Hello Rosary Lovers! The Brown Scapular is a very popular and old Catholic devotion, dating from the 13th century.
But what is the Brown Scapular? Let’s find out in this post.
The Scapular in a nutshell
There are a number of scapulars in the Church now. But the original Brown Scapular is by far the most popular and is by far the most richly indulgenced.
The picture above is my Brown Scapular. I bought it for a very small amount and it has lasted many months of continual wear. I wear it everyday, and even sleep with it. The only times I take it off are for things like showers and swimming.
The essence of the Brown Scapular is that it is worn all the time as a total consecration to Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Mary promises that all who die wearing her Scapular will not be lost.
The Scapular is a sign of salvation. All who wear it can be confident of salvation so long as they continue to wear it.
As such, merely wearing the Brown Scapular is probably one of the easiest ways to find salvation that the Catholic Church offers. Think of it. You just have to wear it and not take it off, even when you’re dying.
What is Enrollment?
To wear the Brown Scapular successfully, you must be enrolled by a Catholic priest.
Enrollment into the Brown Scapular is enrollment into the Brown Scapular Confraternity. This can be done by any Catholic priest, and it automatically grants entrace into the Confraternity.
Those enrolled in the Scapular and who wear it constantly will enjoy all the spiritual benefits of the entire Carmelite order! There could hardly be an easier way to enjoy many spiritual blessings.
How do you wear the Scapular?
You place it over the head, so that one part of the wool is hanging down your back and the other part is hanging on your front.
It is typical to wear it against the skin, so that it is under your clothes, but apparently this isn’t necessary and it can be worn over clothing.
It’s a silent and secret consecration to Mary.
Recommendations for the Scapular
Pope Paul VI: ‘Let the faithful hold in high esteem the practices and devotions to the Blessed Virgin approved by the teaching authority of the Church. It is Our conviction that the Rosary of Mary and the Scapular of Carmel are among these recommended practices. The Scapular is a practice of piety, which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone.’
Pope Leo XIII: ‘The Carmelite Scapular’s nobility of origin, its extraordinary spread among Christian peoples for many centuries, the spiritualizing effects produced by it and the outstanding miracles worked in virtue of it render the Scapular of Carmel commendable to a wondrous degree.’
St Alphonsus Liguori: ‘Those who say the Rosary daily and wear the Brown Scapular, and do a little more, will go straight to heaven.’
Servant of God Lucia Santos (one of the seers of Fatima): ‘Our Lady wants all to wear the Scapular. The Scapular and the Rosary are inseparable.’
Mary’s words to St Dominic: ‘One day, through the Rosary and Scapular, I will save the world.’
My Experience Wearing the Scapular
I find wearing the Brown Scapular an immense comfort.
I discovered that the Scapular often goes hand-in-hand with praying the Rosary. Since I was praying the Rosary a lot, it made sense to look into this other Marian devotion.
I did a little research into it and found it a very attractive devotion. I particularly liked the element of enrollment by a Catholic priest which is a necessary part of beginning to wear it.
I felt like this granted official access into a kind of spiritual ‘club’ within the Church, and I wanted to be part of it for such little personal cost to myself.
So I bought a Scapular and tried it out to see if I could tolerate the feel of the material on my skin constantly.
It was fine, and so I asked my local priest to enroll me into the Scapular.
My priest got hold of the prayers and we did it one morning after Sunday Mass. My priest also sprinkled holy water on the Scapular and then put it on me. It felt like quite a big step forward for me in my devotion to Mary.
Since that time, I have noticed a clear improvement in life. Life is sweeter when wearing the Scapular. You feel like Mary is with you in a special way.
I often wonder why it is that every Catholic doesn’t just buy one and get enrolled and wear it. It’s such a simple way to become a saint. It’s not like you’re being asked to pray a thousand Hail Marys everyday, or having to crawl on your knees through Rome to the Vatican. You just have to wear the Scapular. Super easy.
The other day I went to work and forgot to put on my Scapular after taking a shower. I had a tangible sense all day that something was missing, there was an obvious emptiness.
All day I felt a strange sense that all was not quite well with my soul. It is weird, and I felt a little lost.
When I got home, I put my Scapular on immediately and all eventually became well.
I don’t share this because this will be everyone’s experience. It won’t be; this experience was unique to me. However, there is something powerful about this devotion that really becomes a part of a person.
Do all Catholics have to wear the Scapular?
Not at all.
You do not have to wear the Brown Scapular! The Catholic Church nowhere obliges Catholics to wear it or practice this devotion. You can become a saint without every touching a Scapular or praying a Rosary.
However, it seems that it is the Church’s general conviction that it is generally more challenging to become a saint without these devotions. I’m a fan of simplicity and simple and easy paths to sainthood. You can’t get much easier than the Rosary and the Scapular.
Many saints have become saints through wearing the Scapular constantly and praying the Rosary daily. It is wise to do what the saints have done.
Can all Catholics wear the Scapular, or are there exceptions?
No, there are no exceptions. The Scapular is worn by many Catholics. In fact, it is intended to be worn by all Catholics, even by those of the Eastern rites of the Catholic Church.
What if my Scapular breaks or wears out?
Then buy another one and put it on and wear it. You don’t need to get re-enrolled by a priest because enrollment is of yourself as a person, not so much of your Scapular. Since you have already been enrolled, you don’t need to be again.
You don’t even need to get your Scapular blessed, though I suppose you can do.
Just put on your new one and wear it.
The Simplest Path to Sainthood
- Buy a Scapular, get enrolled in the Scapular by a Catholic priest, and wear the Scapular everyday for the rest of your life.
- Pray the Rosary everyday, whether just one Rosary, or a few (preferrably all 15 mysteries or the 20).
These two simple steps will make anyone, no matter their struggles and sins currently, a saint. Mary has promised, Mary will be faithful to her promises.
Where can I buy a Scapular?
The internet is where I got mine.
How else can I give myself to Mary?
There are a number of other ways to consecrate yourself fully to Mary, and through her to Jesus. They are all optional for Catholics.
- Wear the Miraculous Medal daily, after getting it blessed.
- Undertake formal Consecration to Mary following the path of St Louis de Montfort: see here.
- Pray consecration prayers daily to Mary: see here.
- Visit Lourdes or Fatima.
- Pray the Rosary everyday, especially all 15/20 of the mysteries.
- Buy a statue of Mary, get it blessed, and venerate it.
- Buy an icon of Mary, and venerate it.
- Do the first Saturday devotion for 5 months.
- Pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Gaze lovingly at pictures of Mary on the internet.
Perhaps you can think of other ways for us to be consecrated to Mary. Please share them in the comments.
Also if you have any questions or just want to add something else, please add to the comments.
I look forward to hearing from you.