The Brown Scapular, It’s Origin And Sabatine Privileges

The Brown Scapular, It’s Origin And Sabatine Privileges


The early Carmelites, who dwelt on Mount Carmel where Elijah the Tishbite did great things for God, imitated his (Elijah) spirit of prayerful contemplation and austere manner of life.

This group of early Carmelites later migrated into Western Europe. This migration was necessitated among other reasons by the fall in the amount of alms they were receiving from the pilgrims coming on pilgrimage to the Holy Land who were being persecuted by the Muslims. As these brothers must survive, they had to go in search of greener pastures.

While in Western Europe, the order was besieged/faced with a mirage of oppositions. One of such oppositions was simply the face that, the Carmelites were accused and criticized greatly of not being true sons of Carmel. This was so because they have put aside their contemplative tradition and austere manner of life for active apostolate.

It was amidst all these oppositions that, St. Simon Stock an Englishman, who was the incumbent superior general of the Order prayed to Our Lady to intervene in the problems of her Order and thus after much prayer, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, holding in one hand the brown scapular and carrying the infant Jesus on the other side.

She said:
“Receive my son, this scapular of your Order and of my confraternity, a privilege granted to you and to all Carmelites. Whoever dies wearing this will not suffer eternal damnation.” This took place in the year 1251. This promise was later extended to all who will wear the brown scapular faithfully.

Note: the statement made by Our Lady: “…this scapular of your Order and of my confraternity…”

A. “…of your Order…” Because the scapular was already a part of their religious habit.

B. “…and of my confraternity…” Because it was the symbol used by the Carmelites as a sign of their dedication or consecration of their religious life to Mary.

Many reasons have been attached to why the brown scapular has become so popular – some of which are because of its origin, the many indulgences attached to it by many Popes and of course, the many miracles heaven have wrought through it.

The scapular for the Carmelites was a habit (a form of clothing the wear) but was reduced to its miniature form as we have it today to make it comfortable for the faithful to wear as we go about our work since the privilege/promise of scapular has also been extended to us and we wish to be a co – sharer of the promise.


By this scapular, it becomes for us a sign of the dedication of ourselves to Mary, our Queen. It is a sign of dedication of ourselves to Mary’s maternity. Then, as a true mother she will watch over and lead us.

It is the constant teaching of the Church that devotion to God’s mother is not only a means but a pledge/promise of eternal salvation. “Those who shelter their weakness in the motherly heart of Mary shall draw salvation from the Lord” – the scapular therefore makes us not only the servants of Mary but also the children of her choice from the day we are enrolled in it, we become dedicated to her in a special way and have a special claim upon her protection and intercession. St. Alphonsus Liguori says “it is impossible that a child of Mary be damned, provided he serves her faithfully and commends his/herself to her motherly protection.”

The scapular according to John Mary Haffert is a visible sign of Mary’s invisible mediation which has come to be called her Sacrament in the order of grace to her special devotees; this is so because the scapular unites us to Mary to a point where we cannot be lost. She does for her children, that, which she did at the wedding of Cana, interiorly, she prompts us to do this or that, so as to become pleasing to her Son.

The scapular is a two – sided agreement between Mary and her devotees; she offers to be our mother and we on the other hand, offer to be her children. The scapular therefore, becomes an unbreakable bond that unites us to Mary and to all scapular wearers.

The scapular is an intensive but wordless prayer because without saying to Mary with our mouth that we love, honor, that we have confidence in her, by simply wearing the scapular, we tell her all these things every minute of the day.


Given to Pope John XXII in 1322 by Our Lady in a vision, that, she the mother of grace will descend on the Saturday after their death and shall free whomsoever she finds in Purgatory. This privilege is what is referred to as, “Sabatine” (Saturday) privilege and is based on a bull said to have been issued on March 3rd 1322 by the same Pope.

– Faithful wearing of the scapular: Always after a valid enrolment
– To keep chaste according to one’s state in life
– To recite the little office of Our Lady and if one cannot read, should abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays.


An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due for sin, the guilt which is already removed at the confessional.

The usual condition for gaining an indulgence is Confession, Communion, one Pater (our Father), one Ave (hail Mary) and one Gloria (glory be…) for the Pope’s intentions.


– On the day of enrolment
– Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Camel – July 16th
– Feast of St. Elijah – July 20th
– Feast of St. Simon Stock – May 16th
– Feast of St. Teresa of Avila – 15th Oct.
– Feast of all the saints of Carmel.
– Feast of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Aug. 15th
Other partial indulgence include
– Kissing the scapular devoutly (500 days, “Benedict XV, July 8th 1916)

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