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Our Lady’s Scapular Promise of:

"Protection in Danger"

Attach great importance to your Scapular. It is an assurance of salvation. "Take this Scapular. Whosoever dies wearing it shall not suffer eternal fire. It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace." This is Mary’s Promise made July 16, 1251, to Saint Simon Stock.

Your Scapular, then, should take on a deep meaning for you. It is a rich present brought down from Heaven by Our Lady Herself. "Wear it devoutly and perseveringly," She says to each soul, "it is My garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of Me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life."

Some Scapular information taken from Stories of the Brown Scapular by Father Howard Rafferty, O. Carm.

Why Do We Wear the Scapular?

If you wear Mary’s Brown Scapular, you should be introduced to St. Simon Stock. You may already know him from his picture (along with Our Lady’s) on your Scapular. Actually, St. Simon is an old friend, for it was to him that Our Blessed Mother gave the Scapular promise in 1251, saying, "Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire."

One of the great mysteries of our time is that the majority of Catholics either ignore, or have entirely forgotten this Heavenly promise of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Lady further says: "Wear the Scapular devoutly and perseveringly. It is My garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of Me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life."

Saint Claude de la Colombiere, the renowned Jesuit and spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary, gives a point which is enlightening. He said, "Because all the forms of our love for the Blessed Virgin and all its various modes of expression cannot be equally pleasing to Her, and therefore do not assist us in the same degree to reach Heaven, I say, without a moment’s hesitation, that the BROWN SCAPULAR IS THE MOST FAVORED OF ALL!" He also adds, "No devotion has been confirmed by more numerous authentic miracles than the Brown Scapular."

Old Testament History

Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel (the Madonna of the Scapular) goes back far before the time of St. Simon Stock — even before the time of Our Blessed Lord; it goes back all the way to the 8th century B.C. It was then that the great prophet Elias ascended the holy mountain of Carmel in Palestine, and began there a long tradition of contemplative life and prayer. It is amazing to realize that centuries before Christ was born, holy Elias and his followers had mystically dedicated themselves to God’s Mother-to-come, Mary, Queen of Mount Carmel. Nearly three thousand years later, that tradition of prayer, contemplation, and devotion to Mary continues to live and prevail in the Catholic Church.

In the fullness of time, God became the God-Man, Jesus. We know of Our Lord’s life, death, resurrection and ascension from the four Gospels of the New Testament, and we know that Jesus bequeathed to the world the Holy Catholic Church to teach, to govern, and to sanctify in His Name.

On the Feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, the spiritual descendants of Elias and his followers came down from Mount Carmel. Fittingly, they were the first that day to accept the message of Christianity and to be baptized by the Apostles. When, at last, they were presented to Our Lady, and heard the sweet words from Her lips, they were overcome with a sense of majesty and sanctity which they never forgot. Returning to their holy mountain, they erected the first chapel ever built in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. From that time, devotion to God’s Mother was handed down by the hermits on Mount Carmel as a treasured spiritual legacy.

Our Lady Appears to St. Simon

In the year 1241, the Baron de Grey of England was returning from the 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 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 St. Simon Stock, he was hurriedly called by Lord Peter of Linton: "Come quickly, Father, my brother is dying in despair!" St. 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 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 shield."

St. Alphonsus tells us: "Modern heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular. They decry it as so much trifling nonsense." Yet we know that many of the Popes have approved and recommended it. It is remarkable that just 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.

Two great founders of Religious Orders, St. Alphonsus of the Redemptorists and St. John Bosco of the Salesians, had a very special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and both wore Her Brown Scapular. When they died, each was buried in his priestly vestments and Scapular. Many years later, their graves were opened, the bodies and sacred vestments in which they were buried were decayed-dust! BUT THE BROWN SCAPULAR WHICH EACH WAS WEARING WAS PERFECTLY INTACT. The Scapular of St. Alphonsus is on exhibit in his Monastery in Rome.

Protection Against the Devil

You will understand why the devil works against those who promote the Scapular when you hear 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!" 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.

The great St. Peter Claver was another of God’s heroes who used the Scapular to good advantage. Every month a shipment of 1000 slaves would arrive at Cartegena, Colombia, South America. St. Peter used to ensure the salvation of the slaves. First, he organized catechists to give them instructions. Then, he saw to it that they were baptized and clothed with the Scapular. Some ecclesiastics accused the Saint of indiscreet zeal, but St. Peter was confident that Mary would watch over each of his more than 300,000 converts!

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 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 story that bears repeating took place in 1845. In the late summer of that year, the English ship, "King of the Ocean" found itself in the middle of a wild hurricane. As wind and sea mercilessly lashed the ship, a Protestant minister, together 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 boy’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, they were told about the Holy Virgin and Her Scapular. Mr. Fisher and his family were so impressed that they were determined to enter the Catholic Church as soon as possible, and thereby enjoy the same protection of Our Lady’s Scapular.

A Home Saved from Fire

Nearer our own times, 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 2-family home, 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.

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 [around the year 1900] in the town of Ashtabula, Ohio, that a man was cut in two by a train; he was wearing the Scapular. Instead of dying instantly, as is usual, 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.

A Priest’s Life is Saved

Still another Scapular miracle concerns a French priest who had gone on pilgrimage. On the way to say Mass, he remembered that he had forgotten his Scapular. He knew he would be late if he went back to retrieve it, but he could not envision offering Mass at Our Lady’s altar without Her Scapular. Later, as he was offering the Holy Sacrifice, a young man approached the altar, pulled out a gun, and shot the priest in the back. To the amazement of all, the priest continued to say the prayers of the Mass as though nothing had occurred. It was at first presumed that the bullet had miraculously missed its target. However, upon examination, the bullet was found ADHERING TO THE LITTLE BROWN SCAPULAR which the priest had so obstinately refused to be without.

Conversions

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 under Her mantle through Her Scapular!

A Call to Fervor

In October of 1952, an Air Force officer in Texas wrote the following: "Six months ago, shortly after I started wearing the Scapular, I experienced a remarkable change in my life. Almost at once, I started going to Mass every day. After a short time, I started going to receive Holy Communion daily. I kept Lent with a fervor that I had never experienced before. I was introduced to the practice of meditation, and found myself making feeble attempts on the way to perfection. I have been trying to live with God. I credit Mary’s Scapular."

The Fatima Crusader visits New York City's Tragic Ground Zero
1. Father Gruner blesses a bag of scapulars to leave for police officers, firefighters and off-duty workers.
2. The emotional pain on workers’ faces can be clearly seen.
3. Father Gruner blessing Brown Scapulars for enrollment.
4. Flowers, flags, vigil lights and much prayer fill every street leading to Ground Zero.

Necessity of Wearing the Scapular

During the Spanish civil war in the 1930’s, seven Communists were sentenced to death because of their crimes. A Carmelite priest tried 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 continued to refuse. Only to please them, he put on a Scapular, he would do nothing more. Morning came, and as the moment of execution drew near, the seventh man made it clear that he was not going to ask for the 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. Saint 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.’" Saint 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.

Further Miracles

A Jesuit missionary in Guatamala tells an 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 that 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 her Scapular was not touched by the flames.

In the same year of 1955, a similar miracle occurred in the Midwest. 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.

The story below is true. It was originally published in a German periodical under the title of "Seine Mutter Meine Mutter" by A.M. Weigl and translated by Anna C. Pertsch. It is reprinted with the kind courtesy and permission of Fatima Findings in Baltimore, MD, a publication of the Reparation Society of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The Scapular that Saved Two Lives

My battalion was a member of the Irene Brigade. We were just about to advance. After we passed Eindhofen, our trucks and tanks went through Uden. In the evening we encamped on an old farm near Nijmegen. Behind the house there was an old wooden pump surrounded by bricks. This offered a fine opportunity for a soldier to wash away the sweat and dust of hours of fighting. You can well imagine that we made good use of this opportunity. I was one of the group and so I tossed my jacket on the ground and hung my Scapular on the pump while I washed.

Horrifying News - An hour later we received orders to proceed about a mile and a half further and to occupy a trench there. We were looking forward to being able to get a peaceful night’s sleep in that trench.

I was about to lie down and was unbuttoning my collar when to my horror I realized that I no longer had my Scapular. It had been a gift from my mother. I had had it with me all during the war and now that we were approaching the lion’s den was I to be deprived of it?

To go fetch it was unthinkable, so I tried not to think about it anymore and to go to sleep. I pitched and tossed from my left side to my right, but I couldn’t get to sleep.

All around me, my buddies were sleeping like logs even though from time to time shells fell dangerously close. Finally I was overcome by the desire to get my Scapular back and I crept out among my sleeping companions. It wasn’t so easy to get past the sentry but I managed to do it and ran back the way we had come. It was pitch dark, but nevertheless I had good luck and in a short time I was back on the farm and at the pump. My hands glided searchingly all over the pump but the Scapular was gone. I was just about to strike a match when there was the sound of a dreadful explosion. What was I to do? Was that the sign of an enemy attack? As fast as I could I ran back to our trench. Maybe I could do something for my buddies there.

A Very Close Call - Near the trench I saw the engineers busily at work hurriedly removing piles of dirt and barbed wire. At the very spot where my companions had been sleeping there yawned a gigantic shell-hole. Before they had vacated this trench the enemy had placed a time-bomb in it and it had exploded during my absence. Nobody survived the explosion. If I had not set out to fetch my Scapular, I would have been buried under that rubble too.

"Thought You Were There!" - On the following morning I went to the field kitchen and met a buddy there. He looked at me with astonishment. "I thought you were in that trench!"

"And I thought you were buried there!"

My friend continued, "I was lying in the trench, but before I went to sleep I went looking for you. But I couldn’t find you. The corporal saw me hunting around and asked me what I wanted. When I told him what I was doing there he said, ‘Be sensible! Instead go to that inn nearby and get me a bottle of water.’ And while I was on this errand, the explosion occurred."

Handed Me My Scapular - "Well, I escaped it by a hair’s breadth too," I replied. "But why on earth were you looking for me so late at night?"

"To give you this," he replied, and handed me my Scapular which he had taken from the old pump.


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