Saturday October 31st 2020

The Brown Scapular

A Sermon Delivered by Fr. James McGilloway, CMRI

The Wonders of the Brown Scapular

One of the Catholic practices often criticized by non-Catholics and misunderstood even by many of the faithful is the wearing of the Brown Scapular. At first glance it might seem that this practice is presumptuous, and perhaps to some non-Catholics, even superstitious. So, especially for the sake of those who are not familiar with this sacramental, and to refresh the memories of those who are, I will speak briefly today about the origin, purpose and privileges of the Brown Scapular.

First of all, what is the origin of the Brown Scapular? In 1251 Simon Stock was the superior general of the Carmelites. This religious order had been undergoing persecution, and he had been praying for some time to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Patroness of the order, for help and protection. In answer to his prayer, Our Lady appeared to him on July 16, 1251, holding in her hand a garment called a scapular, a word which comes from the Latin word scapula, for shoulder. To Simon Stock, who is now a canonized saint, the Blessed Virgin said: “Take, beloved son, this scapular of thy Order as a badge of my confraternity, and for thee and for all Carmelites, a sign of grace. Whoever dies in this garment will not suffer everlasting fire. It is a sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant.”

The garment Our Lady gave St. Simon Stock was the size that the members of our religious congregation wear as part of our habit, reaching from the shoulders down nearly to the feet. The Catholic Church has since reduced the size of the scapular, as most of you know, to a very small size so that everyone can easily wear it over their shoulders under their clothing. But, as this promise was made only to the members of St. Simon Stock’s order, how can we, who are not Carmelites, receive the fulfillment of this promise? We can have a priest enroll us in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular. This is done in a short ceremony in which any baptized Catholic who wishes to wear the Brown Scapular can become associated with the Carmelite Order, and thereby qualify to receive the fulfillment of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s promise.

As I mentioned already, this promise — namely, that whoever dies wearing this garment will not suffer eternal fire — may sound rather presumptuous. It may even seem to contradict what Jesus says in today’s Gospel: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven shall enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 7:21). Does the scapular promise mean that we can do our own will rather than God’s will? that we can live a sinful and worldly life and trust that we will go to heaven when we die because we wear the Brown Scapular? No, not at all.

First of all, if a Catholic chooses to wear the Brown Scapular, day in and day out, it should be an outward sign of his or her trust in the Blessed Virgin Mary. Such a one should be confident that Our Lady will use her powerful intercession with her Divine Son Jesus to obtain for him special graces to live a good Catholic life and remain in the state of grace. In fact, Pope Pius XII said that wearing the Brown Scapular should be an outward sign of one’s consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary, indicating that the one wearing the Scapular has a childlike dependence upon the Blessed Virgin as a model of virtue and as an intercessor, trusting that she will obtain special graces for him to live a virtuous life and especially to avoid mortal sin.

Secondly, this promise means that at the hour of death, if we are wearing the Brown Scapular, our Blessed Mother will intercede with God to obtain the graces we need to remain in the state of grace in God’s friendship so that we can save our souls. Or, if we have the misfortune of being in the state of sin, she will intercede for us that we might receive the Holy Ghost and sanctifying grace back into our soul before we die. Perhaps she will obtain for us the grace to make a perfect act of contrition, or she may obtain from God’s Providence an arrangement such that a priest will come to hear our confession and perhaps even administer the sacrament of Extreme Unction before we die.

A critical or skeptical person might say, “Well, that sounds fine in theory, but what proof is there that it actually works that way in practice?” Actually, there are many stories that have been recorded and approved by the Church as worthy of belief that verify the truth of this promise. I will tell you about a few of these cases.

Back in the 1950’s in Ashtabula, Ohio (not far from my parish in Akron), a Catholic wearing the Brown Scapular was run over by a train and was cut in two. Yet somehow this man did not die right away, and a priest who was summoned came and heard his confession. The man then died. Apparently this happened because the man, who was wearing the Brown Scapular, needed to be absolved that he might save his soul according to Our Lady’s promise.

There is also a story of a young lady who made it a practice to wear the Brown Scapular, but began living a life of sin. Eventually she despaired of God’s mercy, and decided to kill herself. She threw herself into a river, hoping to drown. God in His Providence, however, because she was still wearing the Brown Scapular, arranged for a fisherman to see her. The man came quickly and tried to help her, but in her despair she refused his help. In the struggle she tore off the scapular and, throwing it away from herself, she then drowned.

In France, a fallen-away Catholic, an officer in the armed forces, had lived a sinful life and lay dying in a hospital. When he became unconscious, one of the attendants placed a Brown Scapular on him. When he regained consciousness and found the scapular around his neck, he cried out, “Why have you put fire on me? It’s burning me! Take it away! Take it away!” At that point he tore it off and soon died. These last two stories from the book Purgatory by Fr. Shouppe show us that if someone wearing the Brown Scapular at the hour of death is not repentant of mortal sin and not willing to cooperate with grace to be truly sorry for mortal sin, God, through the prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, will make sure that somehow the scapular is removed before that person dies.

Many Catholics, even among those who wear the Brown Scapular, are not aware of the second part of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s promise, namely that the scapular will be “a safeguard in danger.” Apparently the dangers referred to are not only those of a spiritual nature, but temporal or physical as well. Again, let us look at a few examples that illustrate this.

In the 1950’s in Germany a fire broke out in a residential neighborhood. One house after another caught on fire, to the point that within five hours 22 homes had burned to the ground. Only one remained untouched. Why? Because when the fire was approaching a member of that household took a Brown Scapular and fastened it to the front door of the house. The fire literally went around this house. People were amazed to see this one house standing untouched while 22 others around it were reduced to smoking rubble.

In 1845 an English ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean was on the point of being sunk by a hurricane. A young Irishman on board, upon seeing the danger the ship was in, took off his Brown Scapular and threw it into the huge waves. Immediately the wind ceased and the waves became calm. Another wave washed the Brown Scapular back onto the deck. A Protestant minister and his wife who were present asked the young man what it was that he threw into the ocean. This was the beginning of their conversion to the Catholic Faith.

There is another account of a priest who was offering Mass when a maniac with a gun came into the church and shot at him. The priest continued offering Mass, and everyone assumed the man had missed. After Mass, when the priest took off his vestments, he found the bullet embedded in his Brown Scapular. Finally, in the area of spiritual dangers, a holy Frenchman named Francis Ypes — in fact he is called Venerable by the Church — one day dropped his scapular. The devil appeared to him howling, saying “Take it off! Take off the habit which snatches so many souls from us!” The devil then admitted that there were three things he feared: the Holy Name of Jesus, the Holy Name of Mary, and the Brown Scapular.

I hope that this information and these examples will motivate you to wear the Brown Scapular if you do not already do so. And if you do wear it, I hope that it will motivate you to wear it with greater trust and confidence and dependence upon the Blessed Virgin Mary, your spiritual Mother. If you faithfully wear the Brown Scapular throughout life and at the hour of death, you will understand more clearly why we address the Blessed Virgin in the Salve Regina with these words: “Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy! Hail our life, our sweetness, and our hope! Turn then thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile show unto us the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.”

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Visit: Religious Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen

Buy Your Scapular at:

Reader Feedback

43 Responses to “The Brown Scapular”

  1. Rasta says:

    Cold enough for a bit of ice in the pond? Try a balmy -20C here today with a prmosie of temp’s to fall below -40 over the next few days.If Jesus had been a Canadian, it wouldn’t require any sort of miracle to walk upon the water… we can do it four or five months of the year in my region of the country.Your (cold) Canadian brother,Fr. Tim Moyle

  2. Would like to purchase ten (10) Brown Scapulars for my family. I presently live in Pencticton BC. Can you help me?

  3. jordan shoes says:

    I must express my affection for your kindness in support of visitors who require assistance with this one situation. Your special commitment to passing the solution all-around came to be wonderfully useful and has continually allowed ladies much like me to achieve their dreams. Your useful report denotes a lot to me and especially to my mates. Best wishes; from each one of us.

  4. curry 4 says:

    I want to convey my affection for your kind-heartedness in support of individuals that must have help with your area of interest. Your very own commitment to passing the solution all over ended up being definitely good and has all the time made some individuals like me to get to their pursuits. Your own important guideline indicates much a person like me and even further to my colleagues. Regards; from each one of us.

  5. I enjoy you because of your whole hard work on this web page. My mother enjoys getting into research and it’s really obvious why. We all know all of the compelling means you produce worthwhile items on the web blog and even increase participation from other individuals on that issue and my child is always discovering a lot. Enjoy the rest of the new year. You’re carrying out a dazzling job.

  6. I definitely wanted to compose a comment to be able to say thanks to you for these wonderful tips you are posting on this website. My time consuming internet research has now been paid with wonderful points to talk about with my great friends. I would believe that we website visitors are undoubtedly blessed to exist in a notable site with many marvellous professionals with useful basics. I feel rather blessed to have discovered your website page and look forward to so many more exciting times reading here. Thanks a lot once again for a lot of things.

  7. My wife and i were more than happy Edward could round up his reports through the ideas he obtained out of your web page. It’s not at all simplistic to just continually be giving freely hints that a number of people may have been making money from. And we remember we’ve got the writer to thank for that. These explanations you made, the simple site menu, the relationships your site help to instill – it’s most exceptional, and it is aiding our son and our family recognize that this content is cool, and that’s wonderfully fundamental. Many thanks for everything!

  8. supreme says:

    I’m writing to make you know of the nice discovery my girl enjoyed using your web site. She even learned such a lot of things, which include how it is like to possess a marvelous giving mood to get the others without difficulty fully grasp selected complicated topics. You truly exceeded my expectations. Thanks for supplying these beneficial, dependable, explanatory not to mention easy tips on the topic to Emily.

  9. I just wanted to develop a simple remark to appreciate you for all of the superb advice you are writing on this website. My considerable internet research has at the end been rewarded with sensible concept to exchange with my relatives. I ‘d repeat that most of us readers are extremely endowed to be in a useful site with very many lovely people with great pointers. I feel very privileged to have used your entire web site and look forward to some more excellent times reading here. Thanks a lot once more for all the details.

  10. goyard says:

    I precisely wanted to thank you very much all over again. I do not know the things that I might have tried in the absence of the type of tips and hints revealed by you about my area. Completely was an absolute fearsome difficulty in my position, nevertheless considering the very skilled form you processed the issue forced me to cry for contentment. I’m just happy for the guidance and in addition pray you comprehend what an amazing job you are undertaking training many others all through your webpage. Probably you’ve never encountered all of us.

  11. I precisely had to say thanks once more. I do not know the things I would’ve carried out without those opinions documented by you relating to this question. It has been an absolute difficult circumstance in my view, however , spending time with the very skilled avenue you solved it forced me to weep over gladness. I’m just happy for the work and thus wish you really know what an amazing job you’re putting in teaching most people via your web site. Probably you’ve never come across all of us.

  12. This actually answered my drawback, thank you!

  13. Good post. I learn one thing more difficult on completely different blogs everyday. It is going to all the time be stimulating to read content from different writers and practice a little bit something from their store. I抎 favor to use some with the content material on my blog whether or not you don抰 mind. Natually I抣l offer you a link on your internet blog. Thanks for sharing.

  14. kobe shoes says:

    An interesting discussion is price comment. I believe that you must write more on this subject, it won’t be a taboo topic however generally individuals are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  15. yeezy boost says:

    After study just a few of the weblog posts on your website now, and I really like your method of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website listing and might be checking again soon. Pls take a look at my web site as properly and let me know what you think.

  16. jordan shoes says:

    There’s noticeably a bundle to find out about this. I assume you made sure nice points in features also.

  17. Can I just say what a relief to find someone who truly knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know how to carry an issue to gentle and make it important. More folks must read this and perceive this aspect of the story. I cant imagine youre no more standard since you definitely have the gift.

  18. golden goose says:

    I抦 impressed, I need to say. Really not often do I encounter a blog that抯 both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you will have hit the nail on the head. Your thought is outstanding; the difficulty is something that not enough persons are talking intelligently about. I’m very comfortable that I stumbled across this in my search for one thing regarding this.

  19. yeezy says:

    Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you Nevertheless I’m experiencing subject with ur rss . Don抰 know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting similar rss problem? Anybody who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  20. very good publish, i certainly love this web site, keep on it

  21. yeezy shoes says:

    very good publish, i definitely love this web site, keep on it

  22. I was very pleased to seek out this internet-site.I needed to thanks for your time for this excellent read!! I definitely having fun with every little little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you blog post.

  23. I抦 impressed, I need to say. Really hardly ever do I encounter a weblog that抯 each educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the difficulty is one thing that not sufficient persons are speaking intelligently about. I am very completely satisfied that I stumbled across this in my search for something referring to this.

  24. There is noticeably a bundle to know about this. I assume you made sure good points in options also.

  25. I used to be very happy to seek out this internet-site.I wished to thanks for your time for this excellent read!! I positively having fun with every little bit of it and I’ve you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you weblog post.

  26. yeezy shoes says:

    Spot on with this write-up, I actually think this web site needs much more consideration. I抣l most likely be again to learn far more, thanks for that info.

  27. moncler says:

    I was very happy to search out this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful learn!! I definitely having fun with each little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you blog post.

  28. jordan shoes says:

    Can I just say what a reduction to seek out someone who truly knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You undoubtedly know easy methods to deliver a difficulty to light and make it important. Extra individuals need to learn this and perceive this aspect of the story. I cant believe youre no more popular because you undoubtedly have the gift.

  29. moncler says:

    Your place is valueble for me. Thanks!?

  30. This really answered my drawback, thanks!

  31. I really wanted to write a simple word in order to express gratitude to you for all of the lovely tricks you are sharing on this site. My incredibly long internet investigation has finally been paid with professional information to write about with my partners. I ‘d state that that we site visitors are truly fortunate to live in a fantastic place with many outstanding people with useful advice. I feel very happy to have come across the webpages and look forward to really more thrilling times reading here. Thank you again for everything.

  32. hermes belt says:

    I simply needed to appreciate you once more. I do not know what I might have sorted out without these basics revealed by you directly on such a problem. It was a real horrifying crisis for me personally, but taking note of your expert avenue you handled it took me to leap with happiness. I’m grateful for this service and then wish you recognize what a great job that you’re getting into educating others using your web blog. Most probably you haven’t got to know all of us.

  33. I not to mention my pals appeared to be viewing the best guidelines found on the website and quickly I got an awful suspicion I had not expressed respect to the website owner for those strategies. My young men had been totally joyful to see them and have now definitely been loving these things. Appreciation for simply being really thoughtful and then for picking this form of brilliant issues most people are really eager to be informed on. Our honest apologies for not expressing gratitude to you sooner.

  34. I enjoy you because of your whole work on this website. Kim loves going through internet research and it’s obvious why. My spouse and i hear all about the lively manner you produce rewarding guidance on your website and in addition attract participation from website visitors about this area of interest then our own daughter is truly learning a whole lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You are doing a useful job.

  35. kyrie 3 says:

    I intended to draft you this very small word just to say thanks a lot the moment again with the pleasant solutions you have shared on this website. It’s tremendously open-handed of you giving publicly what exactly most people would’ve advertised for an e book to earn some dough on their own, especially since you might well have tried it if you ever considered necessary. The tips additionally acted as a good way to be sure that most people have the identical passion much like my very own to learn significantly more in respect of this issue. I know there are lots of more enjoyable occasions up front for folks who examine your site.

  36. I must express appreciation to this writer for rescuing me from this circumstance. As a result of surfing through the internet and getting techniques which were not beneficial, I figured my life was gone. Being alive minus the answers to the problems you’ve fixed all through your article is a crucial case, as well as those that could have in a wrong way affected my career if I had not discovered your blog post. That ability and kindness in handling almost everything was helpful. I’m not sure what I would’ve done if I had not come across such a subject like this. It’s possible to at this point look ahead to my future. Thanks a lot very much for this professional and amazing guide. I will not think twice to endorse the sites to anyone who requires recommendations on this problem.

  37. I actually wanted to develop a comment to say thanks to you for the splendid tips and hints you are giving at this site. My time consuming internet look up has at the end been recognized with brilliant content to write about with my partners. I would suppose that most of us readers are unquestionably fortunate to be in a decent site with very many special people with good tricks. I feel truly fortunate to have come across the web site and look forward to some more amazing moments reading here. Thank you once again for all the details.

  38. I enjoy you because of each of your work on this web site. Gloria enjoys making time for research and it’s really obvious why. Most people learn all about the compelling ways you make very useful items via your website and as well as invigorate contribution from website visitors on this content so our favorite child is always understanding a great deal. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. You are always carrying out a terrific job.

  39. yeezys says:

    Thanks so much for giving everyone a very splendid possiblity to discover important secrets from this website. It is often very nice plus packed with a great time for me personally and my office co-workers to search the blog more than 3 times in one week to see the newest stuff you have got. Of course, I am also actually amazed with the excellent concepts served by you. Certain 2 tips in this article are honestly the most impressive I’ve ever had.

  40. I intended to create you the little remark to thank you so much yet again with the pleasant basics you’ve discussed in this article. It was certainly shockingly open-handed of people like you in giving unhampered all many individuals could possibly have distributed for an e-book to end up making some money on their own, particularly since you could possibly have tried it if you ever considered necessary. The good ideas as well acted to provide a great way to be sure that some people have similar dream the same as my very own to learn good deal more with regard to this problem. I know there are thousands of more fun periods up front for many who discover your website.

  41. adidas yeezy says:

    I am only commenting to let you understand of the magnificent encounter my wife’s girl went through visiting your blog. She came to find some details, most notably what it’s like to possess a very effective helping heart to let the rest just completely grasp chosen multifaceted issues. You actually exceeded our expectations. Thanks for presenting these invaluable, dependable, revealing and also unique tips about that topic to Janet.

  42. I wish to express my thanks to you just for rescuing me from this type of issue. Because of looking throughout the online world and seeing tricks which were not pleasant, I figured my life was gone. Being alive without the presence of solutions to the issues you’ve sorted out by way of the article content is a critical case, as well as those which might have adversely affected my entire career if I had not noticed your website. Your own ability and kindness in touching all the details was excellent. I don’t know what I would have done if I had not discovered such a stuff like this. I am able to at this point relish my future. Thanks for your time so much for your professional and sensible help. I will not be reluctant to recommend the blog to anybody who should receive direction about this area.

  43. I actually wanted to send a small comment to be able to say thanks to you for the unique tips you are sharing at this website. My prolonged internet research has at the end of the day been recognized with professional know-how to talk about with my colleagues. I ‘d declare that most of us site visitors are undeniably lucky to dwell in a decent website with many marvellous individuals with useful tips and hints. I feel very much grateful to have come across your website page and look forward to so many more thrilling minutes reading here. Thank you again for everything.

Leave a Reply