The Brown Scapular: To Wear or Not to Wear

The Brown Scapular

The Brown Scapular

Since becoming Catholic I’ve collected just about every sacramental there is, but one that I’ve been holding out on is the scapular.

There are so many scapulars of various colors, materials, and styles associated with various saints and religious orders, and all for slightly different intentions and attached promises. It’s kind of overwhelming and confusing (at least for me) to figure them all out. Should I be wearing one?  If so, which one should I wear?

And you do have to choose, because it’s not reasonable to wear ALL of them, and I don’t think Our Lady of Mt. Carmel expects you to.

The original scapular is of course the brown scapular associated with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. It’s a very old devotion to the Blessed Virgin. The scapular is one of those sacramentals personally instituted by Our Lady, just as is the case with the rosary and the Miraculous Medal. Basically, the scapular is a visible sign of a consecration to Mary.

When instituting the original brown scapular Our Lady said to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite,

“Take this Scapular, it shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire,” and, “Wear it 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.”

This has become known as the “Scapular Promise.” There was also an additional promise given by the Blessed Virgin Mary later to Pope John XXII:

“I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in purgatory I shall free so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”

This has become known as the “Sabbatine Privilege” of the brown scapular (named for the Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath).  All scapulars must be properly invested, which is a simple ceremony in which the wearer becomes enrolled in the Confraternity of the Scapular. This is basically a short “ceremony” said by a priest. You can read the short investment ritual here.

While the “Scapular Promise” saves the wearer from hell, the “Sabbatine Privilege” saves the wearer from an extended stay in purgatory.  But not without conditions: First, to obtain the promise one must be chaste according to their state of life (whether married or single); Second, an action must be performed showing devotion to Our Lady, such as praying the rosary, reciting the Little Office of Blessed Virgin, or something else the priest may give you at the time of investment. (Lest this scandalize some, sacramentals are not about magic, superstition, or earning your way to heaven; this is about developing habits of faith and virtue that move the soul of the individual towards the things of God).

While I’m convinced that the scapular is a great thing, something keeps me from wearing one. I’m concerned about the constant annoyance and itchiness (is this meant as a penance?) and I’m concerned about having a visible string with everything I wear (is this a cure to vanity?), which leads me to consider a scapular medal in lieu of a cloth scapular.

Scapular Medal

Scapular Medal

Now here’s the tricky part. I’ve found conflicting information on whether a metal scapular is suitable as a replacement. Some information says that only a cloth scapular can be used (some even say only 100% wool), and nothing is a suitable substitute; neither a metal scapular, wood scapular, nor a scapular medal.

Other sources say that a scapular medal can be worn after the investment of a cloth scapular, because the investment is to the wearer, not the object. Once the investment is said, thereby entering the wearer into the Confraternity of the Scapular, you never have to have a subsequent scapular blessed; the rite is done once for all and is extended to any other scapular you wear. So according to some, you can have a cloth scapular invested and then switch to the scapular medal later (a scapular medal has one side the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and on the other Our Lady of Mt. Carmel).

I must admit that I’m definitely more inclined to wear a scapular if I can wear a scapular medal.  In fact, I would buy one as soon as possible.  But I must also admit, regretfully, that if I had to wear the cloth scapular to obtain the promises, I am less inclined to wear one. I would stick with the other sacramentals, such as the Miraculous Medal which I already wear daily (which is also very beautiful). Perhaps I am too vain. However, I will take this question to my pastor.  In the meantime, perhaps some of you readers have more information on this question?  Any Carmelites out there?  If so, please share.

Copyright 2013 Gretchen Filz


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  1. Thanks for this!
    I’ve been curious about scapulars for awhile, but haven’t gone digging for answers… I am impressed with all the stuff you are involved with and you sound like someone I would really LOVE to be friends with! I was a very passionate and orthodox Christian outside the Catholic Church for years before Christ lead me into His Church… Isn’t it wonderful? God bless you, hoping that ladies who wear the scapular will chime in and share their experiences!

  2. I am a revert Catholic, been back now for about four years,with 7 wonderful children, we wear the wool scapulars, you can get lovely ones with embroidered pics of our Lady, Jesus or the saints on them,
    if you wear them outside the clothing or turn them around so that the wool is away from the body, it will prevent the irritation from the wool, i react terrably to wool, it is actually a nice feeling to wear these, I have had people approach me about it, and found that they were fallen away Catholics, that recognised the scapular, God sparks the faith of many even in a little thing like the scapular, they are hard to take off when you have worn one for a while, i recomend that all Catholics wear one if you can.

  3. As a long-time scapular wearer, I’ve developed some strategies. The strings can be safety-pinned to undergarments (even bathing suits!) in various ways to keep the scapular in place. Longer strings may be easier to use than shorter ones. I have to believe that genuine wool allergies would be a reason for an alternate fabric.

    There are many other scapulars, all with graces attached. If you are especially drawn to another devotion or order, why not? I don’t think it is necessary to collect and wear every scapular. God is very kind and loving. His Grace is abundant and He is quite willing to gift us!

  4. Jenna@CallHerHappy on

    I can’t believe how timely this article is! I have been wondering these same exact things for so long, and I can’t wait to find out more. If you do find out definitive information, would you please email me? Thanks for writing this!

    • Keep checking back on this thread, I actually know a Secular Carmelite and I’ve emailed her to see if she has any further information and to post here.

  5. I am an Aspirant to the Secular Order of Carmel, and in our formation classes I was taught that one must wear the brown scapular under the clothing, and that one may wear the metal scapular only if he or she is actually allergic to wool; but I’m not sure if these instructions are meant only for members of Carmel? Either way, I say go for it! 🙂

    • That’s what I read about the scapular. If your allergic to the wool you can where metal one It is a vanity thing. We should all be happy to show our Catholic faith. Plus, I ask a priest. about it falling to the front. He said, that’s are way of remembering Jesus and Mary By touching it.

  6. Hi there,
    I have been taught that you may wear a scapular medal in place of the wool one. I actually have a four way medal that I pin to my bra strap, and when I switch bras, i just re-pin it to the new one. I have 3 girls and they do the same. At home I choose to wear the cloth scapular,because at home I like to be a little more comfy….lol.

    • I’ve read that you can wear a scapular medal in place of the wool one too . . . but I’ve also read that all miracles associated with the scapular have only been with the cloth/wool scapular. Don’t know if this is true or not though.

    • Hi! Where did you get this scapular to pin yo your bra? I would love one.


  7. Hello Gretchen,
    I enjoyed your article. I am a convert to Catholicism (45 years) and am still learning so much about my faith. I have always wondered about the scapular. I have a brown scapular that I purchased at Mount Carmel last year. I think I’ll go through the investment and start wearing it. I do wear a four-way meal at all times, but have been convinced the cloth scapular has special meaning. Thanks for a well written article, Dave

    • Yep I’m starting to agree that there is something more special about the cloth scapular than the metal/medal kind.

  8. I wear mine simply because Our Lady asked us too. Itchiness, tacky with my outfits…it make no difference to me. If Jesus can be beaten and hung from a cross, then I can wear a piece of cloth that may not match my dress.

    Has anyone ever heard any stories about Padre Pio complaining about the stigmata? Or St. Bernadette because of her asthma and she couldn’t breathe?

    I read a story about a man who took off his scapular to take an outdoor shower while he was serving overseas in WWII. After his shower he was walking to his base when he realized he’d forgotten the scapular on the shower head. As he walked back to the showers a bomb went off in his camp.

    He was the lone survivor of his platoon…

    Best of luck in deciding what Jesus would want you to wear when it comes to Honoring His mother 🙂

    • yep, the very fact that the scapular was given by Mary is enough reason to wear it; however what is still unclear to me is if the scapular medal is okay in lieu of the cloth scapular, or not.

      also now I’m wondering from some of these comments if pinning or tucking it inside undergarments is acceptable, or if it *must* be worn on the front and back. For example, with the Miraculous Medal Our Lady said graces are attached to it especially if worn around the neck, so even the way it’s worn is specifically mentioned.

  9. I have worn the “Crusader’s Scapular” for 4 years, including two deployments to Afghanistan. It is a fantastic reminder of the Faith at all times, and I have never found it to be itchy. I have found it as a useful apologetics tool, especially since Soldiers tend to live in close quarters while deployed. It caused more than a few Catholics to accompany me to Mass and several non-Catholics to begin asking questions about the Faith, simply by their having noticed me wearing one. I seem to have read someplace that the metal scapulars (usually on a leather string) are intended to be for unusually hot or humid climates, and to guard against using them for vain reasons like appearance. Sorry I don’t have a reference for you. I wish you blessings in your search and decision.

    • Thanks Jeff, God bless you for your service, and it looks like Our Lady kept you safe!

  10. Ben Callicoat on

    I’m a 50 year old father of four, who converted in 1996. I’ve been invested in the Scapular for several years, and wouldn’t think of intentionally leaving it off. (I sometimes forget to put it back on after bathing.)

    I’ve found that it’s not itchy at all, in fact they eventually wear into a soft, fluffy brown square.

    Hope that helps. God bless you and welcome to the Faith!

  11. Hi I have been wearing a Scaplutar for over 10 yrs. When I am having a terrible day and i find i am really struggling, that’s when I can feel my scaplutar, it starts to irratate me and feels like sand paper…
    it becomes a reminder that I am not alone, and that I need to take a break, for He is my refuge….all other times I don’t even know I’m wearing it.

  12. I wear a wooden scapular and like you I would be less inclined to wear one if I had to wear the wool one (though I was enrolled with a wool one 20 years ago). Some times I have tied the wool one inside my shirt to my bra but then I wonder if that’s disrespectful? Many of the modern clothes mean that a long strap or even the cloth square itself will be showing. While I don’t wear low cut shirts, I do have to dress well for work and I don’t always want to wear a shirt up around my neck year round. I am sure a part of it is about vanity for me as well.
    I wonder if we are allowed to modify them a bit? I may be more inclined to wear a wool one if I can lengthen the straps and change it to something that is more like a thin round black cord then a flat brown or white rope.

    • Mary, they come in all sorts of sizes, heck, I bought 10 “identical” at a time from a place and the lengths are all different. My teenager picked the long one, she can tuck it into her bra, front & back, so it rarely flaps on her-mine is shorter so it always flaps, but I take the flapping as a time to remember WWMD-and I have been wearing it constantly(even in showers, it dries very quickly) for about 6 mos, so it is nice and soft now-I got these because it is a very thin silk cord-just like a 6-strand embroidery cord-I am down to the last 2, I wish I could remember where I got them.

  13. chris stuckey on

    I along with my children & grandchildren all wear the scapular and they know they can get a new one from me when ever needed. Each year I give them to each of my ccd students. Sometimes they come back years later to ask if I have another one for them. We use the little plastic ones that last a long time. I am thankful that I found them as I am very allergic to wool.
    When my Mother was dying she was extremely agitated. I had promised to bring her a new scapular because her’s had been lost in the nursing home laundry. When I placed the new scapular around her neck she became calmer and she looked up and we could see in her eyes that she was seeing Mary there to take her by the hand. I wear mine even when I have had surgeries. Ask St, Anthony to help you find the right one for you.

  14. I found this blog so very interesting. I do not wear one but my mother always did. My Mom actually would place in her bra cup. I never saw her wear it in the traditional way around the neck. My Mom was so very religious and spiritual and very, very connected to the Virgin Mary. So if my Mom could wear it like that, then I see no reason not to.

  15. The wool doesn’t bother me, it is the hard material with a message printed on it. You don’t have to wear the message – so I clipped that off, resewed the two pieces of wool back onto the ribbon – and you can always find ways to connect the ribbon to blouse or bra and have it hang both sides of you. I put it on with the prayer to say with it every morning. It is a wonderful Sacramental, as others have already said.

  16. The brown Scapular has, for me, become a regular daily ‘garment’ that I wear along with my regular clothing. I only remove it to shower and then when placing it back on kiss it and offer for the souls in purgatory. Our Lady is, I believe, very close to those who adorn themselves with Her own attire.
    May you desire for Our Mother to draw ever closer to you as She will then in turn bring you closer to Her son Jesus. God Bless you and your ministry+

  17. Couldn’t resist joining in on this conversation … it brought back so many wonderful memories of my early years of Catholic education. I was invested, as were all those of my generation, with the brown scapular the day after making my First Communion in May of my year in second grade. I wore the cloth scapular until my early teens when I was given an extraordinarily beautiful silver cross-shaped medallion incorporating 5 medals, one being the scapular, by my uncle, a Passionnist priest. I was 14. I’m still wearing it all these decades later, although I’ve had to replace the original chain many times over! I’m never without it, only taking it off when required for medical tests or surgeries, but even then had it somewhere on me or within my presence. My dilemma now, at age 68, is trying to decide whether to be buried with it or leave it to my only granddaughter. God willing that won’t be for at least another 30 years, but think it is prudent to plan ahead! 🙂

    • I believe you should wear it, and just give your grand daughter another scapular.

  18. I just remembered one reason the scapular is made of cloth, when my wife was in the hospital and it was code blue, I grabbed a nurse and grabbing my scapular I yelled, this does not come off her….I felt it was the last thing I do for my lovely wife. “She was allowed to have the cloth thing to stay on but all her metals had to be removed.” You can go trough the medical procedures with cloth not metal…..

  19. Juan Garcia on

    I wear my scapular everyday. I battle the devils temptations with it everyday. Just hold the scapular with your hand and pray and say Our lady of Mt Carmel pray for us and pray it as many times as it takes until the temptation leaves you.

  20. Mark Cross on

    I, too, am a recent convert to the Faith (Tiber Swim Team 2013). I am very intrigued by sacramentals, and may have won about a dozen or two eBay auctions on holy cards and medals. I will have to discuss the Brown Scapular with my wife before taking the plunge. She’s a cradle Catholic who never heard of a scapular. She has bad reactions to wool, so she would rightfully have her reservations. For now, I’ll just *have* to be content with wearing the Miraculous Medal 🙂

  21. There is visibly a bundle to understand this. I reckon that you made specific nice points in features also.

  22. Gretchen, I have been a Catholic 38 years and have been wearing the brown wool scapular for six years now. I completed a St Louis De Monfort consecration for laity with scapular vestment and I highly recommend this devotion to Our Lady. I feel as if Our Blessed Mother covers me with her mantle and remains very close. I have no doubt that she personally accompanies, protects and leads me forward on this earthly pilgrimage. I can exclaim with great joy that I am hers and she is mine! Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!

  23. I probably was invested in the Scapular at my First Communion, 1957, but don’t remember. I do remember receiving a scapular encased in plastic at that time. A few years ago, I was at a retreat, and we were all invested by a priest. We all received a beautiful wooden scapular. Ever since that day, I have not gone a day without wearing it, except for my daughter’s wedding. Even so, I tucked it in my bra 🙂 I do take it off to shower. I have replaced it several times as sometimes I forget to remove it when I shower. And I have a few spares on hand… A dear friend, who is a Monsignor, wears the scapular medal. At first, I was hesitant to wear it while swimming, then decided to keep it on, hoping to evangelize and bring back lost souls upon their seeing it. I was pleasantly surprised to see a young salesman in a big ticket store proudly wearing his Brown Scapular! God Bless him!

  24. Like you, I too am confused about scapulars. Everyone has a different take on the why’s, how’s, and when’s of scapular use. I have worn (24/7) the brown crusader’s scapular (with gold cross) for about nine years. I never remove it, even for showering. It wears out, I buy a new one, have it blessed, and move on. No, probably not the exact way of going about it, but funny thing is that my crusader’s scapular has become me. I can’t imagine wearing another. This sinner will wear the crusader’s scapular for the rest of his life.

  25. Why don’t you get a fivefold scapular – this has the brown, the blue, the black, the red and the white. (You can have the green scapular in your wallet or purse.

    You can get a fivefold scapular from Joanne at Rose Scapular –

    The normal one has two or three of the scapulars in a reduced size with no image. This is valid I believe. However, I was fussy and paid extra to get all five the same size and with an image.


  26. I actually wear 2 wool scapulars. one of saint Michael and one of MC. they actually don’t bother me at all and even from day one. every once in awhile in the day I have to re adjust them but for the most part I don’t even notice them. BUT I have been reminded of them everytime I come near a death situation. I kid you not, everytime I almost think it’s my “time” it never truely is. starting from crazy car accidents to the moment I thought about taking my own life. I actually just got out of the shower so I wasn’t wear one and before I could almost get the courage I realized they were not on so I grabbed them and I kid you not.. I literally STRUGGLED like I never struggled before to put them back on. that’s when I realized what had happen. the virgin literally distracted my thoughts to focus on her to steer me away from taking my own life.

    • I had goose bumps reading your story, Melissa… Stay close to Our Lady and She will always comfort you and keep you safe. She really loves you. That’s how mothers are. ..will always protect us.

  27. I hope you will please put on the brown scapular. There used to be someone who posted more recent miracles attributed to our Lady’s intercession for people with it than the ones cited in booklets like Garment of Grace. I wear both the brown and the blue, which is the scapular of the Immaculate conception, and the reason why I wear the latter is because one may obtain hundreds of plenary indulgences a day by the recitation of six Paters, Aves and Glorias for the Holy Souls when saying “In Honor of the Most Holy Trinity and the Immaculate Conception I offer these prayers” or something along those lines. Rose scapular company’s scapulars are more expensive but they are heavy duty and do not wear out easily like other companies. I keep some of the less expensive ones in my purse for emergencies – you never know when God may want you to come upon someone who may be dying and your having an extra brown scapular on hand may obtain for them the grace of conversion and an act of Perfect contriiton. You never know. But that would be what St. Simon Stock found when he came upon the man who was despairing – of course that man had a priest readily available to give him last rites, but we never know when or where God may take us, and we want to be prepared as much as possible. How foolish we would be not to cherish this great gift give to us by Our Blessed Lord’s Most Holy Mother, and take it to our hearts, especially as society becomes more Antichrist everyday. I hope you got either the brown or the Five Fold which contains all the scapulars – the Black scapular of Our Lady of Sorrows? I think has quite a few miracles associated with it too. Then you can ask a priest about doing devotions to Our Lady of Sorrows perhaps as one of your Marian devotions as well. It’s not hard to say the seven hail marys for her seven sorrows. Jesus said we must pray without ceasing. The world is going to pot because we turn on Aleistair Crowley’s Order of the Golden Dawn buddy’s invention – the television. I KID YOU NOT. The OCCULT invented the thing. Another reason to turn the danged thing off and go read spiritual books when you are not saying your rosary when you are tired. God bless.

  28. Mary Regina on

    I’m a little late, it’s 2015, but you do not have to choose which scapular to wear. You can wear all 5 in one. There is such a thing as a 5-fold scapular. It is red and contains 5 small pieces of cloth (representing all 5 orders) attached to a single scapular. The mandatory devotions and conditions apply. You can find this scapular at a local Catholic gift shop or you can buy one online at eBay where Catholic stores sell them. I also read on Fisheaters that you cannot substitute the scapular medal without good reason and permission from a priest. You cannot wear it any other way except on the shoulders. Perhaps the scapular medal can be used temporarily while swimming, exercising and in the shower if it is for a short time; and then removed and replaced by the cloth one. You’d have to check with a priest.

  29. Michael Lovett on

    I had 3 fivefold scapulars custom made by Joanne at She did them with all scapulars being full size, rather than the “normal” scapular which has some of the scapulars in a small size with no image on them.

  30. Elizabeth D on

    You want a booklet produced by the Carmelite Friars called “The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.” It can be ordered for low cost through the Carmelite publishing house ICS Publications. It has factual information about the Brown Scapular, which has a lot of traditional but misleading and not factual legends surrounding it. The small Brown Scapular is a mini version of the Carmelite habit, a way of the laity associating themselves with the Carmelite Order, under the patronage of Our Lady, and wearing it it entails practicing Carmelite spirituality, at least in the minimum form of devotion to Our Lady and to the Eucharist. The original reason why it was associated with wearers being saved through Our Lady’s intercession was because of the confidence of Carmelites that Our Lady as the Order’s patroness would look out for those who persevered faithfully in their religious vocation (signified by wearing the habit) to the end of their days. Think of it also as “putting on Christ” like a garment. What must be avoided particularly is interpreting it superstitiously as a magic talisman that will save your soul, which is the impression given by the non-historical quote in this article which claims to be from Our Lady, but is not even the original form of the legend (every other mendicant order at that time had their own version of the same legend about Our Lady giving their habit and promising the salvation of those who persevere in their vocation–the Dominican version about their White Scapular is nearly identical). Another later accretion to the Brown Scapular lore was the idea that a Pope had a vision that Our Lady would liberate Brown Scapular wearers from Purgatory the Saturday after their death, but the Holy See intervened stating this was baseless and forbade the Carmelites to claim that, which hasn’t stopped “traditional” Catholics from repeating claims about this alleged “Sabbatine Privilege” to this day. Basically, wear the Brown Scapular as a devotion to Jesus and Mary if you love the Carmelite spirituality and the Carmelite approach to devotion to Our Lady. You do not have to wear it, and if your spirituality has nothing to do with Carmel then how about the Miraculous Medal, another great Marian sacramental. Some reading might be in order to understand Carmelite spirituality before deciding whether to get vested with the Brown Scapular. I wear mine always and have for many years!!

  31. Anne Therese Chandler on

    Wearing the Brown Scapular seems like a seal and/or sign of commitment to consecrating one’s entire self to Jesus through Mary. The Montfort spirituality is a perfect preparation for living a life of Marian devotion and enjoying the promises that are meant to accompany the faithful daily wearing of the Brown Scapular, after and upon being properly invested by a priest. Of course. the cloth brown wool scapular has the material mentioned and shown to St. Simon Stock by Mother Mary, which was the beginning of this sacramental and devotion. I think there is a convenience and perhaps vanity issue involved in choosing to have the medal, unless there is a true allergy to wool or one lives in such a humid, tropical environment that the scapular would need to be replaced more often than is practically possible, certainly a rarity. Humility is a hallmark and basic virtue so needed in giving oneself to Jesus through Mother Mary. In humility the scapular is to be worn. I waited for years until this humility was granted to me as a result of learning true devotion to Mother Mary. Blessings on your search, but it will be an answer found in your own heart, not essentially by what others have to say. Your experience I will be unique to you. In Jesus through Mother Mary, Anne

  32. I wore the brown Our Lady of Mount Carmel woolen scapular for years. They usually irritate my skin, so after asking a friend to pick me up a very small one, I have been wearing that. It is plastic, with wool inside it. It has the Sacred Heart of Jesus on one side and an image of Our Lady holding infant Jesus on the other. I have been worried that this isn’t a real Mt Carmel scapular, but it has been working for me. After researching this topic I have found that once you have been invested with a woolen scapular you can wear a properly blessed metal scapular. As for the Mt Carmel scapular, the replacement scapular doesn’t have to have the image of our Lady of Mount Carmel on it. It must have an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on one side and an image of our Lady on the other. Here is my source. Very interesting! Blessings!

  33. Don’t know if you still had questions, but here is a thorough FAQ about the brown scapular. God Bless

  34. Hello there! I usually don’t post on forums like this, but for some reason, I feel so inclined. Maybe it is Mary urging me to! 🙂 I am a cradle Catholic but walked away from the faith in college. It was through a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary that I eventually encountered our Lord and came back to the fullness of the faith. PRAISE THE LORD. He is so good!!! Despite this relationship with our Lord, I never had a relationship with His mother. It was not until I had terrifying experiences at night (I would not call it dreams but spiritual attack) that I began to experience the very powerful intercessory force that Mary truly has. I have received much counsel from priests and religious about my nighttime experiences, and there was one religious sister that told me about the brown scapular devotion. Well… let’s just say I was very desperate. I would put just about anything on my body to stop the experiences I was having, and so I began to wear one! I have been wearing one for about 5 months now, and I do not dare take it off. I have experienced her motherly comfort more than I ever have during the day but especially at night. I still experience, to a certain extent, spiritual attack at night, but not NEARLY to the extent that I was before I started to wear a brown (wool) scapular. No, it is not attractive at all. In fact, I am a vibrant 23 year old girl who many times wants to avoid the strange brown cord around my neck. Having said that, the sweetness and protection I experience during the day and night greatly outweighs the looks of it.

    Do not feel bad though if you do not wear one! It isn’t for everyone. However, if you experience spiritual attack at night, I would highly highly highly highly recommend developing a devotion to our Lady and the brown scapular. Your life will change.

    • Very inspiring Julie. You sound like a very strong and courageous young lady. God bless you and may your faith continue to grow. Welcome home!

  35. Today I received my first brown scapula. I had a calling by Our Lady to join The Legion of Mary and finally my day has come. I feel very honoured to be wearing it and hope it will bring me closer to Our Lord and Lady with my prayers…..and reciting the rosary (which I didn’t do enough). I have enjoyed reading all of the comments. Thank you ‘Catholic Mom’. I hope to gain much advise for my catholic kids here in Australia. 🙂

  36. There are many misconceptions about what you should wear.. Many are confused with simple facts and just mere misleading opinions that could destroy you.

    Would you take your Eternal Salvation at risk in substituting the woolen Brown Scapular with that scapular medal? I would rather have skin irritations from the brown cloth scapular than having a false security in the scapular medal.. If anyone could have skin irritations from wearing 100% wool, it’s better to offer it to God as your sacrifice of love to Our Most Holy Mother Mary for the conversion of sinners and for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, God will be really pleased..

    Here is what the Blessed Virgin Mary Herself said to Saint Veronica of the Cross: “My child, you will watch the Scapulars carefully as they come in. To be of perfection you cannot make a substitution, or you lose the graces, My children. It is a simple cloth, and can be obtained in many nations. And those that do not have the means to make these cloths shall use the only passage known to man-to approach another who can help him or her to obtain this perfection in cloth.”

    Let us Finally make this clear, there is NO Substitution. Wear 100% Authentic Woven Wool (not Processed Wool) Let us faithfully adhere to Sacred Traditions.. God is giving us the means to our Eternal Salvation, let us not be prideful enough as to even question and do what many think is pleasing to them.

    Gather the graces! gather every possible sacramentals while we still have time and financial resources, for one day many will search for it but cannot obtain it, many will cry in bitter anguish, for they waste their time in frivolous amusements and vanities, and neglecting what they really need.

    Additional Info: There are many sellers, but I actually saw a link (please see below) on Ebay one who is selling the right size and materials on Brown Scapular, this is the link and name of product they sell, in bulk!.. I would also strongly encourage to have some back-up for yourself and for your love ones.

    Catholic Sacramental Brown Scapular, 10 pieces, 100% Wool

    Gather your Holy Rosaries, Brown Scapulars, Crucifixes (wear it and have some in your home! especially in your front and back doors!), Saint Benedict Medals (wear it and put it in all your window sills – this is one of the ancient traditions, for Demonic Spells will not enter your home!), Holy Face Medal, The Medal of the Immaculate Conception (also known as the Miraculous Medal), Holy Water (Bless yourself everyday, especially at night), Agnus Dei (Demons will shriek and flee in terror when they see the Paschal Lamb in your home!), Holy Images and Statues, Blessed Candles (100% Beeswax Candles), Holy Books, etc.. Above all, Attend the Latin Mass and receive the Holy Sacraments.. This is true security.

  37. Rob Ferguson on

    You know yourself better. Our Lord knows you best. Whatever is most likely to help you vs what is most likely to hinder you in your walk with Our Lord should be your primary consideration. I’ve gone back and forth with different devotions this kind for years. All have potential to assist the wearer, however, taking time daily to pray is going to be the most significant source of true power and true privilege over and above any pious practice.

  38. The North American Provincials of the Carmelite Orders published a booklet titled “The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Catechesis and Ritual” in 2000 (receiving Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur). It provides official statements on The Scapular — history, spiritual meaning, biblical symbolism, what it is and what it isn’t, practical rules and way of life, etc… A recommended read for anyone interested in this devotion.

    For questions concerning cloth and/or medal scapular — page 17, under Appendix: Practical Norms for the Scapular Confraternity – “5) After the reception of the scapular, the faithful may substitute it with a medal showing on one side the Sacred Heart of Jesus and on the other Our Lady. Both scapular and medal may be replaced without having to be blessed again.
    6) The members of the Confraternity must at all times devoutly wear the scapular or the medal as a visible sign of their belonging to Mary in the brotherhood of Carmel”

  39. This was inspiring reading as I lie in bed recovering from a surgery. While not an expert on the scapular I appreciated Erics post. If the Church and a pope said we can wear the medal, that is fine. I feel that obsessing about fabrics may be to focus on the scapular more as a talisman; we might do better to accept that our Mother loves and cherishes us in spite of all our weaknesses and anxieties and pride. And yes I will return to wearing her scapular. Thanks for all your input

    • I think the five-fold scapular is awesome, though I only wear the brown scapular.

  40. The Scapular is a long garment worn over the shoulders (Latin: Scapula) to protect the tunic or the main habit. It is also the most distinguishing part of the habit of the Carmelite Order. As what you mentioned, it is a sacramental designated to the Carmelite Family by Our Lady herself as a sign of her Maternity and Queenship over the Order bestowing special graces to all who wear it. This is why one must first be properly imposed or vested to the Confraternity of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by belonging to the Confraternity, one now becomes a “member” of the Carmelite Family sharing in all the spiritual benefits of the Order. As popularity of the scapular grew, the length has through the centuries has been shortened due to necessity for the members of the confraternity. Pope Pius X gave various indulgences to all who kiss the Carmelite or Brown Scapular and permitted the use of the Scapular Medal in cases where the cloth scapular becomes impractical. Take note, however, that the scapular medal does not enjoy the indulgences attached to the cloth scapular. The Scapular Medal may only be worn as a substitute after one has been properly enrolled or invested to the Confraternity for practical reasons.

  41. Michael Lovett on

    The five-fold scapular includes the brown scapular, but also has another four.

    The five-fold scapular is a Redemptorist scapular. The original was a Four-fold scapular, which became five with the addition of the Passion scapular after St. Alphonsus’s time. These are the five most popular scapulars approved of in the Church, combined into a single scapular for practical wearing purposes. They are each approved separately, and are all approved when worn all together (the Five-fold). Included are the following scapulars, attached by the red cord of the Passion (and listed in order from the top layer):
    Red scapular of the Passion: This scapular has its origin in one of several appearances of Our Lord in 1846 to Sister Appoline Andriveau. In these appearances, He showed her the red scapular of the Passion, and promised that a great increase of faith, hope and charity would be reserved every Friday for those who wore the scapular. This vision was several times repeated; and the extraordinary thing about it is the rapidity with which it was approved in Rome.
    Blue scapular of the Immaculate Conception: This scapular has its origin in the 1605 appearance of Our Lord to Sr. Ursula Benincasa, foundress of the Theatines. He made great promises if she and her fellow nuns would adopt as their religious habit one of a light blue colour in honour of the Immaculate Conception of His Mother. Sister Ursula then asked Him if He would grant similar favours to those of the laity or of other religious orders who would wear, in honour of the Immaculate Conception, a small Blue scapular; and Our Lord did so promise. Enrollment in the confraternity of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception, and specific daily practices, are required in order to obtain the indulgences.
    The Brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: This popular scapular has its origins in 1247, when Our Lady revealed it to St. Simon Stock, the Prior General of the Carmelite order. Requirements include wearing the scapular after enrollment, observing chastity according to one’s state in life, and reciting the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, or reciting five decades of the Rosary daily. The Black scapular of the Mother of Sorrows: This scapular has its origins in the 1240 appearance of the Blessed Virgin to seven prominent citizens of Florence. They bound themselves by vows to honour the Mother of God in her sorrows. She handed them the Black habit of the Servites and said, “…these garments shall be to you a perpetual memory of the sufferings of my heart.”
    The White scapular of the Trinity: This scapular has its origin in 1190, when St. John of Matha, a Spaniard, was saying holy Mass. He saw over the altar the figure of an angel wearing a white robe, with a blue and red cross on the breast and the shoulder. This became the habit of the order of The Holy Trinity. The attached St. Benedict’s medal is blessed with the powerful exorcism prayers and is complimentary. In 1198, Pope Innocent III approved the Trinitarian order.
    The Black Scapular of the Passion is associated with the Passionists.[1] The tradition of the Passionists holds that before St. Paul of the Cross founded the Congregation of the Passionists he had a Marian apparition during which he received the black habit of the order with the badge on chest. Thereafter, the Passionist Fathers gave the faithful who wished to associate themselves more closely with their order a black scapular in honour
    of the Passion of Christ.
    We purchased our five-fold scapulars from Joanne at Rose Scapular Co. The normal price is $14. However, some of the scapulars are very small and plain. To get them the same size and with an image, the scapulars cost $20.48. website: email:

  42. I haven’t read all the replies, so I’m sure I’m repeating what had already been stated!
    After a papal declaration in 1910 (or thereabouts), once enrolled in brown scapular anyone, regardless of where they live, are permitted to replace with a medal. There are no restrictions.

  43. I’m very touched by your comments, however, something about the thought process seems unavoidably fucked up. Can’t put my finger on it. I wasn’t brought up Catholic. In my view, you either deserve dispensation or not. Wearing a medal shouldn’t alter that. My best to you, in any case.

  44. Very good discussion (except for profanity above) I am 56 and have worn either the scapular 4 way medal or cloth scapular pretty faithfully since I received my first communion on May 7 1967. My one son wears his , my wife and daughter tuck theirs in their bras I love Joanne at Rose Scapular and love her products. I enjoyed Michael Lovett description of the 5 fold. I am currently wearing my gold medal scapular mainly because it is hot out in the summer and I dont want to forget to wear one. Usually in the fall, I put my cloth one back on. I must say that I do feel better wearing the cloth one. I know faith is not about feelings but the cloth one does seem to remind me more often as to whose I am.

  45. Please read the book entitled “The Apostalate of Holy Motherhood.” It is available used on It has an imprintur and it is private revelation to a mother in the United States. There is a connection between the brown scapular and Fatima as it relates to the Triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart (instantaneous conversion of the multitude). Think our Lady of Guadalupe on a worldwide scale. Please wear the brown scapular and pray for the Triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart. All mothers please enroll yourself in the Apostalate of Holy Motherhood. Please give a copy to your priest too. There is much information in the book for them too. Thanks.

  46. Michael Taylor on

    I just have one question.
    I have a brown scapular an my priest told me that he has never heard of the enrollment process that I mentioned to him.
    He blessed all oft scapular including the five fold.
    Is a blessing sufficient or do I need to actually be enrolled?
    I’m hoping a blessing would be enough for our blessed motor.
    Please email me at
    God bless

    • Not enrollment but Blessing an clothing (imposition) of the
      Scapular. Here’s how it goes:
      The person who is to receive the scapular kneels, and the priest vested in surplice and white stole, says:
      Priest: Lord, show us your kindness and merct.
      Response: And grant us your salvation.
      Priest: Lord hear my prayer
      Response: And let my cry come unto you.
      Priest: The Lord be with you
      Response: And with your spirit
      Let us pray: O Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of mankind, by your hand sanctify + this scapular which your servant will devotedly wear for the love of you and of your Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. By Her intercession, may he/she be protected from the wickedness of the enemy and persevere in Your grace until death. You who live and reign forever and ever.
      Response: Amen

      Then the priest sprinkles the scapular with holy water and imposes it upon the person (or upon each person) , saying:

      Receive this blessed scapular and ask the most Holy Virgin that by Her merits, it may be worn with no stain of sin, and may protect you from all harm and bring you into everlasting life.

      Response: Amen.

      (Taken from Handbook of Prayers by Fr.Charles Belmonte- Fr. James Socias)

  47. Hi, I’ve been wearing a brown scapular for more than twenty years but it’s made of plastic and and chain is thread. Never have I taken it off except when taking a shower. I dropped it once accidentally on a brown carpet ( which is hard to look for) but was found by my daughter. It lasted this long and have never been replaced. Have I been wearing a legitimate scapular? Worried and confused, appreciate a reply.

  48. Michael Taylor on

    No, th one you have is fine,but most people prefer the wool one with the brown ribbon.
    I take mine off to shower as well an then put it right back on when I get out.