Thursday, June 7, 2007

Heaven's Promises ~ Brown Scapular

The brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the most popular scapular in the Catholic Church today. In the Middle Ages, a scapular was a full-length garment (apron) worn over the monk's or nun's habit, the color signifying the particular religious order. The brown scapular was revealed to St. Simon Stock, the Prior General of the Carmelite order in 1247. The Virgin Mary appeared to him and gave him the brown scapular and associated promises as a result of his pledge of complete loyalty to her (known as a privilegium). The smaller version (pictured above) of the scapular is worn by lay persons.

I always purchase them here. A new one itches slightly for a day or so, then you don't even know its there. My children were all enrolled shortly after First Communion and wear one all the time. I admit openly I have to constantly remind them though "Are you wearing your scapular?" Answer, "uh...I think I left it in the bathroom/my backpack/my school locker/on my dresser/insert any various place..." They wear it willingly, but as children do, forgetfully. I pray they are more mindful as adults. My husband and I have a number of them, one nicer one for everyday, and a whole bunch of tattered ones for running and working out. We wear them at all times except when swimming or bathing. I used to also wear a scapular medal, but the nonstop clanging against my Miraculous Medal drove me nuts.

Saints and popes throughout the ages have worn and encouraged wearing of the brown scapular, and many miraculous events have attested to the value of the sacramental (the scapular worn by Blessed Pope Gregory X, who died in 1276, was found intact in 1830). Pope John Paul II wore the brown scapular from the time of his First Communion until his death. When I read this in a bio of our Late Great Pope, I went right out and got one myself. If the Pope wears one, so should we all.


1. Wear the Brown Scapular (or scapular medal) after enrollment*

2. Observe chastity according to your state in life

3. Recite the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary or five decades of the Rosary daily (usual requirements)


1. "...whosoever dies wearing this (the brown scapular) shall not suffer eternal fire" (Virgin Mary's promise to St. Simon)

2. Partial indulgence granted by Pope Benedict XV to those who devoutly kiss their scapular.

3. Sabbatine Priviledge: release from purgatory on the first Saturday after death (revelation by the Virgin to Pope John XXII in 1322). Please note that much controversy has surrounded this 'promise' since its promotion by some early Carmelites. The modern Order does not recognize this as legitimate. It is mentioned here for informational purposes.

Your thoughts and practices on the Brown Scapular to the combox please!


El Duque said...

Hi Belle-
Good post. We wear our scapulars and the kids occasionally do. Nothing stays on them for long, especially the boys. Got mine from, very nice, and they are a little different but handmade by the good sisters and very beautiful. I can't wear medals though my wife does.

It seems always a reminder. Kissing it when putting it on in the morning is now part of my routine and I feel as empty without that now as I do without my rosary in my pocket.

Sanctus Belle said...

Chris - I've looked at those scapular and they are beautiful.

According to several readings on the brown scapular, although the medal is allowed by the Church, there are no recorded miracles associated with one. Check out Rose Scapular Co. they have (or did the last time I checked) a list of several miracles associated with thier scapulars related to them by customers. I once called them due to an error in my order and the lady who answered the phone related they will have a strong scent of roses around and the get nearly daily calls about miracles obtained.

We don't appreciate this sacramental enough!

swissmiss said...

Sanctus Belle:
My father was devoted to Our Lady. Wore the scapular for as long as I can remember and said the Divine Office and Rosary daily. Days before he passed away, he told me he was blessed with perfect contrition. I am certain his fidelity to Our Lady was repaid in abundance since he died with such grace and peace. It was remarkable. Even my husband's non-religious family commented about it.
Recently, I have had two very good priests I respect tell me two completely different things on the Sabbatine Privilege. I wish it wasn't so confusing.

swissmiss said...

Sorry to post again. I just found in my notes from a conversation I had with a friend, supposedly Pope John XXII in 1322 issued a papal bull (encyclical) that states that those who followed certain conditions relating to the Scapular would be released from Purgatory, through Our Lady's intercession, on the Saturday after death (Sabbatine Privilege). I have not tracked this encyclical down yet, although might be a place to start.

Like you said, this is an incredibly powerful sacramental, with or without the Sabbatine Privilege.

I have never ordered scapulars from the company you mentioned. Will have to check them out.

Sanctus Belle said...

I personally believe in the Sabbatine Priviledge as we cannot fathom God's mercy and generosity. He is so generous with His graces, we have only to avail ourselves of them!

Simon-Peter Vickers-Buckley said...

I am not sure where this medal business comes from? I thought it had to be an actual scapular and the scapular has to be wool UNLESS for a legitimate reason (dangers of work, medical issues) one could not wear a wool scapular and thus a medal or scapular in plastic would do.

The Sabbatine privilege.

One can only imagine (lets assume it IS false) the millions of Catholics who think and have thought it true. This could well be one of those moments when God Himself says "let it be done to you according to your faith."

I suppose it may depend on whether it was the or a motivating factor to begin the practice, or whether one simply looks on it as a gift that didn't actually cause on to begin.

For the life of me I do not understand why all Catholics do not wear the Brown Scapular.

My experience with priests is that most of them are clueless about it though.

Anonymous said...

Hi, nice site you have here.
Have you heard of Our Lady of America? A movement is afoot to get her requests granted. It has the backing of a few Bishops in the U.S. you can read about the apparitions and her requets at and spread the word!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this site. I have a devotion to Our Lady of Mt Carmel. If anyone is interested... you can get a free brown scapular at

Elisa said...

I went to the website to check out the scapulars. I want to start wearing one again. If I was enrolled in the brown scapular with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on it, do I have to get that one? Or could I get one with St. Therese on it?

Una Mariah said...

Everyone in my family wears the Brown Scapular, except the baby.