The brown scapular, considered a sacramental of the Catholic Church, dates back to the 13th century, when the Virgin Mary appeared to the Carmelite St. Simon Stock and gave one to him. According to Catholic Church history, the Virgin vowed that whoever wore the brown scapular would have her protection from the eternal fires of hell. Associated with the Carmelite order, the brown scapular consists of two small rectangular pieces of brown wool connected by strings and worn over the shoulders. Brown scapulars have holy images of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. There are guidelines you should observe to wear this sacramental properly.
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Things you need
- Brown scapular
Buy a brown scapular at a Catholic religious store. Brown scapulars may also be available at gift shops in some Catholic Churches.
Have your brown scapular blessed by a priest. The priest will perform a short investment or conferral ceremony over you and the scapular; he will give a blessing and say prayers while he places the brown scapular over your shoulders. One part of the scapular should hang in front of your body near your chest and the other part should hang over your back.
Wear the brown scapular daily and remember that it is a sign of consecration to Mary. You can receive the special scapular promise called the Sabbatine Privilege by observing certain requirements such as wearing the blessed scapular, reciting certain daily prayers like the rosary and the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, fasting on certain days and leading a chaste life.
Dispose of a worn-out brown scapular by burying or burning it, as it is a sacred object. Do not throw it away in the garbage.
Get a new brown scapular to wear after you dispose of an old one. It does not have to be blessed again, as you and all subsequent scapulars carry the blessing.
Tips and warnings
- Once invested (blessed by a priest), a person becomes a member of the Scapular Confraternity and can benefit from the scapular promises such as the Sabbatine Privilege, which specifies that the Blessed Virgin Mary will release any person who observed these requirements in his or her earthly life from purgatory on the first Saturday after death.
- Only cloth (wool) brown scapulars can be invested.
- You should not wear a brown scapular as a sort of magical charm for protection.
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