Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Feast Day: July 16th
History of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel is located on the northwestern coast of Palestine on a peak of high land that juts out into the Mediterranean Sea. The area, noted for its unusually fruitful vines and foliage, was appropriately named, for the Hebrew word "Carmel" means "Beautiful garden land."Thew most outstanding biblical event that took place on Mount Carmel was the triumphant victory of the prophet Elijah over the pagan prophets of Baal (1 kgs. 18).
Elijah the Tishbite
Elijah the Tishbite was a fiery, rugged, powerful Hebrew prophet who feared no man!
During the time of Elijah, the Hebrew King Ahaz married a Phoenician woman, Jezebel, who was a strong believer in the pagan god Baal. Ahaz built a temple for his wife's god and allowed pagan worship to spread in his land. (Pagans believed that Baal was the master of the earth who controlled the weather and had the power to allow women to have children.)
In time, the colorful, musical pagan ceremonies, which were sometimes obscene, began to attract some of the Jewish people. The prophets of the Lord constantly denounced these ceremonies, and Jezebel retaliated by killing them. Fortunately Elijah escaped.
Elijah then challenged the prophets of Baal to gather on Mt. Carmel for a contest which would determine, once and for all, which God - Baal of the Lord - was the true God. It was agreed that a prophet of Baal and a prophet of the Lord would each build a stone altar and place firewood and sacrificial bull upon it. The "God" who would send fire from Heaven upon the altar would be accepted as the "true God."
The prophets of Baal prayed, danced, and chanted from the morning until later afternoon, but absolutely nothing happened. Baal sent no answer.
Before Elijah began his prayer, he poured man gallons of water over his altar so it would be humanly impossible for anyone to light the sacrificial fire. Then Elijah called upon the Lord, and immediately fire bolted down from Heaven and consumed not only the sacrificial bull but also the very stones of the altar!
It became very clear to all that the God of the Hebrews was supreme. The pagan prophets were slain and Elijah went into hiding. Later, Elijah gathered a community of prophets together on Mt. Carmel. These holy men, who studied scripture and prayed to God, dwelt in caves and lived in peace. Before the great prophet Elijah was taken up to Heaven in a fiery chariot, he left his sacred mantle to his successor, Elisha.
New Testament and Mt. Carmel
Jesus, Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth, about 35 miles from Mt. Carmel. There is no record that the Holy Family visited Mt. Carmel, but it is certain that Joseph and Mary taught Jesus the rich heritage of Hebrew history which included the stories about the prophet Elijah.
In the New Testament, St. John the Baptizer is described very much like the great prophet Elijah; and in the story of the Transfiguration both Moses and Elijah are seen speaking with Jesus. When Jesus asked His disciples, "Who do the people think I am?" they replied, "Elijah, John the Baptizer, or one of the prophets." Then Jesus asked all the Apostles, "Whom do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God."
After the death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, movements of discontent and rebellion in the Holy Land provoked the Romans to be even more severe with
the Hebrews. In 70 A.D., the great city of Jerusalem was destroyed and the sacred Temple sacked and burned. Many Hebrews fled to the hills and some took refuge in the caves of Elijah's prophets, but eventually even these were dispersed by the angry Romans.
St. Helena Constructs the Basilica of St. Elijah
In the fourth century A.D. St. Helena, mother of Constantine, traveled to Palestine to construct churches over the places sacred to the Christian religion. She built a basilica in honor of the prophet Elijah, and Byzantine monks founded a monastery nearby. Some monks retired to the caves for prayer and solitude with God.
All this ended in 614 A.D., when the Persians invaded and destroyed the basilica. They were folled by the Muslims.
St. Berthold and Companions Settle on Mt. Carmel
Around 1155, an Italian priest-monk from Calabria, St. Berthold and ten companions, ex-Crusaders, settledon Mt. Carmel near the spring of Elijah. They formed a separate hermit community of their own. Each lived in his own hut or cave. Each grew his own food, and each met with the others for Sunday Mass and common prayers.
St. Albert of Jerusalem
St. Albert of Jerusalem was an Italian canon of the Holy Cross who became Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1206.Most of the time he lived at the Crusader fortress of Acrenear Mt. Carmel. He had met St. Dominic, St. Francis, and several other religious founders in Italy and was experienced in the rules of religious life. Between 1206 and 1214, St. Albert of Jerusalem presented the Rule of Carmel to St. Brocard and the Latin hermits. This Rule emphasized meditation and prayer and provided for a blending of community life and hermit life.
"Each of you is to stay in his own cell or nearby, pondering the Lord's law day and night and keeping watch at his prayers unless attending to some other duty."
St. Albert also stipulated that a separate oratory be built for the hermits to gather for daily Mass and the divine office in common. This small oratory was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Ever after-wards it was called the Church of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel -because it was named for Mary and stood on Mt. Carmel.
Chapel of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Our Lady received the title of "Our Lady of Mt. Carmel" from this chapel of the Brothers. Although this chapel was the first to be called "Our Lady of Mt. Carmel," Mary did not appear here or bestow the Scapular here. That took place in England. Neither did the Brothers of Our Lady wear a scapular when this church was built. Their habit consisted of a dark tunic or cassock with a mantle of black and white stripes.
In their chapel hung a very simple Byzantine icon of the Madonna and Child. Copies of it were sent to Europe, where they are still venerated at Santa Maria Transpontina near St. Peter's in Rome and at Madonna del Carmine in Naples. None of these copies showed Our Lady with the scapular because it had not yet been given.
Icon of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
In this original representation of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Her dress is red and Her mantle is blue. Affixed to the Icon is a multi-rayed star representing Her perpetual virginity and Her familiar poetic title, "Star of the Sea."
The Brothers Leave Mt Carmel
Various problems with the Muslims made the Carmelite brothers unable to live on Mt. Carmel in prayerful solitude. From about 1238, they began to move to Europe. Some went to Sicily. Some went to Naples. St. Louis, King of France, who was a Crusader, welcomed the Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to his country.
In 1240, Sir Richard De Grey of England went on Crusade in the Holy Land with Richard of Cornwall. Two years later, in 1242, he returned to England, bringing Carmelites with him. At Christmas, the Carmelites were presented to the King. They were permitted to remain in England and given royal permission to establish a religious house.
The Brothers at Aylesford, England
Sir Richard De Grey brought the Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to his estate of Aylesford, in Kent , not far from Canterbury. There they founded a religious house.
The transition from the strict hermit life to the life style of the contemporary mendicant friars occurred with the hermits' move to Europe. One of the Carmelites most responsible for the transition was a member of the Aylesford house, Fr. Simon Stock. He was a native Englishman from the area of Aylesford.
In 1247, the Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel elected Simon Stock as their Prior General with authority over the Carmelites everywhere.
St. Simon Stock had to face to a very serious situation. Few candidates were entering the community and his friaries located in the university cities of Oxford, Cambridge, Paris and Bologna were not too successful. Many people made fun of the friars who wore the "striped-bedouin mantle." Some resented their title "Brothers of Our Lady," because their opponents said, "In real life, Mary was an only child and had no brothers or sisters."
Still others insisted that there were now too many religious orders. They felt that the smaller ones should be disbanded and their members join an already existing religious order or return to secular life.
At this point, Carmelite tradition holds that St. Simon Stock implored the very special protection of the Blessed Virgin, asking Her for a "privilegium." (A "privilegium" is a special kind of protection which a medieval lord gave to someone who asked him to protect his life and property in return for the complete loyalty of the one who made the request.)
St. Simon Stock's prayer for help has been preserved for us in the beautiful hymn he composed, "Flos Carmeli." This prayer is still sung in churches of the Carmelite Order on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel just before the Alleluia verse.
Our Lady Appears to St. Simon Stock
Our Lady responded to St. Simon Stock's fervent prayer with a special "privilegium" - the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which was henceforth to be the distinctive part of the Carmelite religious vesture.
The original records of the appearance of Our Lady to St. Simon Stock are now lost. This is due to the unhappy events of the Protestant Reformation in England and the destruction of many ancient documents in the archives of the Carmelite House at Bordeaux, France, where St. Simon Stock spent the last years of his life and where he was buried.
Therefore, we have no authentic description of what Our Lady looked like, as we do from those who saw Her in modern times, such as St. Catherine Laboure, St. Bernadette, and the children of Fatima. The complete text of Our Lady's conversation with St. Simon Stock was not recorded in its entirety. All that has come down to us is the essential sentence regarding the Scapular. Before considering what is called "The Scapular Vision" itself, it would be helpful to know what a scapular is.
Though it could hardly be guessed from the present form of the religious scapulars we wear under our civilian clothing today, a scapular is a long garment which extends from the shoulders to the hem of the cassock. There is an opening for the head; half of the scapular hangs in the front, half of it hangs in the back. The purpose of the scapular was to protect the cassock - in much the same way as a workman's apron protects his clothing from being soiled as he works.
From at least the time of St. Benedict, 547, the scapular was a standard part of clothing worn by the monastic orders. A hood was generally sewn to it.
Augustinian Canons wore no scapular with there religious habit.
With the coming of the medieval orders of friars, the scapular became part of the friars habit with the major exception of the Augustinians and Franciscans. For these religious, it was the second portion of the habit, worn over the tunic and under the third piece which was a sort of shoulder cape, rounded in front, pointed in back and with a hood sewn to it.
From this it can be seen that Our Lady did not invent or inaugurate the religious habit scapular as something new and unique for the Carmelites. Rather, She used something within the context of a solidly established tradition and widespread practice. She selected the familiar religious scapular as Her sign of protection for the Carmelite Fathers and Brothers. (Carmelite nuns not yet founded and the laity did not appear to be included in the original grant.)
The choice of color, brown (the color of humility and of the earth from which we are made), appears to have been Mary's own choice.
Aylesford, Kent, England is traditionally held to be the place where St. Simon Stock experienced his vision of Our Lady, although some have suggested that it may have occurred at Cambridge.In this encounter, the Blessed Virgin Mary said, in words to this this effect:
"Take this as the scapular of your order. This shall be a sign to you and to all Carmelites: whosoever dies wearing this shall not suffer eternal fire."
Without fanfare and undue publicity but within the silence of the cloister, Our Lady bestowed Her sign of privileged protection to the Carmelites who, vowed to Her service, preserved faithfully in it until death. The sign was given July 16, 1251.
All misrepresentation, misunderstanding or superstition that could arise with regard to the Scapular begins with the "Vision Sentence" taken out of its proper context.
The very wording of the Scapular Promise makes it absolutely clear that the Blessed Virgin never intended to substitute the wearing of brown cloth for living the Christian life. The Scapular was not an exemption from Christian living. Rather, it was a quite visible sign that its wearer was more solemnly pledged to live the Christian life after the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary Herself whose faith, humility and cooperation with God's grace were so outstanding.
Lay Groups and Third Orders
At first the Brown Scapular belonged only to the Carmelites. When lay groups and third orders began to form under the direction of the religious orders, the Carmelites likewise acquired the direction of these pious men and women. Some were formed into groups called "confraternities" or societies.
The Carmelite Confraternities gathered frequently to pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary and to sing her praises. They were instructed to fast from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It was for these devout souls, lay-folk living the basics of religious life in the world that the smaller scapular we now wear was devised so it could be worn under civilian clothing.
The Sabbatine Privilege
Those who love Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and devoutly wear Her Scapular are usually aware of the extraordinary promise of early release from Purgatory for all Carmelites and members of the Lay Confraternities of Mount Carmel.
This promise is called the Sabbatine Privilege because in it, the Blessed Virgin is said to have promised that She would free any Carmelite or Confraternity member from Purgatory on the first Saturday after death.
All should be aware of the facts surrounding the privilege itself and how the Church has interpreted and approved the privilege, as well as how the Church intervened in behalf of the Sabbatine Privilege itself without ever declaring its origin to be undisputed fact.
In this intervention the Church did not declare to be true what was not. It concentrated on the content and intent of the privilege and carefully explained and endorsed both.
Very thorough searches of the Vatican archives have failed to find the original or an early transcript of the Papal Bull "Sacratissimo uti culmine" of Pope John XXII of March 3, 1322.
In this Bull, Pope John XXII claims that the Blessed Virgin appeared to him on behalf of the Carmelites and their associates, asking that he, as Vicar of Christ on earth, should ratify the indulgences which Christ had already granted in Heaven:
A. A plenary indulgence at death for members of the Carmelite Order:
B. A partial indulgence, remitting one-third of the temporal punishment due to sin for the Confraternity members.
Our Lady informed the Pope that She Herself would graciously descend into Purgatory on the Saturday after their death and bring to Heaven all Confraternity members She found there. Since all who are enrolled in the Scapular belong to the Confraternity, the number of souls released from Purgatory would be considerable.
Special conditions were specified, i.e., praying the Little Office, fasting and abstaining on Wednesdays and Saturdays and faithfully keeping chastity.
Pope John XXII in this Bull confirmed and ratified all the above from his residence in Avignon, France.Such a document naturally attracted attention, but much of it was unwelcome and contentious. The controversy was often unpleasant.
The following Popes confirmed the Sabbatine Privilege:
Pope Gregory XIII (September 18, 1571); Pope Clement VII (August 12, 1530); Pope St. Pius V (February 18, 1566).
The Roman Inquisition under Paul V on January 20, 1613 decreed:
"It is permitted to the Carmelite Fathers to preach that the Christian people may piously believe in the help which the souls of brethren and members, who have departed this life in charity, have worn throughout life the Scapular, have ever observed chastity, have recited the Little Hours of the Blessed Virgin, or, if they can not read, have observed the fast days of the Church and have abstained from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays (except when Christmas falls on such days), may derive after death- especially on Saturday, the day consecrated to the Blessed
Virgin by the Church, through the unceasing intercession of Mary, Her pious petitions, Her merits and Her special protection."
Pope Benedict XIII extended the Feasts of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to the whole western world. Benedict XIV also encouraged people to wear the Scapular and have confidence in Our Lady's promises.
A New Representation of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Widespread enrollment in the Scapular Confraternities gradually brought about a significant change in the way Our Lady of Mount Carmel was pictured. The traditional Icon of Our Lady of Mount Carmel became obsolete as it was replaced by representations of Our Lady, Herself, dressed in the brown habit and scapular and with the new white mantle which had replaced the striped mantle the Carmelites had worn from their beginning on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land.
Our Lady usually carried the Christ Child, and both She and Her Son held out the smaller scapulars for the Confraternity members. Both Mary and the Infant Jesus are shown with crowns.
This is the standard image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel that we recognize as such today.
Reformation Affects the Carmelites
The great Reformation of the 16th century brought hard times to the Carmelite Order. Many friaries in Germany were closed in areas where Protestantism gained control. There was no place for Carmelite Confraternities and the whole idea of the scapular was scorned by the "new-think" reformers.
Under the leadership of King Henry VIII. England was cut off from its spiritual allegiance to the Holy Father because the King was not permitted to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon.
In the troubles that followed, some of the Oxford and Cambridge Carmelites joined the reform movement. King Henry VIII began the systematic suppression of all religious houses in England. The religious were bullied into surrendering their houses and lands to the King's men in return for a pension and the removal of their religious habit.
Aylesford, home of St. Simon Stock, was given to relatives of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne Boleyn. Its church was destroyed, and it was only in 1951 that the Carmelites were able to return to their ancient home, bringing with them the relics of St. Simon Stock.
St. John of the Cross
St. John of the Cross, a young friar, extended St. Teresa's reform to the Fathers in 1568.He was a theologian, poet and spiritual writer whose Dark Night of the Soul and Ascent of Mount Carmel are likewise highly respected classics of the spiritual life.
St. John of the Cross died on Saturday, December 14, 1591. This pleased him greatly, for he believed in the Sabbatine Privilege which Our Lady of Mount Carmel promised all who persevered in wearing Her Scapular until death.
St. Teresa of Avila
St. Teresa of Avila, Spain, began a very thorough reform of the Carmelite Order with a small community of nuns. Their lifestyle was austere, with much prayer and silence.
St. Teresa of Avila’s Autobiography, Foundations, Interior Castle, and Way of Perfection tell us much about her spiritual experiences. These books profoundly influenced the spiritual formation of Europe and the New World and continue to be regarded and esteemed as classics of religious literature.
St. Teresa of Avila often describes herself as a member of “The Order of Our Lady of Carmel, whose habit I am privileged to wear through I am unworthy of it.”
Calced and Discalced Carmelites
The "Theresian Reform" of the Carmelite Order was so thorough in its return to the primitive Rule of Carmel that it became necessary to divide the Carmelite Order into two groups.
The first group consisted of all who still preferred to keep the modified Rule of Carmel as adapted for the apostolic life by the Pope. These were called Calced Carmelites because they were shoes.
The second group consisted of all who elected to keep the Carmelite Rule according to the reformed version of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. These were called Discalced Carmelites because they did not wear shoes.
Their once flowing Carmelite white mantle was considerably shortened and simplified. Sometimes images of Our Lady of Mount Carmel reflect this division, by having the coat of arms of either the Calced or Discalced Carmelites embroidered on the scapular worn by Our Lady or on the badges themselves.
The deepest respect which St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross earned for the Carmelites also drew attention to the value of wearing the Brown Scapular.
Saints and Holy Men Recommend the Brown Scapular
Members of other religious orders also wore the Mount Carmel Scapular with much devotion. Very Rev. Father General of the Jesuits,Fr. Aquaviva, S.J., ordered his men to propagate the Scapular Devotion.
St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J.
The great Jesuit Cardinal and Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine, S.J., teacher and spiritual director of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, defended the use of Our Lady's Scapular:
"Anyone dying in Mary's family will receive from her at the hour of death either the grace of perseverance in the state of grace or the grace of final contrition."
St. Peter Claver
St. Peter Claver, a Jesuit missionary in South America, devoted his priestly ministry to the blacks. When he could do nothing to stop the unjust capture of blacks from the their native Africa to be sold as slaves in South America, St. Peter Claver organized people to teach them the basics of the Catholic faith. He baptized over 300, 000people and made it a practice to invest each convert in the Scapular of Mt.
Blessed Claude de la Colombiere
Blessed Claude de la Colombiere, Jesuit confessor to St. Margaret Mary who saw the visions of the Sacred Heart, established the Scapular Confraternity in Parayle-Monial.
"There is no devotion which renders our salvation more certain than the Scapular. If Our Lady graciously affords Her favor to all devotions in Her honor, how much more will She do in favor of those who wear Her holy uniform!"
"In that celebrated promise, Mary reveals all the tenderness of Her Heart."
St. Alphonsus de Liguori
St. Alphonsus de Liguori, founder of the Redemptorist Fathers, was an outstanding champion of Mary. His book, The Glories of Mary, has been read and loved for about 200 years.
St. Alphonsus wore the scapular. In his preaching and writings he fervently recommended others to wear and treasure it. The Redemptorists and other priests giving parish missions were strongly urged to enroll all who took part in the mission services in the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
This scapular preaching was well received and long remembered in southern Italy where the most popular title of Our Lady is "Our Lady of Mount Carmel." The Feast is celebrated with processions and great festivity and Italian immigrants brought this devotion to America, where it still continues. Their word for the scapular is "l'abitino" or "the little habit."
St. Alphonsus died in 1787. Many years later his grave was opened. His bones and all of his garments had disintegrated into dust, but his scapular was found intact and is still intact today.
"O my Mother, by the love which thou bearest to God, I beseech thee to help me at all times, but especially at the last moment of my life. Leave me not, I beseech thee, until thou seest me safe in Heaven."
Bl. Vincent Pallotti
Bl. Vincent Pallotti was the founder of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate. He was so greatly influenced by the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Alphonsus that he became a member of the Carmelite Third Order and obtained the faculty to invest people in the Brown Scapular. In fact, he insisted on this when he gave retreats, novenas and missions. He sent great quantities of scapulars to the foreign missions. His own Carmelite scapular is preserved at the Pallottine Generalate in Rome.
St. Jean Marie Vianney, Cure d'Ars
St. Jean Marie Vianney, patron of all parish priests, was gifted with special insights into souls. A woman preparing to enter a convent had made her confession to the Cure. He reminded her of a dance she had attended some time before at which a handsome young man had danced with many others but would not go near her. The Cure, who had no way of knowing about the dance, reminded her of some blue flame like light under the man's feet, and the woman remembered perfectly.
"You were jealous of the others and hurt because this man would not dance with you. My dear, he was a demon and danced with those in serious sin. He kept away from you because you were wearing the Scapular."
St. Bernadette Soubirous
St. Bernadette Soubirous saw the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God in a riverside grotto in Lourdes, France in 1858.She saw the holy Virgin on eighteen separate occasions, the last of which took place on July 16, Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Civil authorities had barricaded the grotto to discourage pious people from gathering there.
As Bernadette prayed her Rosary, Our Lady appeared to her smiled, but remained silent. Bernadette later remarked: "I have never seen her look more beautiful..."
St. John Bosco-Founder of the Salesians
St. John Bosco, apostle of modern youth work, wore the Scapular and loved Our Blessed Mother very much. He died in 1888. When his remains were examined in 1929, his Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel was found intact.
St. Conrad, the Capuchin lay brother, was invested in the Brown Scapular before he joined the Capuchin Franciscan order and wore it for the rest of his religious life. He said: "I will always strive to have a deep devotion to Mary: I will strive especially to imitate Her virtues."
St. Conrad spent many years as doorkeeper for the Capuchin Fathers a the Shrine of Our Lady at Altoetting in Germany. He always gave scapulars to those who visited the Shrine and asked that they wear the Scapular with great love for Our Lady.
Fr. Michael McGivney
Fr. Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, was a member of the Third Order of St. Dominic. In addition to the White Scapular of the Dominicans, he also wore the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
As part of the 100th anniversary of the Knights of Columbus, St. Mary's Church in New Haven, Conn. was renovated. A new tomb was prepared in the church for Fr. McGivney's remains. Both the Dominican Scapular and the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel were discovered perfectly preserved.
Pope St. Pius X
Pope St. Pius X was a
Carmelite Tertiary who faithfully wore the Scapular. When missionaries from
tropical countries asked Pope St. Pius X for a special favor - to have the cloth
scapular replaced by a medal. St. Pius X granted their request. The Scapular
Medal was to have the Sacred Heart of Jesus on one side and Our Lady of Mount
Carmel on the other. St. Pius X stated: "We grant the use of the Scapular
Medal, but We prefer that the cloth scapular be used."
Papally Crowned Miraculous Image
Pope St. Pius X conferred the special privilege of solemn papal coronation upon the miraculous image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel venerated at the Pallottine Father's Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel., First and Pleasant Avenues, New York City.
This rare privilege has been granted only three times before in North America: Guadalupe, Mexico; Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Canada; and Prompt Succor, New Orleans, Louisiana.
The miraculous image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, venerated since 1884, was crowned on July 10, 1904 with crowns personally blessed by Pope St. Pius X, who contributed a large emerald of his own to the crowns. It is the only papally crowned image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in America.
Pope Benedict XV
Pope Benedict XV addressed the seminarians of Rome on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: "Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language the sentences of the Gospel- the common armor the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel which you ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege and protection after death."
Saint Frances Cabrini
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the first naturalized U.S. citizen and saint, was born on the eve of Our Lady of Mount Carmel's feast in 1850 in Italy.
She wore the Scapular and maintained her own devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel as she and her sisters worked among the Italian immigrants.
On August 14, 1941, St. Maximilian Marie Kolbe, Conventual Franciscan priest and founder of the Militia of the Immaculate, was executed in the prison camp of Auschwitz, Poland, by the Nazis. He had volunteered to take the place of a married man condemned to death.
Though St. Maximilian's Militia uses the Miraculous Medal in honor of the Immaculate Conception in its apostolic Marian work, Brother Bartholomew, O.F.M. Conv., who received the religious habit of the Conventual Franciscans almost a 100 years ago from the hands of St. Maximilian, has stated: " Yes, Father Kolbe wore the Brown Scapular, and he wanted all of us working with him to wear it also."
Our Lady of Fatima
From May to October, in 1917, Our Lady appeared to three children at Fatima in Portugal. She requested them to pray the Rosary each day for peace. She also asked them to pray for the conversion of sinners and of Russia.
On Her final visit, October 13, 1917, Our Lady repeated the request for prayer and penance. All present were amazed at the spectacular whirling of the sun which dried the soaked clothing of all present. (It had rained very heavily since early morning.)
The children saw Our Lady with the Rosary; Our Lord; St. Joseph with the Child Jesus; Our Lady in blue; and finally, Our Lady of Mount Carmel with the Brown Scapular. Nothing was spoken during these last apparitions which only the children experienced.
Lucia, the oldest of the three, has always interpreted the manifestation of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with the scapulars to mean that Our Lady again wishes to let us know that She wants us to wear the Brown Scapular as a sign of consecration to Her Immaculate Heart.
Scapular Adopted by the World Apostolate of Fatima (The Blue Army
The Scapular is such an essential part of the Fatima Message that the World Apostolate of Fatima (The Blue Army), a spiritual organization committed to carry out Our Lady's requests at Fatima within the Church, has adopted the Brown Scapular as its official emblem.
The World Apostolate of Fatima (The Blue Army) was founded by Msgr. Harold V. Colgan in Plainfield, N.J. It is now a worldwide organization with its National Center in Washington, N.J. The Blue Army Banner and its logo both depict the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Because Our Lady requested the daily recitation of the Rosary and the wearing of the Scapular of Mount Carmel, another representation of Our Lady has been made. This representation of Mary holding both of these Marian sacramentals does not depict the Fatima vision but it is a beautiful artistic concept.
The Scapular: A Sign of Consecration to Mary
Children of Our Lady, now that you have read the magnificent story of how the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to be, and have seen how much the saints loved it and wore it, do you not also want to be invested in the Scapular and wear it ever after, with great love and respect for our heavenly Mother Mary?
Mary asks you to consecrate yourself to Her Immaculate Heart. Consecrate yourself willingly and give Her all. Remember that your faithful wearing of Her Scapular is the sign of your surrender of all to Her.
Mary will guide you to what is most pleasing to Her Divine Son. She will lead you to appreciate the promises of your baptism: to reject sin and all that leads to sin, to choose God, and to believe in the truths of our Catholic Faith.
Mary will help You
Mary will teach you how to be loyal to Holy Mother Church and to the Vicar of Christ on earth, the Holy Father. Mary will instruct you, by Her example, to live a good Christian life and to grow more and more in grace through prayer, reflection upon the Scriptures, and participation in the Sacraments.
Mary promised Her privileged protection those who follow Her to Christ - particularly at the moment of death. Can we say "No thank you" to so loving and generous a Mother who brought Jesus into this world and wants us to be happy forever in Heaven?
Can we say "No" to so precious a gift She has prepared for us? The gifts is there for the asking! What will you do about it?
Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
"O most blessed and immaculate Virgin, ornament and splendor of Mount Carmel, thou who readest with particular goodness those who wear thy Scapular, benignly look upon me also, and cover me with the mantle of thy maternal protection. Fortify my weakness with thy strength; illuminate the darkness of my mind with they wisdom; increase faith, hope and charity within me; adorn my soul with such graces and virtues that it may be always precious to thee and thy Divine Son.Assist me in life and console me at the hour of death with thy most loving presence and present me to the most august Trinity as thy child and devout servant, to eternally praise and bless thee in Heaven." Amen
Scapular Investiture Regulations
1. The scapular does need to be made of brown, woven wool
2. Only the first scapular the person is invested in needs to be blessed; this blessing is transferred to each new scapular that individual will wear. (This privilege does not apply to the Scapular Medal.)
3. Investiture in the Scapular places the individual in the Scapular Confraternity. (It is not required that the priest send in the names of those invested.)
4. Any priest may now substitute the recital of the daily Rosary for the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary for gaining the "Sabbatine Privilege." This permission may be requested either in or out of the confessional.
5. Protestants desirous of honoring Mary by wearing the Brown Scapular may do so; however, it is not permitted to invest them officially in the Scapular. We all should pray for Protestants to convert and by wearing a Brown Scapular, Our Lady will pay special attention to them. Please try to get your Protestant loved ones to wear a Brown Scapular.
Some suggestions for Priest Investing People in the Brown Scapular
1. Explain what the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is and why everyone should want to wear it.
2. Explain that we wear the Scapular in order to honor Mary and to petition Her on this way to help us imitate Her complete surrender to God's Will. Note that no special prayers are required to be said by members but the wearing of the Scapular is itself a silent petition asking Mary's help.
3. Explain that we wear the Scapular because we value prayer, joining those who share in each others prayer and good works in a special way.
4. Explain that Our Lady Herself updated the Scapular Devotion when She appeared at Fatima, Portugal on October 13,1917, affirming that She wishes all to wear the Scapular as the sign of consecration to her Immaculate Heart.
5. Invest the person in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel using the ritual.
Scapular, Miracles & the Saints -"Garment
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 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."
Blessed Claude de la Colombiere, the renowned Jesuit and spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary, gives a point which is (BEGIN PG. # 5) 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 moments 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, (BEGIN PG. # 6) 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 mountains 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 the 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 mat protect you from all harm and bring you into everlasting life." The following true stories will give a brief idea of how the 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 hundreds 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 it 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, Columbia, South America. St. Peter used to insure the salvation of his converts. 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
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 eye-witnesses 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 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.
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 St. Simon Stock 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."
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 cigarettes, food and wine, assuring them that the 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. Blessed 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.'" Blessed 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.
A Jesuit missionary in Guatemala 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 in 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 young 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.
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 any more 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.
On the following morning I went out to the field kitchen and met a
buddy there. He looked at me with astonishment. "I though you were in that
"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 that 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.
"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.
A Shield in Time of Battle
Mr. Sisto Mosco of North Providence, Rhode Island, is a veteran of World War II, who survived, unscathed, the invasion of Normandy, and, later the 7th Fleet War with the Japanese Fleet, the taking of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and other bloody battles in the South Pacific. Sisto affirms that his miraculous escape is another perfect example of the powerful protection of our Blessed Mother of Mount Carmel, through Her Brown Scapular.
"I was on the battleship the U.S.S. Nevada as chaplain's yeoman during W.W. II in the Pacific. (I always wore my Scapular because I was brought up close to the Church, and I kept it in on me all through the war.) The ship was laded with dynamite. A suicide plan hit the deck, real close to where I was positioned. The blast blew open the bolted steel doors of the compartment. I alone was left uninjured after the explosion. The rest were all dead or seriously mangled. I was the only one untouched and I attribute it to the wearing of my Scapular."
Mr. Mosco later received a commendation from the Admiral of the fleet for bravery, but in his heart he firmly believes that the credit goes to Our Lady, the Virgin most powerful, who works such wonders through Her Habit of Salvation.
In wearing the Scapular at all times we make silent petition for the Blessed Mother's continual assistance. We share in all the prayers and good works of the Carmelite Scapular Confraternity throughout the world. Pope Pius XII referred to the Scapular as the "the Sign of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary". The Scapular also represents the sweet yoke of Jesus Christ which Mary helps us to bear. And finally, the Pope continued, the Scapular marks us as one of Mary's chosen children, and becomes for us (as the Germans call it) a "Garment of Grace". Blessed Claude tells us, "Of all the pious practices which have inspired the faithful to honor the Mother of God, there is none so sure as that of the Scapular. No other devotion has been confirmed by so many and such extraordinary miracles."
As we mentioned above, during the Scapular Anniversary celebration in Rome in 1951, Pope Pius XII told a very large audience to wear the Brown Scapular as a sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Our Lady asked for this consecration in the last apparition of Fatima, when She appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, holding the Brown Scapular out to the whole world. It was Her last moving appeal to souls to wear Her Scapular as a sign of consecration to Her Immaculate Heart.
A Brief Summary
The Scapular is a habit - Our Lady's habit. The Scapular must be worn over the shoulders in such a manner that one part hangs in front of the body and the other in the back. Worn in any other way, it carries no indulgence or promise. It is not necessary to wear the Scapular next to the skin. Many Catholics may not know it is the wish of the Holy Father, the Pope, that the Scapular Medal should not be worn in the place of the Cloth Scapular without sufficient reason. Mary cannot be pleased with anyone who substitutes the medal out of vanity, or out of fear of making open profession of faith. Such persons run the risk of not receiving the Promise. The medal has never been noted for any of the miraculous preservations attributed to the Brown Cloth Scapular.
May a non-Catholic wear the BROWN SCAPULAR? Yes, and in so doing, a non-Catholic will receive many (actual) graces and blessings with this special sign of devotion to the Mother of God. Although baptized Catholics are the only ones who can be officially enrolled in the Confraternity and share in the special Scapular privileges, non-Catholics are warmly encouraged to avail themselves of this special way of honoring Jesus' Mother. By wearing the Scapular, we are dedicated to Our Blessed Mother in a special way and have a strong claim upon Her protection and intercession.
Q. What is the Scapular?
A. The Scapular is a small replica of the religious habit consisting of two pieces of wool connected by ribbons and worn under one's clothes so that one piece hangs in front and the other in back. Along with the Rosary and the Miraculous Medal, the Scapular is one of the chief Marian sacramentals.
Q. And what is a sacramental?
A. A sacramental is anything set apart or blessed by the Church to excite good thoughts and to increase devotion, and through these movements of the heart, to remit venial sin.
Q. Is it the sacramental itself that gives grace?
A. No, it is not the sacramental itself that gives grace, but the devotion, the love of God, or sorrow for sin that it inspires. In using the sacramentals, the more devotion we have, the more grace we receive.
Q. What is the difference between sacraments and sacramentals?
A. The difference between the sacraments and the sacramentals is: 1st, the sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ and the sacramentals were instituted by the Church; 2nd, the sacraments give grace of themselves when we place no obstacle in the way; the sacramentals excite in us pious dispositions, by means of which we may obtain grace.
Q. What are some of the other sacramentals besides the Scapular?
A. The sign of the Cross is the chief sacramental used in the Church, besides which we have holy water, blessed candles, ashes, palms, crucifixes, and images of the Blessed Virgin and of the saints, the Rosary, and Miraculous Medal.
Q. Why do we call it a Scapular?
A. The word "Scapular" comes from the Latin word "scapulae" meaning "shoulders". The Scapular is actually a miniature form of a monk's habit by the same name which is a sleeveless outer garment falling from the shoulders to the feet.
Q. Why do we were the Scapular?
A. We wear the Scapular to indicate that we place ourselves under the special protection of the Blessed Virgin. We can tell to what army or nation a soldier belongs by the uniform he wears; so we can consider the Scapular as the particular uniform of those who desire to serve the Blessed Virgin in some special manner.
Q. May a non-Catholic wear the Scapular?
A. By all means-- non-Catholics may wear the Scapular, and by so doing, will draw upon their souls much actual grace from Heaven. Our Lady, as a good Mother will bring conversions to those who honor Her by wearing Her Scapular.
Q. Must the Scapular be blessed before wearing it?
A. The first Scapular to be worn must be blessed and imposed by a Priest using the formula contained in the Roman ritual for reception into the Confraternity of the Scapular.
Q. What are the words used by the priest when enrolling a person in the Brown Scapular?
A. The words used by the priest when enrolling a person in the Confraternity of the Scapular are as follows:
"Receive this blessed habit; praying the most holy Virgin, that by Her merits thou mayest wear it without stain; and that She may guard thee from all evil and bring to thee to life everlasting. R. Amen.
By the power granted me, I admit thee to the participation of all the spiritual good works, which through the gracious help of Jesus Christ are performed by the religious of Mount Carmel. In the name of the Father and of the Son, + and of the Holy Ghost. R. Amen.
May the Creator of Heaven and earth, Almighty God, bless + thee; Who hath deigned to unite thee to the confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. We beseech Her, in the hour of thy death, to crush the head of the old serpent; so that thou mayest in the end win the everlasting palm and crown of the heavenly inheritance. Through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen."
Q. Would there be a sin if one ceased to wear the Scapular after having received it?
A. No, it would not be a sin, but by so doing, one would lose all the benefits promised. If, having ceased to wear the Scapular, even for several years, one should decide to wear it once again, no new ceremony of imposition is necessary.
Q. After having received the initial Scapular from a priest do subsequent Scapulars need to be blessed?
A. No, subsequent Scapulars need not be blessed as the blessing and imposition are attached to the wearer for life.
Q. What should be done with the Scapular when it is worn out?
A. The Scapular, being a sacred object, when it becomes worn out must be either buried or burned. It should not be disposed of in the regular garbage.
Q. What is the Sabbatine Privilege?
A. The Sabbatine Privilege consists essentially in the early liberation from Purgatory through the special intercession of Mary, which She graciously exercises in favor of Her devoted servants... on the day consecrated to Her, Saturday.
Q. What are the requirements to make oneself eligible for the Sabbatine Privilege?
A. There are three conditions for the gaining of the Sabbatine Privilege. They are:
(1) We must WEAR THE SCAPULAR. (2) OBSERVE CHASTITY according to our state in life. (3) RECITE THE LITTLE OFFICE OF OUT BLESSED MOTHER (The Rosary or some other pious work can be substituted for the Office of Our Lady. The faculty to sanction this change was granted to ALL CONFESSORS by Pope Leo XIII in the Decree of the Congregation of Indulgences in June of 1901).
The Promise of Our Lady
Our Lady Herself has said, "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."
Holy Virgin of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of the Scapular, pray for us!
Recommendation to One's Guardian Angel For a Happy Hour of Death
by St. Charles Borromeo
My good Angel: I know not when or how I shall die. It is possible I may be carried off suddenly, and that before my last sigh I may be deprived of all intelligence. Yet how many things I would wish to say to God on the threshold of eternity. In the full freedom of my will today, I come to charge you to speak for me at that fearful moment. You will say to Him, then, O my good Angel:
That I wish to die in the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church in which all the saints since Jesus Christ have died, and out of which there is no salvation. That I ask the grace of sharing in the infinite merits of my Redeemer and that I desire to die in pressing to my lips the cross that was bathed in His Blood! That I detest my sins because they displease Him, and that I pardon through love of Him all my enemies as I wish myself to be pardoned. That I die willingly because He orders it and that I throw myself with confidence into His adorable Heart awaiting all His Mercy. That in my inexpressible desire to go to Heaven I am disposed to suffer everything it may please His sovereign Justice to inflict on me. That I love Him before all things, above all things and for His own sake; that I wish and hope to love Him with the Elect, His Angels and the Blessed Mother during all Eternity. Do not refuse, O my Angel, to be my interpreter with God, and to protest to Him that these are my sentiments and my will. Amen.
The "Great Promise"
"I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE. MY IMMACULATE HEART WILL BE YOUR REFUGE AND THE WAY THAT WILL LEAD YOU TO GOD." (Words of Our Lady of Fatima)"
"This great promise fills me with joy. I believe that it is not for me alone, but for all souls who wish to take refuge in the Heart of their heavenly Mother and let themselves be led upon the paths traced out by Her... It seems to me that such are the intentions of the Immaculate Heart of Mary; to make this ray of light shine before souls... to show them once more THIS HARBOR OF SALVATION, ever ready to welcome all the shipwrecked of the world." (Sr. Lucia of Fatima)
SAINT DOMINIC'S PROPHECY, FATIMA AND THE SCAPULAR WITH PLEDGE TO
Taken from the Book
The Sign of Her Heart
by John M. Haffert
Some might be surprised at the great emphasis given to a devotion as apparently simple as the Brown Scapular. But one of the most interesting testimonies to the importance of the Scapular devotion today has so far been scarcely mentioned.
In the pages of an ancient history of the Carmelite Order (written in mediaeval Latin by a forgotten writer named Ventimiglia) the author of this book found the following account:
Three famous men of God met on a street corner in Rome. They were Friar (St.) Dominic, busy gathering recruits to a new Religious Order of Preachers; Brother (St.) Francis, the friend of birds and beasts and especially dear to the poor; and (St.) Angelus, who had been invited to Rome from Mount Carmel, in Palestine, because of his fame as a preacher.
At their chance meeting, by the light of the Holy Ghost each of the three men recognized each other and, in the course of their conversation (as recorded by various followers who were present), they made prophecies to each other. Saint Angelus foretold the stigmata of Saint Francis, and Saint Dominic said:
"One day, Brother Angelus, to your Order of Carmel the Most Blessed Virgin Mary will give a devotion to be known as the Brown Scapular, and to my Order of Preachers she will give a devotion to be known as the Rosary. AND ONE DAY, THROUGH THE ROSARY AND THE SCAPULAR, SHE WILL SAVE THE WORLD."
Since the author of this book was gathering material for a book on the Scapular Devotion, the present writer was deeply impressed on finding this story in Ventimiglia's History . . . and he was especially impressed by the prophecy of St. Dominic.
Yet that prophecy appears nowhere in the past sixteen chapters which (with the exception of Chapter Fifteen and a few paragraphs referring to Fatima) were for thirteen years the total of this book . . . unchanged through several printings totaling more than 70,000 copies.
St. Dominic's "prophecy" was omitted repeatedly, through all those printings and years, despite the fact that the author came later to know that today a Chapel, on that very street comer in Rome, commemorates the meeting of St. Dominic, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Angelus as described by Ventimiglia.
Therefore, why the omission?
Why were not the words "Through the Rosary and the Scapular She will save the world" blazoned across the pages and even perhaps included in the title of this book?
There are two reasons.
First, the writer was not sure that Ventimiglia was a reliable historian.
But that would not have been sufficient reason to omit any reference whatever to a story of such importance. The second and graver reason is that, even though he was himself convinced that the Scapular Devotion is important, the writer was by no means convinced that the Scapular could be one of two instruments to SAVE THE WORLD. He did not believe that the Scapular, or any sacramental, could be that important.
Thus in the year of Our Lord 1940, Mary in Her Scapular Promise was published without the "finding" in Ventimiglia's history mentioned. And it was omitted through one reprinting after another.
In 1941, following the first success of the book, the author told the story of how it had all come about in a sequel titled From a Morning Prayer.
This second book told how a saintly Carmelite lay-brother, after what he thought was a vision, commissioned the author to make the Scapular devotion better known, and especially the practice of using the Scapular while making the Morning Offering (to emphasize the offering through the Immaculate Heart of Mary). . . carrying the offering through the day, in all our sacrifices, thoughts and deeds . . . walking always under the mantle of Mary and thus doing all, as She did on earth, for God and for the Reign of Christ in all hearts.
A few months after this second book was published Archbishop Finbar Ryan, of Trinidad, wrote a letter to the writer, congratulating him, and adding: "While I congratulate you on this book, From a Morning Prayer, I cannot help wondering why you have made no mention of OUR LADY OF FATIMA . . . since in the last apparition at Fatima Our Lady held the Brown Scapular in Her hands."
The author, like most people in the United States at that time, had heard only vague rumors about Our Lady of Fatima.
It happened that Archbishop Ryan had written the first book in the English language on the Fatima apparitions. It had just come off the press in Dublin and the copy which he then sent to the present writer opened a whole new view of Our Lady's role in the modern world.
Therein . . . for the first time . . . the author read of Our Lady's words at Fatima: "Only the Blessed Virgin, by the grace if God, can save you" . . . and of Her final appearances during the miracle of the sun: First, dressed in white and holding the Rosary, while Saint Joseph, holding the Infant Jesus, stood at Her side; second, dressed in blue, while Our Lord appeared at Her side; third and finally, dressed in the brown of Carmel, holding the Brown Scapular in Her hands . . . while Our Lord, Who had not changed from the second apparition, slowly raised His hand and blessed the great crowd in the Cova below.
With feelings he can hardly describe the author realized that, at Fatima, Our Lady had confirmed this prophecy of St. Dominic recorded by Ventimiglia. Holding the Rosary and the Scapular, She had come to say: "Only the Blessed Virgin can save you." And She promised the conversion of Russia and world peace if Her requests would be heard.
Although the previous chapter . . . and, indeed, most of this book . . . was completed in 1939, before the author had heard about Fatima, it would seem actually to have been based on the Fatima message.
Perhaps the explanation of this, as well as of many other events which have contributed to a sudden "bursting forth" of the Fatima Apostolate all over the world in this second half of the twentieth century, will be found solely in the designs and powers of Our Lady Herself.
If only the Blessed Virgin can save the world today, naturally it is because God wills that we establish the Reign of Christ only through Mary.
And for that reason her two most privileged, most indulgenced, most universal, most ancient and most valued sacramentals . . . the Rosary and the Brown Scapular . . . assume a greater importance than ever before in history.
The strongest evidence of this cannot be measured in words confirmed by footnotes and references. It is confirmed by the action of Our Lady in the world, now, all about us. Each one has the evidence he sees daily in many conversions and in the apostolates of the hour.
In 1940, following the first publication of this book, the V. Rev. Gabriel N. Pausbach, Assistant General of the Carmelite Order, founded a Scapular Apostolate at the Church of Our Lady of the Scapular of Mount Carmel, at 338 East 29th Street, in New York City. (It is now the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Scapular.)
Within three years, the morning offering dictated by the lay-brother (as described in From a Morning Prayer, Prayer") was printed three million times. Year after year, month after month, the devotion of the Scapular began to flourish more and more throughout the United States. Units of the Scapular Apostolate sprang up in most major cities. In 1953, the unit in Detroit was making and distributing over 400,000 Scapulars in one year
. . . a number in that one city which was equal to almost half of the number of Scapulars used annually in the entire nation before 1941. The unit in Cleveland, Ohio, was making and distributing over 100,000 a year. The total number of Scapulars produced annually now in the entire country is in the many millions.
Although the children of Fatima had said, in 1917, that Our Lady appeared in the final vision with the Scapular (as Archbishop Ryan published in his book, Our Lady of Fatima), attention of early writers focused rather on the prophecies of Our Lady of Fatima, on authenticity of the apparitions, on the miracle of the sun, cures at Fatima, etc. . . . and very little authoritative work was done on the meaning of the message, particularly as regarded the multiple apparitions on the day of the miracle of the sun.
In 1946, in an interview lasting several hours, the present writer asked "Lucia," sole survivor of the three children who saw Our Lady of Fatima, about that last apparition on October 13 of Our Lady of the Scapular.
She confirmed what Archbishop Ryan and a few other early writers on the subject had said. But we found, especially among some of the "authorities" on Fatima in the United States, an inexplicable hostility to the inclusion of the Scapular in the Fatima message. We feel today that this was in the Providence of God because it led to an incontrovertible statement on the subject from "Lucia" on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15, 1950.
It was in an interview which two Carmelite Fathers had with "Lucia," who had herself become a Carmelite nun with the name, Sister Mary of the Immaculate Heart, in the Carmel of Coimbra, Portugal. The interrogator in the interview was the V. Rev. Howard Rafferty, O. Carm., Provincial Director of the Third Order Secular of the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary in the United States. He began by remarking that most of the recent writers on Fatima (up to 1950) made no mention of the Scapular, and some even denied that the Scapular Devotion was a part of the Fatima message.
"Oh, they are wrong!" Lucia exclaimed Shortly after the apparitions in 1917, Lucia told interrogators that the vision of Our Lady of the Scapular on October 17, "Looked just like the picture of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the parish church."
This picture is the very old, universally-used portrayal of Our Lady in the Carmelite Habit, with the Infant Jesus holding the little Scapular in His Hands and Angels descending into Purgatory . . . apparently at Our Lady's bidding . . . freeing Souls from the flames. From an explanation which Lucia gave to the present writer in 1946 it is apparent that reference in 1917 to this picture referred only to the Habit and general appearance of Our Lady. In the Fatima vision Our Lady Herself held the Scapular in Her hands and, instead of the Infant in Her arms, Our Lord stood at Her side, in the fullness of manhood, blessing the crowd below.
"Why do you think Our Lady appeared with the Scapular in this last vision?" Lucia was asked in 1950.
"Because," Lucia replied, "She wants everyone to wear the Scapular."
One Fatima apostolate, known as "The Blue Army" [the author's apostolate, which he co-founded] . . . which spread farthest in the world . . . insisted on the wearing of the Brown Scapular as a sign of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In France, leaders of this apostolate met great opposition to the wearing of the Scapular. Some said: "Cannot we just as well wear the Miraculous Medal or any sign of devotion to Our Lady to show our consecration to Her?"
Therefore they sent a petition to the Bishop of Fatima, asking His Excellency to settle this matter once and for all. They wrote: "On this question we cannot have a sufficient and practical certainty unless through the intervention of Holy Church. If, Your Excellency, you could let us know your thought, it would help us to adopt a line of conduct and to work on public opinion for the better understanding of Our Lady's desires."
In the July, 1953, issue of the VOICE OF FATIMA, published as the official voice of the Bishop of Fatima, simultaneously in five languages, on the front page, in bold type, the Bishop of Fatima gave a detailed answer. It is only fitting that that answer, in its entirety, be quoted here because
. . . in the first definitive statement on this subject by the Bishop of Fatima . . . His Excellency pierced the three most controversial points of the Scapular Devotion:
STATEMENT OF THE BISHOP OF FATIMA
(I) Substitution of a medal for the Scapular. This was authorized by a decree of the Holy Office, December 16, 1910. According to this decree "in wearing the medal one participates, as with the Scapular proper, in all the Indulgences and in all the privileges, not excepting that called the Sabbatine Privilege of the Scapular of Mount Carmel."
But the same decree begins with the following words: "As the holy Scapular contributes efficaciously to the progress of the spiritual life among the faithful and is in great favor amongst them, the Holy Father desires that the habitual form be maintained." (Act. Ap. Sedis, III, 22.)
Therefore, the use of the medal instead of the Scapular is permitted. But it was the wish of St. Pius X, who granted the permission, and of the Pontiffs who succeeded him (Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI & Pius XII), that preference should be given to the use of the Scapular. Our Lady's wishes cannot be different from the wishes of the Vicar of Her Son.
Try then to use the Scapular (even with the medal as many people do in Portugal). You will find that in practice it is not so inconvenient to use as might at first appear. And besides, if on occasions it is necessary to make a little sacrifice and win a battle over human respect . . . so much the better.
(II) The Scapular of Mount Carmel or another? There is no doubt that, in Portugal at least, the Scapular of Mount Carmel is the Scapular par excellence. When we speak of the Scapular we have only one in mind. Very probably it is the oldest of all and is a model and example to all others. In the minds of the faithful it is the one which best symbolizes participation in a religious Order and subordination to Mary.
His Holiness Pope Pius XII, happily reigning, in a letter which he wrote to the Generals of the Carmelite Order, on the occasion of the seventh centenary of the Scapular of Mount Carmel on February 11, 1950, said explicitly that we should all recognize that the Scapular is the sign of our "consecration to the most holy Heart of the Immaculate Virgin." His Holiness on this occasion is most certainly referring to the Scapular of Mount Carmel and to no other. The Blue Army then was right in choosing, proposing and propagating the Scapular of Carmel------and not one of the many others which exist in the Church------as a sign of the consecration of its members to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
(III) The Apparition of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The fact that Lucia, on October 13, 1917, saw the Blessed Virgin as She is generally represented under the invocation of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, lends itself to many interpretations. There is nothing to prevent people seeing in this fact the desire of Our Lady to be better known, loved and invoked as Queen of Mount Carmel, or that the use of Her Scapular, with all its obligations, be considered one of the points of Her message, as a very efficacious means of salvation of souls and of the world.
The "Blue Army," which we mentioned above, and to which the Bishop of Fatima refers in his statement on the Scapular, has caused millions of people, all over the world, to promise to wear the Scapular always as their sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The "pledge" used by the Blue Army was first used in a "March of Pledges" which the present author inaugurated in the Scapular Apostolate in New York, in the fall of 1947.
Even as the "March of Pledges" was beginning (netting one and three-quarter million pledges in the United States in twelve months), Our Lady Herself was "founding" the Blue Army elsewhere in America . . . the Army which would, by the use of the Rosary and Scapular and fulfillment of daily duty . . . extend Her power over the earth even into the very heart of the Communist empire.
It began in the last weeks of 1946 when a devout priest, worn by years of intense labor in the Lord's Vineyard, was dying of a serious heart ailment. Five heart specialists had decided that he had but a few months to live.
In this extremity, the good priest . . . Father Harold V. Colgan, of Saint Mary's Church, in Plainfield, N. J. . . . had recourse to Our Lady. He had ever loved Her with a simple, childlike devotion, and he had been one of the best promoters of Our Lady's Sodality among the secular clergy in America. "If you cure me," he said to Her, "I will give you the rest of my life . . . to do your work."
And he was cured. At once he began to do three things in his parish: He resolved that not one of his parishioners would die without the Scapular. He strove to establish the daily Rosary in every home. And he asked everyone in his parish to thus form for Our Lady, by their devotion and above all by their good daily lives, a small Marian army against the red armies of Communism. He asked them to wear some little outward sign of blue as a token that they had pledged themselves to this . . . that they were saying the Rosary, wearing the Scapular, and offering up their daily duties in a spirit of reparation for the sins of the world.
The number of daily Communions in the parish doubled in one year. Masses on the first Saturday filled the Church (which seats 1,000) to capacity.
Everyone in the parish could see and could feel the spiritual light this Marian devotion had brought to them. They could see it above all in the greatly increased number of people at the Communion rail.
Other pastors in the area heard of it and took up the idea of the "Blue Army." And coincidentally there was a growing friendship between the author of this book and Father Colgan while the idea of the Blue Army . . . as though by a miracle . . . began to spread far and wide. . . .
Within three years the Blue Army leaped to over two million signed members in the United States, and more than twice that number in other nations.
BLUE ARMY PLEDGE TO OUR LADY
DEAREST Queen-Mother, who didst appear at Fatima and promise on three conditions to convert Russia and bring peace to all mankind, I hereby solemnly pledge to Thine Immaculate Heart that in reparation for the sins Thou didst so sorrowfully lament, I shall offer up each day the sacrifices necessary for fulfillment of daily duty; I shall say a part of the Rosary each day while pondering the mysteries; I shall wear the Scapular as profession of this pledge and as an act of consecration to Thee. I also promise to renew this pledge especially in moments of temptation.
This pledge is not a vow and does not bind under sin
Text courtesy of Catholictradition.org
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
O Queen, who art the beauty of Carmel, pray for us.
Virgin, full of grace, Queen of all Saints, how sweet it is for me to venerate
thee under the title of our Lady of Mount Carmel. It takes me back to the days
of the prophet Elias, when thou was prefigured on Mount Carmel under the form
of the little cloud, from which, as it increased, there fell a kindly rain,
symbolic of the sanctifying graces that come to us from thee. Even from the
days of the Apostles, thou hast been honored under this mystic title; and
today I am filled with joy at the thought that we are united with those first
clients of thine, and in union with them we salute thee, saying: O beauty of
Carmel, glory of Libanus, thou purest of lilies, mystic rose in the flowering
garden of the Church. Meanwhile, O virgin of virgins, be mindful of me in my
misery, and show thyself my Mother. Shed upon me ever more and more the living
light of that faith which made thee blessed; inflame me with that heavenly
love wherewith thou didst love thy dear Son, Jesus Christ. I am filled with
miseries both spiritual and temporal. I am straitened by many sorrows in body
and soul, and I take refuge, like a child, in the shadow of thy motherly
protection. Do thou, Mother of God, who hast such power and might, obtain for
me from blessed Jesus, the heavenly gifts of humility, chastity, and meekness,
which were the fairest ornaments of thine immaculate soul. Do thou grant me to
be strong which so often overwhelm my spirit. And when the days of my earthly
pilgrimage are accomplished according to God's holy will, paradise, through
the merits of Christ and thine intercession. Amen
(An indulgence of 500
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
from the Liturgical Year, 1901
The holy Liturgy gives
the following account of the history and
object of the feast:
of Carmel, hear the voice of the Church as she sings to thee on this day. When
the world was languishing in ceaseless expectation, thou wert already its
hope. Unable as yet to understand thy greatness, it nevertheless, during the
reign of types, loved to clothe thee with the noblest symbols. In admiration,
and in gratitude for benefits foreseen, it surrounded thee with all the
notions of beauty, strength, and grace suggested by the loveliest landscapes,
the flowery plains, the wooded heights, the fertile valleys, especially of
Carmel, whose very name signifies "the plantation of the Lord." On its summit
our fathers, knowing that Wisdom had set her throne in the cloud, hastened by
their burning desires the coming of the saving sign: there at length was given
to their prayers, what the Scripture calls 'perfect knowledge, and the
knowledge of the great paths of the clouds (Job xxxvii. 16). And when he who
maketh his chariot and his dwelling in the obscurity of a cloud had therein
shown himself, in a nearer approach, to the practiced eye of the father of
prophets, then did a chosen band of holy persons gather in the solitudes of
the blessed mountain, as heretofore Israel in the desert, to watch the least
movements of the mysterious cloud, to receive from it their guidance in the
paths of life, and their light in the long night of expectation.
O Mary, who from that hour didst preside over the watches of God's army, without ever failing for a single day: now that the Lord has truly come down through thee, it is no longer the land of Judaea alone, but the whole earth that thou coverest as a cloud, shedding down blessings and abundance. Thine ancient clients, the sons of the prophets, experienced this truth when, the land of promise becoming unfaithful, they were forced to transplant into other climes their customs and traditions; they found that even into our far West, the cloud of Carmel had poured its fertilizing dew, and that nowhere would its protection be wanting to them. This feast, O Mother of our God, is the authentic attestation of their gratitude, increased by the fresh benefits wherewith thy bounty accompanied the new exodus of the remnant of Israel. And we, the sons of ancient Europe, we too have a right to echo the expression of their loving joy; for since their tents have been pitched around the hills where the new Sion is built upon Peter, the cloud has shed all around showers of blessing more precious than ever, driving back into the abyss the flames of hell, and extinguishing the fire of purgatory.
Whilst, then, we join with them in thanksgiving to thee, deign thyself, O Mother of divine grace, to pay our debt of gratitude to them. Protect them ever. Guard them in these unhappy times, when the hypocrisy of modern persecutors has more fatal results than the rage of the Saracens. Preserve the life in the deep roots of the old stock, and rejoice it by the accession of new branches, bearing, like the old ones, flowers and fruits that shall be pleasing to thee, O Mary. Keep up in the hearts of the sons, that spirit of retirement and contemplation which animated their fathers under the shadow of the cloud; may their sisters too, wheresoever the Holy Spirit has established them, be ever faithful to the traditions of the glorious past; so that their holy lives may avert the tempest and draw down blessings from the mysterious cloud. May the perfume of penance that breathes from the holy mountain purify the now corrupted atmosphere around; and may Carmel ever present to the Spouse the type of the beauties he loves to behold in his Bride! Amen.
Our Lady of Ransom (Mercy)
Feast Day: September 24th
At the time when the Saracen yoke oppressed the larger and more fertile part of Spain, and great numbers of the faithful were detained in cruel servitude, at the great risk of denying, the Christian faith and losing their eternal salvation, the most blessed Queen of heavenly graciously came to remedy all these great evils, and showed her exceeding charity in redeeming her children. She appeared with beaming countenance to Peter Nolasco, a man conspicuous for wealth and piety, who in his holy meditations was ever striving to devise some means of helping the innumerable Christians living in misery as captive of the Moors. She told them it would be very pleasing to her and her only begotten Son, if a religious Order were instituted in her honor, whose members should devote themselves to delivering captives from Turkish (Muslim) tyranny. Animated by this heavenly vision, the man of God was inflamed with burning love, having one desire at heart, viz: that both he and the Order he was to found, might be devoted to exercise of that highest charity, the laying down of life for one's friends and neighbors.
That same night, the most holy Virgin appeared also to blessed Raymund of Pegnafort, and to James king of Aragon, telling them of her wish to have the Order instituted, and exhorting them to lend their aid to so great an undertaking. Meanwhile Peter hastened to relate the whole matter to Raymund, who was his confessor; and finding it had been already revealed to him from heaven, submitted humbly to his direction. King James next arrived, fully resolved to carry out the instructions he also received from the Blessed Virgin. Having therefore taken counsel together in being all of one mind, they said about instituting an Order in honor of the Virgin Mother, under the invocation of "Our Lady of Mercy, for the ransom of captives."
On the tenth of August, in the year of our Lord 1218, King James put into execution what the two holy man had planned. The members of the Order bound themselves by a fourth vow to remain, when necessary, as securities in the power of the Muslims and other pagans in order to deliver Christians. The King granted them license to bear his royal arms upon their breast and obtained from Pope Gregory IX, the confirmation of this religious institute distinguished by such eminent charity. God himself gave increase to the work, through his Virgin Mother; so thatthe Order spread rapidly and prosperously over the whole world. It soon reckoned many holy men remarkable for their charity and piety who collected from alms from Christ faithful, to be spent in redeeming their brethren; and sometimes gave themselves up as ransom for many others. In order that due thanks might be rendered to God and His Virgin Mother for the benefit of such an institution, the Apostolic See allowed this special feast and Office to be celebrated and also granted innumerable other privileges to the Order.
Blessed be thou, O Mary, the honor and joy of thy people! On the of thy glorious Assumption, thou didst take possession of thy queenly dignity for our sake; and the annals of the human race are a record of the merciful interventions. The captives whose chains thou has broken and whom thou has set free from the degrading yoke of the Saracens, maybe reckoned by millions. We are still rejoicing in the recollection of the dear birthday; in thy smile is sufficient to dry our tears and chase away the clouds of grief and yet, what sorrow there are still upon the earth, where thou thyself dist drink such long draughts from the cup of suffering! Sorrows are sanctifying and beneficial to some; but there are other and unprofitable grief's, springing from social injustice: the drudgery of the factory, or the tyranny of the strong over the weak maybe worse than slavery in Algiers or Tunis. Thou alone, O Mary, canst break thee inextricable chains in which the cunning prince of darkness entangles the dupes he has deceived by the high sounding names of equality and liberty. Show thyself a Queen, by coming to the rescue. The whole earth, the entire human race, cries out to thee, in the words Mardochai :'Speak to the King for us, and deliver us from death!' Amen.
Reference: Gueranger, Abbott, OS.B.(1949).The Liturgical Year: Time After Pentecost, Book V
Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament
Feast Day: May 13th
HISTORY OF OUR LADY OF THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT
Bl. Peter Julian Eymard, of France, had a strong devotion to the Holy Eucharist and Our Lady and began his priestly life in the Society of Mary. “But his heart burned with the desire to establish perpetual adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament exposed upon a royal throne and surrounded by a large court of adorers.” On February 2, 1851, at the shrine of Fourvière, the most Blessed Virgin had made him understand its necessity. ‘All the mysteries of my Son have a religious order of men to honor them. The Eucharist alone has none ...’ After several years of prudent reflection and interior combat, encouraged by Pope Pius IX, he founded the Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament at Paris on May 13, 1856. The title of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament was first given to Mary by Bl. Peter Julian Eymard in May 1868, while speaking to his novices. A few years later he described what her statue should look like: "The Blessed Virgin holds the Infant in her arms; and He holds a chalice in one hand and a Host in the other." He exhorted them to invoke Mary: "Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us who have recourse to thee!"Later, Pope Pius IX enriched the invocation with indulgences. Twice, Pope St. Pius X did the same. On December 30, 1905, he granted a 300 days indulgence to the faithful who pray: “Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.” “This title, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, is perhaps the most meaningful of all," said Pope St. Pius X. In 1921 the Sacred Congregation of Rites authorized the Blessed Sacrament