Crusades in Palestine:he brought back with him a group of religious
from the holy mountain of Carmel. Upon arrival, the baron generously
presented the monks with a manor house in the town of Aylesford. Ten
years later, in the very place, there occurred the now famous
apparition of Our Lady to St. Simon Stock. As the Holy Virgin handed
St. Simon the Brown Woolen Scapular she spoke these words: "This
shall be the privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying
in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire." In time, the Church
extended this magnificent privilege to all the laity who are willing
to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites, and who
perpetually wear it.
Many Catholics are invested in the Brown Scapular at the time of
their First Holy Communion; in the case of converts, the vesting
concurs with their Profession of Faith. When a person is enrolled in
the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular and vested in that tiny habit
of brown wool, the priest says to him: Receive this blessed Scapular
and ask the Most Holy Virgin that, by Her merits, it may be worn with
no stain of sin and may protect you from all harm and bring you into
everlasting life. The following true stories will give a brief idea
of how Our Blessed Mother keeps Her promise.
MIRACLE OF GRACE
A priest relates how one day in a town near Chicago he was called to
the bedside of a man who had been away form the Sacrament for many
years. "The man did not want to see me: he would not talk. Then I
asked him to look at the little Scapular I was holding. 'Will you
wear this if I put this on you?' I ask nothing more. He agreed to
wear it and within the hour he wanted to go to confession and make
his peace with God. This did not surprise me, because for 700 years
Our Lady has been working in this way through Her Scapular."
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 for the bedside
of the dying man. Upon arrival he placed his large Scapular over the
dying man, asking 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
St. Alphonsus tell us: "Modern heretics make a mockery of wearing the
Scapular, they decry it as so much trifling nonsense." Yet many of the
popes have approved and recommended it.
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 600 years after his death, his Scapular was found intact.
PROTECTION AGAINST THE DEVIL
You will understand why the Devil works against those who promote the
Scapular when you hear the story of Ven. Francis Ypes. One day his
Scapular fell off. As he replaced it, the devil howled, "Take off the
habit which snatches so many souls from us!"
Then and there Francis 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. To that list
we could add the Holy Rosary.
OUR LADY PROTECTS A MISSIONARY
One day in 1944, a Carmelite missionary in the Holy Land was called
to an internment camp in order to give the Last Rites. The Arab
driver made the priest get off the bus four miles from the camp
because the road was dangerously muddy. After two miles, the
missionary found his feet sinking deeper and deeper into the mire.
Trying to get solid footing he slipped into a muddy pool. Sinking to
his death in this desolate place, he thought of Our Lady and Her
Scapular. He kissed his great Scapular -- for he was wearing the full
habit -- and looked toward the holy mountain of Carmel, the birthplace
of devotion to God's Mother. He cried out, "Holy Mother of Carmel!
Help me! Save me!" A moment later, he found himself on solid ground.
Later he said, "I know I was saved by the Blessed Virgin through Her
Brown Scapular. My shoes were lost in the mud, and I was covered with
it, but I walked the remaining two miles praising Mary."
A TRAIN ACCIDENT
One of the most extraordinary of all Scapular incidents took place
right here in the United States. It happened around the turn of the
century in the town of Ashtabula, Ohio, that a man was cut in two but
a train; he was wearing the Scapular. Instead of dying instantly, as
would be expected he remained alive and conscious for 45 minutes --
just enough time until a priest could arrive to administer the Last
Sacraments. These, and other such incidents, tell us that Our Blessed
Mother will take personal care of us in the hour of our death. So
great and powerful a Mother is Mary that She will never fail to keep
the Scapular contract, i.e. to see that we die in God's grace.
NECESSITY OF WEARING THE SCAPULAR
During the Spanish civil war in the 1930s, seven Communists were
sentenced to death because of their crimes. A Carmelite priest tries
to prepare the men for death; they refused. As a last resort, he
brought the men cigarettes food and wine, assuring them that he would
not talk religion, in a short while they were all friendly, so he
asked them for one small favor: "Will you permit me to place a
Scapular on each of you?" six agreed, one refused. Soon all Scapular
wearers went to confession. The seventh continues to refuse. Only to
please them he put on the Scapular, he would do nothing more. Morning
came, and as the time of the execution came near, the seventh man made
it clear that he was not going to ask for a priest. Although wearing
the Scapular he was determined to go to his death an enemy of God.
Finally, the command was given, the firing squad did its deadly work,
and seven lifeless bodies lay sprawled in the dust. Mysteriously a
Scapular was found approximately 50 paces from the bodies. Six men
died WITH Mary's Scapular; the seventh died Without the Scapular. St.
Claude gives us the solution to the mystery of the missing Scapular:
"You ask; what if I desire to die in my sins?" I answer, "Then you
will die in your sins but YOU WILL NOT DIE IN YOUR SCAPULAR." St.
Claude tells the story of a man who tried to drown himself three
times. He was rescued against his will. At last he realized that he
was wearing his Scapular. Determined to take his life, he tore the
Scapular from his neck and leaped into the water. Without Mary's
protective garment he accomplished his wish and died in his sins.
In wearing the Scapular at all times we make silent petition for the
Blessed Mother's continual assistance. We share in all the prayers
and good works of the Carmelite Scapular Confraternity throughout the
world. Pope Pius XII often spoke of the Scapular. On the 700th
anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady to St. Simon Stock, Pope
Pius XII referred to the Scapular as "the sign of Consecration to the
Immaculate Heart of Mary". The Scapular also represents the sweet yoke
of Jesus Christ, which Mary helps us to bear. And finally, the pope
continued, the Scapular marks us as one of Mary's chosen children,
and becomes for us (as the Germans call it) a "Garment of Grace". St.
Claude tells us, "Of all the pious practices which have inspired the
faithful to honor the Mother of God, there is none so sure as that of
the Scapular. No other devotion has been confirmed by so many and such
As we mentioned above, during the Scapular Anniversary celebration in
Rome in 1951, Pope Pius XII told a very large audience to wear the
Brown Scapular as a sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of
Mary. Our Lady asked for this consecration in the last apparition at
Fatima, when She appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding the
Brown Scapular out to the whole world. It was Her last moving appeal
to souls to wear Her Scapular as a sign of consecration to Her
A BRIEF SUMMARY
The Scapular is a habit -- Our Lady's habit. The Scapular must be
worn over the shoulders in such a manner that one part hangs in front
of the body and the other at the back. Worn in any other way, it
carries no indulgence or promise. It is not necessary to wear the
Scapular next to the skin. Many Catholics may not know it is the wish
of the Holy Father the Pope, that the Scapular Medal should not be
worn in place of the Cloth Scapular without sufficient reason. Mary
cannot be pleased with anyone who substitutes the medal out of
vanity, or out of fear of making open profession of faith. Such
persons run the risk of not receiving the Promise. The medal has
never been noted for any of the miraculous preservations attributed
to the Brown Cloth Scapular.