who stayed away from the sacraments for many years. He would not see him or talk to him. The priest asked him to look at the scapular he was holding. "Will you wear this if I put it on you?" He asked nothing more and the man agreed. Within the hour the man wanted to go to confession and make his peace with God.
Another story of the scapular is told that on the very day St. Simon was given the scapular by Our Lady, he was called by Lord Peter of Linton. "Come quickly, father, my brother is dying in despair!" St. Simon placed his large scapular over the dying man and he repented immediately and died a friend 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."
St. Ignatius of Antioch, a martyr of the 2nd century writes of Our Lady: "A sinner can only be saved through the Holy Virgin, who by her merciful prayers, obtains salvation for so many, who according to strict justice, would be lost." St. Alphonsus says: "It is impossible that a servant of Mary be damned, provided he serves her faithfully and commends himself to her maternal protection. Thou canst relieve the most wretched and save the most abandoned." While St. Hilary said: "Even though one has been a sinner, if he has been devoted to Mary, he shall not perish for ever."
This statement is eloquently proven in the following story taken from the life of the Cure of Ars, St. John Vianney. The saint tells of a woman dressed in black and crying in the church. She was praying for her husband who had committed suicide. He had been very negligent in his religious duties. The Beloved saint said to her: "He is saved. He is in purgatory. We must pray for him. Between the parapet of the bridge and the water he had time to make an act of contrition. Our Lady obtained this grace for him even though he was irreligious because he sometimes joined you in your prayers at your May altar. This merited contrition and final pardon." The love and mercy Our Lady showed towards this poor sinner was so great, what will she do for those who are consecrated to her by wearing her brown scapular?
"God's love never deserts us", says St. Augustine. So too, Mary will never desert us, only at the gates of hell will she admit defeat! Our Lord once told St. Gemma Galgoni, that he was a rag picker of souls. He is forever picking souls from the filth of sin. Mary is there with Him lest in His justice He should turn away from anybody.
The Scapular for four centuries has been know as "Mary's Sacrament" while the German Catholics have called it the "grace-garment". To appreciate Mary's gift, let's go back in time before the scapular. We have St. Ephrem crying out: "O Mary! Take us under thy mantle!" While St. Bernard sighed: "O Mary! If we are thy devotees, we cannot be lost!" Our Lady's gift, the scapular is the very sign these saints cried out for. Saint Claude de la Colombiere declared that 'No other devotion renders our salvation so certain!' This saint who is known as the Apostle of the Sacred Heart is also known as the Apostle of the Scapular, so great was his devotion to Our Lady's garment. He wrote: "I wanted to know if Mary really and truly interested herself in me. And in the scapular she has given me the most tangible assurance; I have only to open my eyes: She has attached her protection to this scapular: 'Whosoever dies clothed in this shall not suffer eternal fire!'
The more recent popes have made many statements on the brown scapular. Pope Pius IX said: "This most extraordinary gift of the Scapular - from the Mother of God to Saint Simon Stock - brings its great usefulness not only to the Carmelite family of Mary but also to all the rest of the faithful who wish to be, affiliated to that family, to follow Mary with a very special devotion."
Pope Pius XI admitted, "I learnt to love the scapular Virgin from the arms of my mother!" This same Pontiff in a letter dated March 18, 1922 commemorating the sixth centenary of the sabbatine bull wrote: "It surely ought to be sufficient merely to exhort all the members of the confraternity to persevere in the holy exercises which has been prescribed for the gaining of the indulgences to which they are entitled, and particularly for the gaining of the indulgence which is the principal and greatest of them all, namely that called the sabbatine."
Pope Benedict XV told the seminarians of Rome about the scapular, "It enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death."
In 1950 Pope Pius XII wrote these famous words concerning the scapular: "Take this scapular which Our Lady has given as a sign of consecration to her Immaculate Heart. Go out and convince the world that it must be dedicated to the Blessed Virgin if it will find peace. Go out and through this scapular re-dedicate families especially to the Holy Mother of God, who has shown her graces so abundantly through this scapular."
Pope Paul VI in an official document wrote: "It is permitted to preach...that the Blessed Virgin will aid the souls of the Brothers and Sisters of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel after their death by Her continual intercession, by her suffrages and merits and by her special protection, especially on the day of Saturday, which is the day especially dedicated by the Church to the same Blessed Virgin Mary."
This same pontiff again stated during Vatican Council II: "You will make known Our will and Our exhortations which We base upon the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II, which is in complete conformity with Our thought and indeed upon which Our thought is based: ' That one ever hold in great esteem the practices and exercises of the devotion to the most Blessed Virgin which have been recommended for centuries by the teaching authority of the Church.' And among them We Judge well to recall especially the Marian Rosary and the religious use of the Scapular of Mount Carmel."
Digressing a little back to Pope St. Pius X, he declared that the cloth scapular, after enrollment, could be replaced by a medal which bore on one side an image of the Sacred Heart and on the other an image of Our Lady. He made this statement because of the missionaries in the torrid zones had asked it of him. During World War I, the medal was used almost solely by the soldiers in the filthy trenches. Yet St. Pius X stated: "I desire most vehemently that the cloth scapulars be worn as before." The scapular medal is not to be worn in place of the scapular for reasons of vanity! No miracle has ever been attributed to the wearing of the medal. These two small pieces of brown cloth have put out fires, been found intact in glowing embers, found miraculously intact in the tombs of saints. I will talk more of these miracles a little later.
Those who wear the medal rarely persevere in wearing it. Pope Pius X said: "I never intended that the medal be used at all in Europe and America." Pope Benedict XV granted a five hundred days indulgence each time the scapular is kissed! We should not wear the medal in place of the cloth, without a serious reason!
Many of the saints have worn Our Lady's garment. St. Teresa of Avila described herself as a member of "The Order of Our Lady of Carmel, whose habit I am privileged to wear though I am unworthy of it."
Ven. Francis Ypes (brother of St. John of the Cross) tells us that one day my scapular fell off. As I replaced it, the devil howled, 'take it off, take off the habit which snatches so many souls from us.' Ven. Francis then made the devil admit that there are three things which the demons are most afraid of: the Holy name of Jesus, the Holy name of Mary and the Holy Scapular of Carmel. Yet in the 20th century people refuse to admit in the existence of the devil. If they do believe in his existence, then he is a mere imagery that can not bother us. We are our own devil so to speak. We hear of incidents like Padre Pio and Ven. Brother Andre being diabolically assaulted (in the 20th century) and it goes completely unnoticed. In books we read about strange noises, unseen blows, curtains catching fire; these all attest to the hatred of an unseen enemy attacking the holiness of the Cure of Ars. We believe, but totally ignore the fact that this unseen enemy is also our enemy!
Pope Leo XI, when his scapular was accidently removed from his shoulders at the papal investiture cried out: "Leave me Mary, lest Mary leave me!" We see further evidence of Mary's protection in the following story: A french priest on pilgrimage to Einsiedeln, Switzerland was on his way to Mas when he remembered that he had forgotten his scapular. Although late, he returned to his room for it. While saying Mass, a young man approached the altar, pulled out a revolver and shot him in the back...but the priest continued to say Mass. In the sacristy, when the vestments were removed, the bullet was found adhering to his little brown scapular. The abbot exclaimed, "I thought the man missed you!"
St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit missionary in South America, devoted his ministry to black slaves. He baptized over 300,000 people and invested each one in the scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. St. Robert Bellarmine defended the use of Our Lady's scapular. He said: "Who would ever dare to snatch these children from the bosom of Mary, when they have taken refuge there? What power of hell, what temptation can over come them if they place their confidence in this great Mother, the Mother of God and of them?"
Saint Claude de la Colombiere stated that " I am never without a moments hesitation, that the scapular is the most favored of all. No devotion has been confirmed with so many authentic miracles as the scapular."
St. Alphonsus de Liguori, founder of the Redemptorist Fathers, not only wore the scapular, but urged his priests to enroll all who partook in the mission services in the scapular. As I stated earlier his brown scapular was found intact when they exhumed his body 53 years after his death.
St. Vincent Pallotti, founder of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate sent great quantities of scapulars to the foreign missions. His own scapular is preserved in Rome.
St. John Vianney was a great devotee of Our Lady and her brown scapular. He called the scapular one's safe guard against temptation. He tells the following story of a young woman preparing to enter a convent, who went to him for confession. He reminded her of a dance she had attended some time before at which a handsome young man had danced with many others but not her. The Cure, who had no way of knowing about the dance, reminded her of some blue flamelike light under the man's feet, which the woman remembered perfectly. The Cure told her "you were jealous of the others and hurt because this man would not dance with you. My dear, he was a demon and danced with those in serious sin. He kept away from you because you were wearing the Scapular."
Other saints who wore Our Lady's scapular were, St. Bernadette Soubirous, Pope St. Pius X, St. Francis Cabrini, St. Maximilian Kolbe, Fr. Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus. On the 100th anniversary of Fr. Mcgivney's death, his tomb was opened and his brown scapular was found perfectly preserved.
St. John Bosco, who died in 1888, while alive wore his brown scapular faithfully. In 1929, when his remains were examined, his brown scapular was found completely intact. Twenty-five years after the scapular was given to St. Simon, Pope Gregory X died. 600 years later, in 1830, his scapular was found to be intact. It can be seen, perfectly preserved in the Arezzo museum, in Italy.
At Fatima, on October 13, 1917, Our Lady performed the great miracle of the sun. While 70,000 people witnessed this miracle, the three children saw Our Lady with the Rosary; Our Lord; St. Joseph with Child Jesus; Our Lady in blue; and finally, Our Lady of Mount Carmel with the Brown Scapular. During this time no words were spoken. Sister Lucia later said: "Our Lady never looked so beautiful as when she appeared in Her Carmelite Habit." The very fact that she was holding the brown scapular tells us that she wants us to take it and use it! Sister Lucia again said: "Our Lady wants everyone to wear it! The Rosary and the scapular are inseparable!"
In the 13th century we had the Dominicans preaching the rosary, the Franciscans preaching penance and the Carmelites preaching the brown scapular. In 1917, Our Lady came to Fatima, Portugal asking us to pray the rosary, offer up our daily duties and to wear her brown scapular. Our Heavenly Mother has given us the tools we need to fight the world, the flesh and the devil! All we have to do is use them!
Now I will briefly go into the other scapulars. The red scapular, or the Scapular of the Passion was revealed in a series of apparitions of Our Lord to Sister Apolline Andriveau of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul from July 26, 1846 to September 14, 1846
The apparitions were the answer of our Lord in response to the prayer of His Blessed Mother. Sister Apolline tells that while making the stations of the cross, at the thirteenth station, Our Lady placed the Body of her Son in her arms. She said to Sister Apolline, "The world is drawing down ruin upon itself because it never thinks of the Passion of Jesus Christ. Do your utmost to bring it to meditate thereon, to bring about its salvation."
On July 26, 1846, Sister Apolline saw Our Lord clad in a long red robe and blue mantle. In His right hand He held a scapular upon which was a crucifix surrounded by those instruments of the Passion which caused His Sacred humanity to suffer most. The crucifix read, "Holy Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, protect us." At the other end of the red woolen braid was a picture of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Our Lord's surrounded with thorns, His Mother's pierced by a lance. Both were surmounted by a cross. On the back of the scapular were the same Sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary which appeared on the back of the Miraculous Medal. Above the Hearts was a cross; below were two angels similar to those on the front side. 5
Father Etienne, the spiritual director of Sister Apolline, went to Rome in 1847. Pope Pius IX gave his approval to the Scapular of the Passion.
On January 28, 1840 Our Blessed Mother appeared to Sister Justine Bisqueyburu. She was dressed in a long white gown which reached to her bare feet. She had on a light blue mantle but wore no veil. Her hair hung loose on her shoulders, and in her hands she held her heart, from the top of which abundant flames gushed out. Our Lady appeared to her again on September 8, 1840 except this time she held her heart in her right hand and a green scapular in her left hand. On one side of the scapular was Our Lady as she had appeared to Sister Justine. On the other side was a heart all ablaze. The heart was pierced by a sword and encircled with the following inscription surmounted by a gold cross: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death." An interior voice informed her that this scapular was to be used for the conversion of souls, to bring Her Son into the Hearts of men.
Investiture is not necessary with this scapular, it need only be blessed by a priest. It is to be worn by one for whom it is intended or may be placed in the clothing, on the bed or simply in the room. It was approved by Pope Pius IX in 1863 and in 1870.
The Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception is a representation of the large blue habit worn by the Theatine congregation of religious. It is a sign of protection of Mary for the Theatines, who are especially devoted to the Immaculate Conception. When you wear this scapular, you honor Our Lady under this title. The chief virtue characterized by those who wear this scapular is Purity.
The Theatine Order was founded September 14, 1542 by St. Cajetan of Thiene, Bishop John Peter Caraffa (later Pope Paul IV), Boniface de Colle and Paul Consigliere. The spirit of their order can be stated in one sentence. Seek first the Kingdom of God.
The Blue Scapular was given by Our Lady to Venerable Ursula Benincasa, foundress of the Theatine Sisters in Naples, Italy on February 2, 1617. She appeared in a white gown with a blue veil, holding the Divine Infant. Our Heavenly Mother requested that Venerable Ursula listen attentively to what Jesus was going to say to her. The Infant Jesus commanded Venerable Ursula to build a convent for 33 cloistered virgins and to 'pray and do penance for the conversion of sinners.' Their habit was to be like the one worn by His Immaculate Mother, in honor of her. This would signify her protection and blessings for themselves and obtain for sinners forgiveness of their sins and God's mercy upon the world. Venerable Ursula then asked of Our Lord the same privilege for those who in accordance with their state in life, wear the Blue Scapular. Venerable Ursula was then shown a vision of a great number of angels distributing these scapulars over the whole earth. A scene depicting this vision is in the Convent of the Theatine Sisters in Naples. When wearing the scapular, we should pray for the conversion of sinners, God's mercy upon the world, and for the poor souls in Purgatory.
The convent accepted the Theatine rule and in 1663 the Theatine Order accepted it as one of its branches. Venerable Ursula made and promoted the Blue Scapular.
Many indulgences are attached to this scapular. You need to be invested in the scapular by a priest who has the faculties to invest, you must be in the state of grace and you must prayer six times, the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory be to the Father. When we do this we gain all the indulgences of the seven principal churches in Rome, of the churches of Portiuncula of Jerusalem, and of St. James of Compostella in Spain.
To obtain this scapular write to: Theatine Fathers, St. Andrew Avelino Seminary. 1050 South Birch Street, Denver, Colorado 80222.
The White Scapular has its origins with the Order of the Most Holy Trinity or the Trinitarians. Their founder, St. John de Matha, was celebrating his first mass on January 28, 1193, when Our Lord appeared to him. He stood between two captives, one black and one white, the latter upholding a cross: a vertical red bar over a blue horizontal bar on a white background. This (and subsequent revelations and visions including the image of the tricolor cross) inspired St. John to found the Order of the Most Holy Trinity (for the redemption of the Christian Captives); his Order and its Rule (which he composed) were formally approved by Innocent III (in a papal bull, Operante Divine dispositionis, dated December 17, 1198).
In 1202, on the coast of North Africa, the Blessed Virgin, wearing the scapular, appeared to St. John; as Our Lady of Good Remedy (the Patroness of the Order, by papal designation). She has since thus been represented and honored. A mosaic on the wall of the Order's first hospital, San Tommaso in Formis (1209) -- on the Coelian hill, in Rome -- depicted the founder's original apparition of Christ the Redeemer between two slaves; the mosaic has been preserved and together with the small room in which St. John de Matha died in 1213 may be seen today. A replica of this mosaic serves as the official seal of the Order.
The three colors of the scapular symbolize the three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity. The white, which is the primary color and is the background of the other colors, denotes God the Father, the beginning without beginning. The blue, a mixture of light and dark, represents the Son, whose two natures (Divine and Human) are united in One Person. The red, like the tongues of fire which appeared to the Apostles on Pentecost, symbolize the Holy Spirit, who is the essential love of Father and Son.
The Trinitarian tricolor for over 500 years, has served as a universally recognized symbol for the liberation of captives. Interestingly enough, these colors may have indirectly influenced the choice of the colors for the American Flag in 1775. The Trinitarians' ransoming work was well known to our founding fathers. Thomas Jefferson was a friend of Fr. Francois-Maurice Pichault, Minister General of the Order. He visited with him in Paris on January 10, 1787 and again in 1790, in hopes of having the Trinitarians ransom 21 American seamen being held captive at Algiers. Secretary John Jay favored the Plan, Adams stood opposed and Washington remained undecided.
To wear the scapular, you must be invested by a priest with the faculties to do so and exercise particular devotion to the Holy Trinity. The order has priests, brothers and sisters and lay members (a third order). The Order has many saints, with Blessed Anna Maria Taigi and St. Benedict J. Labre both being Trinitarian Lay members. 6
To obtain this scapular write to: The Trinitarians, Order of the Most Holy Trinity, P.O. Box 5719, Baltimore, MD._21208-0719.
The Black scapular of Our Lady of Sorrows has its beginnings with the Order of the Servants of Mary or the Servite Order. In the year 1233, seven merchants, retired to form a community just outside the city of Florence. This was to lay the foundation for the Order of the Servants of Mary. St. Peter of Verona, a Dominican preacher, gave this group of men their rule, the Augustinian Rule of prayer, fasting and holding goods in common. They were one of the few orders of Mary. Their seal bore the image of the Virgin with the child Jesus in her arms.
The record of the Order, the 'Legenda de origine Ordinis Fratrum Servorum', was written by St. Philip Benizi. This record describes St. Peter Verona's association with the Servants of Mary. It tells how St. Peter Verona turned to Mary, together with the Seven and prayed to know her wish for the order. Our Lady appeared to him in his sleep and told him that she herself had chosen the Seven to serve her and to found an order dedicated to her. She showed him the habit they were to wear as a sign "of her humility and open proof of the sorrow which she endured in the most bitter passion of her Son." 7 St. Peter Verona advised the group, gave them the rule of St. Augustine, confirmed their title, Servants of Mary and on behalf of the Virgin, gave them the black habit which they still wear today.
St. Philip Benizi was the first saint of this new order. (He was canonized 1671). He joined the order in 1254 as a lay brother. Later he was ordained a priest and went on to become prior general in 1267. He was instrumental in the conversion of Peregrine Laziosi, who joined the order and became St. Peregrine, patron saint of cancer sufferers. St. Philip's call to join this particular order is a very interesting story.
Philip had gone into a church to pray, while there he heard words spoken to him from the crucifix: "Go to the high hill where the Servants of My Mother are living and you will be doing the will of my Father." The next day he went to the Servite Church at Caffaggio. Kneeling in front of the icon of the Annunciation he received a vision in which he saw himself in a desolate place. The road was deserted and dangerous. He cried for help and the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him. She was borne up on a four wheeled chariot fashioned in gold and drawn by a lion and a lamb, with a dove hovering above. Philip was deeply troubled by the vision and the following night, Our Lady appeared to him in a dream telling him to seek out her Servants.
He went to Fra Bonfilius, the Prior and one of the seven founders, for help and guidance. Fra Bonfilius told Philip the road represented the vain pleasures of the world, while the chariot symbolized the Servite Order. The Dove stood for evangelical poverty, and the lion and the lamb represented strength and gentleness. He further told him that the four wheels of the chariot symbolized the Gospels upon which the friars based their lives. 8
The Seven founders were canonized in 1888, with their feast day on February 17. To obtain more information on the Rules of the Confraternity of Our Lady of the Seven Dolors and the Black scapular write to: Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, Servite Friars, 3121 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60612.
There is one other scapular that needs to be mentioned.. It is the Scapular of the Sacred Heart, better known as the badge of the Sacred Heart. The scapular was presented to Pope Pius IX by a lady who had made it. He looked at the scapular and said, "Madame, this is a thought from heaven."He stopped, reflected for a while and then added: "With all my heart I bless this little heart, and I will that all those which may be made after this model, shall receive my blessing, without it being necessary for any other priest to give it. Moreover, I will that in no way shall the devil have power to hurt those who shall wear this little heart."
He then directed the following prayer to be written and especially prayed in times of great distress. "Open to me thy Sacred heart, O Jesus! Show me its charms, and unite me with it forever; may every breath and every pulsation of my heart, which cease not during my sleep, be to Thee a testimony of my love, and say to Thee unceasingly, 'Yes, Lord I love Thee.' Accept the little good that I do; grant me grace to repair my evil ways, that I may praise Thee in time and bless Thee for all eternity!"
Mary in Her Scapular Promise by John M. Haffert. The Scapular Press, Sea Isle City, New Jersey, 1942.
The Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel by Father Barry Bossa,_S.A.C. The Ave Marie Institue Press. Washington, New Jersey, 1987.
The Scapular of Carmel by Most Rev. E. K. Lynch, O. Carm. The Ave Marie Institute, Washington, New, Jersey, 1973.
Fatima The Great Sign by Francis Johnston. Tan Publishers Inc. Rockford, Illinois, 1980.
The Mother of God and Her Glorious Feasts by Fr. H. O'Lavaerty, B.A. Tan Publishers Inc. Rockford, Illinois_1987.
The Green Scapular and Its Favors by Marie Edouard Mott, C.M. Marian Center, Emmitsburg, Maryland 1961
Chapter 3 Footnotes
1 Francis Johnston, (Rockford,_Illinois, Tan Publishers Inc., 1980) p. 111
2 John M. Haffert, (Sea Isle City, New Jersey,: The Scapular Press 1942) p. 10
3 Ibid., p. 28-29
4 Most Rev. E. K. Lynch, O.Carm., (Washington, New Jersey,: Ave Marie Press, 1973) p. 8
5 Marian Center, (Emmitsburg, Maryland,: Marian Center) Leaflet
6 Information on the white scapular obtained from the Trinitarian Fathers in Baltimore, Maryland.
7 Marie Ni Chearbhaill, (London, Servite Friars, 1986) p. 19
8 Stewart Foster OSM, (London, The Catholic Truth Society, 1986) p. 5
9 Fr. Frances Deligney, S.J., translated by Mrs. J. Sadlier, ( New York, Gay Brothers and Co., 1877) p. 300