The Brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
The Words of Our Lady to Saint Simon Stock are “Accept this Scapular. It shall be a sign of salvation, a Protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies Clothed in this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” Our Lord Jesus Christ has won the struggle of the enemies against our salvation for us on the cross of Calvary. This struggle according to St. Paul “…is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12). This fight is so encompassing that Jesus has empowered the Church Triumphant (Heaven) and the Church Militant (Church on earth) to fight on, but more importantly with the whole company of heaven as a stakeholder. The battle actually is against one major enemy that is sustained and championed by the devil; that is sin! Apart from The Most Blessed Trinity that is unequalled in the struggle, a relevant personage that the devil dreads so much is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Therefore, our interest here is to discuss her contributions in this regard. The Lady has done so, first by her co-operation with God, which brought about the mystery of Incarnation (the genesis of our faith – Christianity). She has done so also, by her gift of the Rosary and the Scapular, her apparitions, which are media to re-awaken our sense of duty and responsibility in our Christian faith and witnessing, just to mention a few. The aim of this write-up is to shed some light on the Brown Scapular of our Lady of Mount Carmel with particular reference to what it is, its origin, how to inaugurate the devotion, obligations and benefits attached to it, and so forth.
WHAT IS THE BROWN SCAPULAR?
The term Scapular is derived from the Latin word Scapula, which means shoulder. The scapular, according to its origin, is “… a strip(s) of material with a hole inserted in the middle so that it could hang over the shoulders. Half of the material fell in front of the wearer and half protected the back of the habit.” It was an outgrowth of a desire on the part of monks to protect their habits while they were at work in the fields. Because of the influence of the piety of the monks, the people they influenced started imitating them and requested for their own scapular. Since they were not members of any Religious Congregation but lay faithful, there became the need to fashion the scapular to the shape we have it today. From the first conception of a scapular, grew the present day understanding and usage of a scapular as a sacramental that looks like two small pieces of wool cloth connected by strings that is worn over the neck, either under or over one’s clothing (typically under the clothing), such that one piece of cloth hangs over the chest, and the second piece of cloth hangs over the back.
The Brown Scapular is just one kind of scapular. There are many scapulars in the church, to mark and honour a particular mystery of Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother. For instance we have “The Red Scapular of the Passion”, “The Scapular of the Blessed Trinity,” “The Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception,” “The Black Scapular of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” and “The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.” The foregoing scapulars are collectively referred to as “The Five Scapulars.” Can we wear all the scapulars at once? No! Therefore, a single scapular cloth can be worn in place of all these five scapulars. Why? Because of its unique origin, promises and privileges attached to its devotion, and the miracles associated with it. That is, the Brown Scapular enjoys more patronage than others do. More so, it is the oldest and best-known Marian Scapular and high premium is placed on it, hence Pope Paul VI says,
…We ever hold in great esteem the practices and exercises of the devotion to the most Blessed Virgin which have been recommended for centuries by the Magisterium of the Church. And among them we judge well to recall especially… the religious use of the Scapular of Mount Carmel.
It is against this backdrop that Catholics are highly encouraged to enrol and patronise the Brown Scapular of our Lady of Mount Carmel. Next on our agenda is a review of the historical development of the Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel.
THE ORIGIN OF THE BROWN SCAPULAR
The Brown Scapular devotion dates back to the time of the prophet Elijah (Elias) (1Kgs 18:20-46). We are conversant with the popular biblical narrative of the encounter between Prophet Elijah and the worshippers of Baal. The people then adored Baal (the devil) and to bring the people back to God, Elias prayed for a drought, which the people would understand as a sign of Divine displeasure and it did not rain for three and a half years, so Elias went up to Mount Carmel (in Palestine) and asked God to send rain. After praying for a time, he sent his companion to observe if there was indication of rain falling. His companion went down the mountainside, looked to the sea, then returned to Elias and reported that he saw no rain. So, Elias prayed again, and then sent him down to the sea, and again, there was no rain. He prayed six times. Each time, there was no rain. Then Elias prayed a seventh time. This time when the man went down the mountain, he saw a little cloud coming out of the sea in the shape of a foot. And this cloud grew until it covered the whole land. Moreover, from that one cloud, there came the rain. Now Elias understood this cloud to represent God’s Mother-to-come, the Blessed Virgin Mary. The cloud was in the shape of a foot, and he knew the prophecy of Genesis 3:15, that the Woman would crush the serpent’s head with her foot. Here is an interpretation of the cloud, rain and the shape of a foot associated with the fulfilment of the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. The foot represents the Blessed Virgin; the cloud and rain symbolise Mary Mediatrix of All Graces from where graces flow to humanity. Note, she is the Treasurer of God’s graces – “O treasure house of the Lord’s graces…” Elias, being a prophet, decided to commemorate this event and to that effect, he founded a community of hermits on Mount Carmel to prepare for the coming of the Saviour and His Mother – the Blessed Virgin Mary. Notice that devotion to the Blessed Virgin had started before she was born,
The saintly monks say that they are the descendants of the Prophet Elias and call themselves “Hermits of Saint Mary of Mount Carmel” because the fiery prophet, whom they imitate, had beheld, in a foot-shaped cloud that had divinely soared from the sea below them, a prophetic image of the Immaculate Virgin who was to bring forth man’s salvation and conquer the pride of Satan with her heel of humility….She had finally come right down in that little town of Nazareth, over at the other side of that plain which lies at the foot of the Mount, where they could look down on its mystery. And then Mary visited them, and the Holy Family, on the return from the seven – year sojourn in Egypt, rested awhile among them. They had erected, here on Mount Carmel, the very first chapel on earth ever to be dedicated to the Mother of God.
The Order continued to grow, and plagued by persecutions many of the Carmelites moved to the West and a particular saintly man – Simon Stock joined them. They established a community in Cambridge and continued their monastic life within the community. As they continued to branch out from the East to the West, they faced the challenge of gaining recognition and acceptance. Some people whom they tried to serve saw them as impostors and not true followers of the Virgin Mary. At this turbulent time, Simon Stock became the Superior General of the Order and had much concern for the stability of the Order. His surname “Stock” was symbolic of the life he had led prior to the coming of other monks to the Cambridge Monastery. “He had been dwelling alone in the fastnesses of an English forest in a tree – truck hollow even as Elias had dwelt in Carmel’s natural caves” It was from this hollow that Our Lady had appeared and told Him that Her devotees were coming from Palestine and that he should join their society. Upon joining the community and becoming their General with the oppositions and rejections stated above, Simon Stock “…knelt down (in his tiny cell) and humbly asked the Queen of Carmel to give him a sign from heaven to prove their identity as true descendants of the Order of Carmel as founded by Prophet Elias. This is how he poured forth his mind via prayer, “Flower of Carmel, Vine blossom – laden, Splendour of Heaven, Child – bearing maiden, none equals thee! O Mother benign, who no man didst know, on all Carmel’s children thy favours bestow, Star of the Sea!” The Mother of God on the 16th of July 1251 heard his prayer, appeared to him holding the Infant Jesus in her arms, and with the scapular of their Order in the hand of the Infant Jesus, she said,
Receive my beloved son, the Scapular of thy Order, as the Distinctive Sign of My Confraternity: Whoever dies invested with this Scapular shall be preserved from the Eternal Flames. It is a sign of Salvation, a sure safeguard in danger, a pledge of peace and of my special protection until the end of the ages.
The foregoing is the first scapular promise by Our Lady of Mount Carmel. By this promise Our Lady who is determined to assist her children attain sainthood, protects her children from total condemnation in hell. She shields her children with her holy mantle as a hen protects its chicks from the menace of the hawk and other environmental hazards. As if the foregoing promise was not enough, as some of our Lady’s children submit to the purification of purgatory then our compassionate Lady extends her scapular promise to liberate souls consecrated to her from purgatory. This promise is called the sabbatine privilege. Our Lady gave it to Pope John XXII, on the 3rd of March 1322: “I, the Mother of Grace shall descend on the Saturday after their death, and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free.” However, the efficacy of the sabbatine privilege is based on the following simple conditions or exercise of commitment. 1). Valid enrolment in the Brown Scapular and wearing it daily and over the shoulders. 2). Observing/keeping the rules of chastity according to one’s state in life – single, married or widowed. 3). Recitation of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin and/or the recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) satisfies this obligation. 4). Those unable to read can abstain from meat on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s and keep the fast of the Church. If they cannot recite the Office, nor abstain from eating meat, they can be assigned to say the rosary and other prayers.
PREFERENCE OF THE CLOTH BROWN SCAPULAR TO PLASTIC OR WOODEN TYPES
From observation, a lot of scapular devotees and admirers wear all sorts of things ranging from plastic in the form of medals through blades made as scapulars to ropes fashioned also as scapulars. What an aberration! What is strongly recommended is cloth scapular because of the following cogent reasons: it is preferred by the Church; it enjoys a special indulgence from the Church not granted to any other form of scapular; the cloth scapular has the longest tradition and the Blessed Virgin Mary linked it with devotion to the Rosary at Fatima – 1917; it is also associated with numerous miracles than any other form of scapular; the cloth scapular serves as a habit or garment of our Lady (this indicates the mantle of Our Lady over us – what a privilege to be in the perpetual habit of Our Lady); and the cloth scapular exemplifies the sacrificial nature of the scapular devotion, which our Lady highly recommended.
ABUSE OF THE BROWN SCAPULAR DEVOTION
It is important to note that the Brown Scapular is a sacramental. “Sacramentals … are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments…. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions of life are rendered holy.” Note that sacraments operate Ex Opere Operato (that is “from the act done” or they do not operate on the subjective attitudes of the minister or the recipient) but in the case of Sacramentals their efficacy depends on the prayers of the Church and the faith, disposition and commitment of the wearer or recipient of the sacramental. Therefore, it is wrong to see Sacramentals (scapular) as charms, magical objects, or amulets. Therefore, the scapular is not a talisman as many scapular devotees think. For you to enjoy the benefits of the scapular you just have to make effort to live a simple life, clothed or consumed in the virtues of Jesus and Mary and by their benevolent act, they will grant you unmerited favours, privileges and blessings beyond your imagination and human explanation. There is no room for living a sinful life and still expect miracles to happen in your life just because there is a scapular on your neck. Such a mentality is as worst as the sin against the Holy Spirit.
WARNING: Some falsely believe that wearing the Brown Scapular offers some sort of guarantee of salvation because of the promises of Our Lady. This is against Church teaching, is superstitious and a grave error. Sacramentals are not magical ways to manipulate God; they are Church-instituted rituals/objects that remind us of what we are supposed to be doing/thinking of, that depend on the faith, hope and love of the user, and which help prepare us to receive God’s saving grace. One must do more than “wear the scapular”; one must wear it worthily.
HOW TO DISPOSE OLD AND DIRTY BROWN SCAPULARS
Simply keep them safely as they may be placed in your casket and/or they may serve as second-class relics about you when you die and eventually you are declared a saint by Holy Mother- Church! That is in case you are privileged to enjoy the cause of canonisation for sainthood by the Church or dig the ground and bury it or burn it. Please do not dispose it in the refuse bin or trash can. Remember, it has received the prayers of the Church and your devotion, hence it is holy, and as such, it deserves veneration to the last point. Please, treat what is holy sacred!
GETTING A NEW BROWN SCAPULAR
Investiture and enrolment into the Brown Scapular devotion takes place once in life, thus once your scapular is due for change, simply buy a new scapular, approach a priest for it to be blessed and wear it by yourself.
MIRACLES OF THE BROWN SCAPULAR
Miracles associated with the Brown scapular devotion are too numerous. It starts from you. You mean you have gained admission into Mary’s School of holiness?! One is not admitted into this school via merit but by the grace of God as dispensed by Our Lady Mediatrix and Dispensatrix of All Graces. It is not as if you are lucky in the secular sense of it but God in His mercy and benevolence shares His love with and for you by granting you the privilege to sustain your salvation through Our Lady who is the gateway for the beginning of Christianity.
It is a miracle for you to be enrolled into the Brown scapular because it is a “sacrament of Mary” for our salvation. Jesus says “Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and l shall raise that person up on the last day.” (Jn 6:54). And Mary our supplement says “Whosoever dies Clothed in … (the) Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” Accordingly, “The scapular is a visible sign of Mary’s invisible mediation which has come to be called her sacrament in the order of grace to the special devotees; this is so because the scapular unites us to Mary to a point where we cannot be lost.”
Faithfully following the external and internal practices of the Brown scapular devotion, there are reports of deliverance from habitual sins, their vices, and above all the devils associated with them. There is also protection against the malicious attacks and works of the Devil.
MORE MIRACLES ASSOCIATED WITH THE BROWN SCAPULAR
The devotion to the Brown Scapular was authorized by miracles. God uses miracles as a witness to the truth of His promises and those of His Mother. Miracles are used by God to confirm the solid foundation of the devotions that the Church proposes to the faithful. The greater the number of miracles obtained by a particular devotion, the more it draws our attention to this devotion and authenticates the truth that the practice is pleasing to God.
Miracles of Grace
A priest relates that one day in a town near Chicago he was called to the bedside of a man who had been away from the Sacraments 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 it 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 over 700 years Our Lady has been working in this way through Her Scapular.” On the very day that Our Lady gave the Scapular to Saint Simon Stock, Lord Peter of Linton hurriedly called him: “Come quickly, Father, my brother is dying in despair!” Saint Simon Stock left at once for the bedside of the dying man. Upon arrival, he placed his large Scapular over the man, asking Our Blessed Mother to keep her promise. Immediately the man repented, and died in the grace 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 shield.”
Miracles Demonstrating Our Lady’s Promise of Protection
One day in 1944, a Carmelite missionary in the Holy Land was called to an internment camp to give the Last Rites. The Arab bus 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.”
Saved from the Sea
Another Scapular miracle took place in 1845. In the late summer of that year, the English ship, “King of the Ocean”, on its way to Australia, not far from Cape Hope, found itself in the middle of a hurricane. As wind and sea mercilessly lashed the ship, a Protestant minister, with his wife and children and other passengers, struggled to the deck to pray for mercy and forgiveness, as the end seemed at hand. Among the crew was a young Irishman, John McAuliffe. On seeing the urgency of the situation, the youth opened his shirt, took off his Scapular, and, making the Sign of the Cross with it over the raging waves, tossed it into the ocean. At that very moment, the wind calmed. Only one more wave washed the deck, bringing with it the Scapular, which came to rest at the young man’s feet. All the while, the minister (a Mr. Fisher) had been carefully observing McAuliffe’s actions and the miraculous effect of those actions. Upon questioning the young man, he was told about the Holy Virgin and Her Scapular. Mr. Fisher and his family became determined to enter the Catholic Church as soon as possible, and thereby enjoy the same protection of Our Lady’s Scapular. This they did shortly after landing in Australia.
Saved from Fire
In May of 1957, a Carmelite priest in Germany published the unusual story of how the Scapular saved a home from fire. An entire row of homes had caught fire in Westboden, Germany. The pious inhabitants of a home in the middle of this row, seeing the fire, immediately fastened a Scapular to the main door of the house. Sparks flew over it and around it, but the house remained unharmed. Within 5 hours, 22 homes had been reduced to ashes. The one structure, which stood undamaged amidst the destruction, was that which had the Scapular attached to its door. The hundreds of people who came to see the place Our Lady had saved are eyewitnesses to the power of the Scapular and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Saved from an Explosion
In 1955, a miracle occurred in the Midwestern part of the United States. A 3rd-grader stopped in a gasoline station to put air in his bicycle tires, and at that very moment, an explosion occurred. The boy’s clothing was burned off, but his Brown Scapular remained unaffected: a symbol of Mary’s protection. Today, although he still bears a few scars from the explosion, this man has special reason to remember the Blessed Mother’s protection in time of danger.
Saved in a Plane Crash
A Jesuit missionary in Guatemala relayed the following incident of Our Lady’s Scapular protection. In November of 1955 a plane carrying 27 passengers crashed. All died except one young lady. When this girl saw the plane was going down, she took hold of her Scapular, and called on Mary for help. She suffered burns, her clothing was reduced to ashes, but the flames did not touch her Scapular.
Saved from a Bullet
In France, the following was reported: As the town of Montpellier was in a state of siege, in 1622, there occurred a miracle in the sight of the entire army and under the eyes of the King of France, Louis XIII. In a general assault, one of his officers, Champrond De Beauregard, received a bullet wound in the chest. The wound should have been fatal, but the bullet, after piercing the clothing, flattened out against the Scapular, without doing the least bit of harm to the officer. Astonished by the miracle, the officer told all that were around him. Those who surrounded him, witnesses to this wonder, spread it through the army from rank to rank. Eventually news of the miracle reached the monarch’s ear. Louis XIII came forward to see this wonder that had been brought to his attention. He examined the facts very carefully, and after having convinced himself with his own eyes of the reality of the wonder, he wanted to dress himself in this heavenly armour, to receive the Scapular from the hands of the Carmelites and be enrolled as one of the members of the Confraternity.
Saved from Lightning
On August 27th, 1602 Barthelemi Lopez, a Spanish soldier, on duty in the Castle of Saint Elme, in Naples, was saying prayers in honour of Our Lady of Mount Carmel whose Scapular he was wearing, when all of a sudden lightning and thunder exploded above his head. The lightning bolt hit his shoulder, and without making any sort of injury, left on his shoulder the print of a cross — as a sign of salvation which demonstrates that it was to a special help from Heaven that he owed the favour of having been preserved from the terrible effects of the lightning.
Miracle of Grace
In 1834, an elderly soldier living in Angouleme, France, no longer able to bear certain sorrows, resolved to take his own life. He decided to kill himself with poison, thinking that he could more easily hide his crime from the public. Upon taking the poison, he did not have to wait long to suffer the effects. Immediately he went to the hospital and asked to spend the night, thinking that the cause of his death would be undiscovered and his name would not be blackened because of commission of the cowardly sin of suicide. But the hospital supervisor would not allow him to be admitted without an administration pass — which would mean discovery of his impending death by his own hand. The unhappy soldier was forced to abandon the idea of spending the night in the hospital. While wondering what course of action to take, he suddenly heard a voice telling him to go to Saint Peter’s and confess to Father ***.
The soldier went to the designated church and asked Father *** to hear his confession. Father ***, overcome with fatigue, told the man to wait — it was Lent and it was three o=clock in the afternoon and he had not yet had a bite to eat. The unhappy soldier made a new plea and assured the priest that there was not time to wait. The priest entered the confessional and the penitent confessed that he had just poisoned himself. The confessor showed him his obligation before God, which included divulging the penitent’s secret.
The soldier, touched by this grace, gave the priest permission, and like the fire, which burned his insides, the sufferings he felt threw him into a state of perfect hopelessness. The charitable priest pulled him out of the confessional and took him to the hospital. He immediately asked for an antidote, but while they were preparing it, he took the pulse of the sick man, and no longer found any: a deathly pale complexion, misty eyes — everything heralded the coming death. His heart pierced with sadness, but full of confidence in the Divine Mercy, the fervent priest threw himself to his knees, and recited the Litany of the Blessed Virgin.
At the first invocation, he sensed the pulse of the dying man return, and a short time later, he heard the soldier speak a few words. ‘O my good Father,’ he said in a weak voice, ‘my Father, pray, pray some more!’ In addition, he let out a breath and said: ‘Holy Mary, pray for me!’ Soon his consciousness returned. Father ***, in his enthusiasm over such a marvellous change, asked the soldier if he had not kept some pious practices — ‘No, my Father, I have not said any prayers in a long time.’ Nevertheless, after having reflected for an instant, he showed a Scapular: ‘Here is the only sign of piety that I have preserved.’ — ‘Ah! My friend,’ notes the priest, ‘I am no longer surprised by the miracle which just occurred; it=s Mary who protected you, it is to her that you owe being alive.’ Nevertheless the doctor arrived, and after having heard the necessary details on the condition of the patient, he assured them that only a superior power could prolong his life for longer than two hours after having taken the poison, one of the most active that we know; and five hours had gone by since the fatal moment! … The antidote became useless. The doctor proposed to record a statement to attest the truth of the miracle; but the humble priest, fearing that they would perhaps attribute the miracle to the fervour of his prayers, did not think about making the miracle public. It was told to me by others, that it might give you a new confidence in Mary.*
Food Provided in Time of Famine Through the Scapular
In the Fourteenth Century, Spain faced a deadly famine due to a shortage of all sorts of grains. A general procession was ordered, and in the area of Spain in which the Holy Scapular was triumphantly shown, immediately abundance returned and brought joy and consolation to the hearts of all. In the 16th Century, in Sicily, a drought occurred like that which happened in the days of Elias the prophet. The people appealed to Our Lady, and the Brown Scapular was offered everywhere in the streets for veneration by the people; suddenly the sky opened, the rain came, and soon the people had their lofts full with abundance.
Miracles in Battle
In the year 1618, Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria and general of the imperial army in the war with Prague, in order to acquire God’s benediction on his armies, put himself under the protection of the Blessed Virgin by receiving the holy Scapular with his whole army. Full of confidence in this precious shield of the Queen of Heaven, he gave battle against * Told by Father Michaud in The Month of Mary and recorded in the book Vertu Miraculeuse Du Scapulaire, 1869, pp. 30-32. prince Palatin, who had usurped the crown from Ferdinand II, and the Duke won a complete victory with very few losses of his own. The Emperor Ferdinand II, desirous of giving a public witness to Our Lady for Her protection, received, along with the Queen and the princes, the Blessed Scapular from the hands of Father Dominique, a Discalced Carmelite. Edward II, King of England, hearing about some miracles that were happening in all parts of his kingdom by virtue of the sacred habit, was one of the first princes to once again wear the Scapular, and he received with devotion this precious proof of Mary’s love; shortly thereafter, he experienced the effect of the protection of the Blessed Virgin, to Whom he was devoted. His army, which had already suffered two defeats, was on the verge of complete surrender. He invoked Mary and promised her that he would establish a monastery of the Order of Mount Carmel. Immediately, by a miraculous assistance, he won a complete victory over his enemies, who at that point thought they had already won the battle. Edward, wanting to perpetuate the memory of this powerful protection and to keep his vow, gave to the Carmelites his palace at Oxford to establish a monastery.
Protection against the Devil
In 2005, a priest was giving a talk about the growth of satanic worship in the world and how adults and young children are becoming possessed by the devil because of the use of things such as the ouija board, saying the incantations that open the door to the demonic in “children’s books” such as the Harry Potter series, and going to fortune tellers, etc. When someone asked the priest how to protect oneself from the demonic, besides the obvious path of avoiding things that call upon Satan, the priest answered, “Wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel for protection from curses and the devil.“ One can understand why the devil works against those who promote the Scapular after hearing the story of Venerable 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!” Immediately, 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. One day a young woman, before entering the religious life went to see the Curé of Ars, and during the conversation, he asked her, “Do you recall, my child, at the certain evening of dancing, where you were? There was a very young man, very pretty, unknown, distinguished, admired, and all the girls wanted to dance with him.” “Yes, I recall when he never came to ask me, I was sad, yet all the other girls were privileged to dance with that young man.” ”You would have liked to dance with him, wouldn’t you?” “Yes.” “Do you recall, when that young man was leaving the dance hall, you saw under his feet two blue flames? And you thought it was an illusion of your eyes? When you saw that young man leave the dance hall, you saw fire under his feet! It was not an illusion of your eyes, my daughter. That man was a demon. And if he did not come to you to ask you to dance, it’s for one reason: you were wearing the vestment of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.”
Miracles of Conversion
We should even give the Scapular to non-Catholics, for Our Lady will bring conversions to those who will wear it and say one Hail Mary each day, as the following true story will show. An old man was rushed to the hospital in New York City, unconscious and dying. The nurse, seeing the Brown Scapular on the patient, called the priest. As the prayers were being said for the dying man, he became conscious and spoke up: “Father, I am not a Catholic.” “Then why are you wearing the Brown Scapular?” asked the priest. “I promised my friends to wear it ,” the patient explained, and say one Hail Mary a day.” “You are dying,” the priest told him. “Do you want to become a Catholic?” “All my life I wanted to be one,” the dying man replied. He was baptized, received the Last Rites, and died in peace. Our Lady took another soul to Heaven under Her mantle through Her Scapular!
Some Modern Day Miracles
A priest relayed the following two accounts: The first one occurred about 1980 in Ontario, Canada, in a small city near Toronto. “A woman whose son I had recently enrolled in the Brown Scapular relayed the following: She told me that she was very grateful because I had enrolled her son in the Scapular. That same day, after the enrolment, she went somewhere with her son. “She had put him in the back seat and closed the door and drove away down the highway. But she didn’t close the door very well, and when she turned the corner the door opened and her son rolled out onto the highway. She was terrified and horrified and she came back to pick him up and discovered that he did not have a scratch on him. He was, of course, wearing his Scapular.” “There was a man in Baltimore who told me this himself in about 1990. As he was driving down the highway, someone threw a rock through his window. He did not know where from. It knocked his glasses that were in his shirt-pocket onto the seat beside him. He did not need the glasses, so he left them where they landed. When he arrived home, he remembered his glasses. He went to pick them up to put them back in his pocket, but they would not go in. He thought it was because the rock was still in his pocket. So, he pulled the rock out, but it wasn’t a rock. It was a bullet. He had been shot at. He was uninjured. He was wearing his Scapular.”
In conclusion, the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a special gift of our Lady to her children who want to specially dedicate their lives to the enterprise of holiness under her patronage. It is not meant for saints as such but for sinners to serve as a check against sins and to deliver us from the shackle of sins and assist us to become holy. Hence, great saints like St. Alphonsus de Ligouri, wore a scapular and today it is a relic!
Rev. John-Mary N. Atep
 Dictionary of Mary, (New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Corp., 1985), p. 419.
This quotation comes from the “Observatore Romano,” April 2, 1964. It represents part of a message sent by Pope Paul VI to the 1964 International Marian and Mariological Congresses that were held that year in the Dominican Republic.
 St. Louis De Montfort, True Devotion to Mary (North Carolina: St. Benedict Press, 2010), 290.
 John M. Haffert, Sign of her Heart (Washington, New Jersey: Ave Maria Institute, 1971), 5-6.
 Ibid, 7.
 John-Mary Anojulu, 99 Facts about the Brown Scapular (Onitsha: Goodway Printing Press, 1993), 18.
 John M. Haffert, Sign of her Heart, 10-11.
 John-Mary Anojulu, 99 Facts about the Scapular, 18-19.
 Ibid, 41.
 Ibid, 45.
 The Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1667
 John M. Haffert, Sign of her Heart (Washington, New Jersey: Ave Maria Institute, 1971)