It is August in Fatima and the weather is hot. For a man from San Diego, who lived within walking distance to the beach for 40 years, it was time to hit the beach in Nazare. I spent two days at the beach where I encountered thousands of Portuguese People in bathing suits for the first time. I had spent many weeks on the beach in the south of Portugal in the Algarve, but that is more English than Portuguese.
A problem did not occur to me in the Algarve but it did in Nazare. Almost all the people in Nazare are Portuguese families enjoying the beach together. In all those thousands of people the only Scapular I saw was on me. I wear a very large unbreakable brown Scapular. What I noticed walking the boardwalk is that everyone was looking at my Scapular and I am sure they did not know what it was. In the states, when asked, I said it is a poor man's gold chain. Here in Portugal, everyone should know, for everyone is Catholic and everyone knows Fatima.
These people, so dedicated to Our Lady and living in a country so blessed by Our Lady down through the centuries from Her First Apparition in 732 AD, do not know what the Scapular of Our Lady is.
Mrs. June Dora had sent me two beautiful Ladder Rosaries. I gave one to Sister Isabelle at the Carmelite Convent in Coimbra and the other I took around Fatima seeing if anyone had ever heard of it. No one did. My intention was to see if there was a market for them, but what I noticed was that there were no Scapulars in the stores. I ran into one of the major distributors for the rosaries and statues and talked at great length with him regarding the Ladder Rosary and the Scapular. Not only did he not sell the Scapular; he did not even know what it was.
This is Fatima. This is the greatest Marian Shrine in the world. No Scapulars? I need help! Our Lady needs help! We need Scapulars, strong ones, and cards that explain the Scapular. I will make posters to hold the cards and the Scapulars and in time have them made here, but at first Fatima needs Scapulars. The following is a suggested poster with the proper pictures of Our Lady.
"Whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire"
Our Lady to St. Simon Stock
"One day, through the rosary and the scapular, she will save the world."
At Fatima, on October 13, 1917, Our Lady performed the great miracle of the sun. While more than 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. The very fact that she was holding the brown scapular tells us that she wants us to take it and use it!
"The Rosary and the scapular are inseparable!"
HISTORY OF THE BROWN SCAPULAR
Mount Carmel is on the northwestern coast of Palestine. The Origin of Carmel goes back to about 860 B.C. to the time of the prophet Elias.
Elias founded a community of prophets on Mount Carmel. When Christianity came to Palestine they became known as the Carmelites hermits, the spiritual sons of Elias. They led a life of contemplation, modeled after Elia, and 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.
At the time of the Saracen invasion, they were forced to leave for Europe. In England Simon Stock, their first Vicar General prayed to Our Lady for Her protection. It was 1251 AD. While praying, Our Lady appeared giving him the Brown Scapular and promising:
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."
All who are enrolled in the Brown Scapular belong to the Confraternity.
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!
For a complete story of the Brown Scapular read "Doorway To Heaven" by Katie Moran in this web site.