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What's a scapular and what does it represent?

2012-07-13

FR. MICEAL O'NEILL
Carmelite

"The Prior General at the time, a man named Simon Stock, an English man had this vision of the Blessed Virgin appearing to him and giving him this garment, a scapular, and promising him that she would look after this new Carmelite religious family.”

According to that promise, whoever wore the scapular would be protected in life and after death. The devotion quickly gained popularity as the message spread to other religious orders.

This small piece of fabric is a reminder of the long vestments Carmelites commonly wear. They're known for engaging in a life of deep prayer, for their committed devotion to the Virgin Mary and to the Church.

FR. MICEAL O'NEILL
Carmelite

"It had this added meaning of protection. Protection in life and protection at the hour of death. And that, over the centuries became a very important element in people's lives. And so the Carmelite scapular and the devotion to the Carmelite scapular grew quite rapidly.”

Now wearing this scapular also includes the popular notion that guarantees one will go to heaven on the first Saturday after one's death.

This devotion has also been quite popular among Popes. John Paul II wore one for most of his life.

FR. MICEAL O'NEILL
Carmelite

"He made no secret of the fact that he had worn the scapular all his life and he talked about that as an expression of his particular love for the Blessed Virgin.”
After the Second Vatican Council, the popularity of the scapular of Our Lady, grew even more.

Many people still ask Carmelites to bless the scapular and say a short prayer before placing it over devotees. The design of the Sacred Heart, is often made of fabric or metal. Really, whoever wears it, in some way shares that historic link with the greater Carmelite family.

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