6 Things You Should Know about the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

“The Scapular is a practice of piety which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone, and has spread widely among the faithful of Christ to their spiritual profit.” – Pope Pius XII

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Chile.  Figura de la Virgen del Carmen de Chile, en el Templo Votivo de Maipú. La imagen fue donada por la Sra. Rosalía Mujíca de Gutiérrez el 16 de diciembre de 1956.

Listers, have you ever contemplated where the title of the Virgin Mary, “Our Lady of Mt Carmel” came from? Do you find it odd that some traditional Roman Catholics wear their Brown Scapular 24/7? Hopefully this list will help address some of the questions concerning devotion to the Brown Scapular.

“If I should say anything that is not in conformity with what is held by the Holy Roman Catholic Church, it will be through ignorance and not through malice.”
– St Teresa of Avila

A 1996 doctrinal statement approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments states that “Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel is bound to the history and spiritual values of the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and is expressed through the scapular. Thus, whoever receives the scapular becomes a member of the order and pledges him/herself to live according to its spirituality in accordance with the characteristics of his/her state in life.”


1. St Simon Stock

Saint Simon Stock was born in England and was a Prior General of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel who had their origins in Palenstine. Some of the brothers relocated to Europe in the early 13th century and became a mendicant order (mendicants live solely on alms). There are various controversies surrounding the vision of Our Lady that St. Simon had, one account goes as follows:

“St. Simon was an Englishman, a man of great holiness and devotion, who always in his prayers asked the Virgin to favour his Order with some singular privilege. The Virgin appeared to him holding the Scapular in her hand saying, ‘This is for you and yours a privilege; the one who dies in it will be saved.'”1

This goes without saying, the original context of this promise was for those who preserved in their vocation as Carmelites. In the 16th century, the Carmelites began distributing Brown Scapulars to the laity and became a very popular sacramental.


2. Who is Our Lady of Mt Carmel?

Simply put, Our Lady of Mt Carmel is the Virgin Mary. It was a title bestowed upon Her because She is the patroness of the Carmelite order. The first Carmelites lived on Mt Carmel in the Holy Land and were hermits in the 12th century. They built a chapel in honour of The Virgin and entitled it: “Our Lady of the Place”.

Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene de’ Pazzi, OCD, a revered authority on Carmelite spirituality, wrote that devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel means:

“Our Lady wants us to resemble her not only in our outward vesture but, far more, in heart and spirit. If we gaze into Mary’s soul, we shall see that grace in her has flowered into a spiritual life of incalcuable wealth: a life of recollection, prayer, uninterrupted oblation to God, continual contact, and intimate union with him. Mary’s soul is a sanctuary reserved for God alone, where no human creature has ever left its trace, where love and zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of mankind reign supreme. […] Those who want to live their devotion to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to the full must follow Mary into the depths of her interior life. Carmel is the symbol of the contemplative life, the life wholly dedicated to the quest for God, wholly orientated towards intimacy with God; and the one who has best realized this highest of ideals is Our Lady herself, ‘Queen and Splendor of Carmel’.”


3. Promises of wearing the Scapular

On July 16th 1251 the Blessed Mary made this promise to Saint Simon Stock: “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.” She continues, “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.” Partial indulgence granted by Pope Benedict XV to those who devoutly kiss their scapular.

Amongst the myriad of miracles attributed to the Brown Scapular, there are a few more famous occurrences:

In May 1957, in Westenboden, Germany, an entire row of houses had caught fire. The inhabitants of one of the houses fixed a scapular to the front door of their home. Five hours later, 22 homes on the block had burnt to the ground. Yet amidst the destruction, the home with the scapular attached to it stood unharmed. This miracle was witnessed by hundreds of people.

Three holy men devoted to the scapular, Pope Bl. Gregory X, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and St. John Bosco, all died wearing the scapular. When their graves were opened years later, the bodies and vestments had decayed but their scapulars remained perfectly intact.

In November of 1955, a plane carrying 27 passengers crashed in Guatemala. All the passengers died except for one young girl. She related that when the plane was going down, she clutched her scapular and cried out to Our Lady for help. She was burnt and her clothes were tattered and burnt as well, but the girl was overall unharmed and her scapular free from any burns.2


4. The Rosary and the Scapular Are Inseparable

In order to obtain the graces and promises recieved from wearing the Scapular, one should wear it devoutly. In other words, under the usual conditions, i.e. state of grace (Go to Confession regularly!!), be properly invested/enrolled by a Catholic priest, pray either the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary or 5 decades of the Most Holy Rosary daily. Novenas to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel are optional but highly recommended to show the Mater Dei that we Her most lowly and undeserving servants have faith in Her most powerful protection and intercession.


5. Saintly Quotes on Brown Scapular

Pope Pius XII stated:
“Let it [the Brown Scapular] be your sign of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which We are particularly urging in these perilous times.”

Pope Pius XII went so far as to say:
“The Scapular is a practice of piety which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone, and has spread widely among the faithful of Christ to their spiritual profit.”

In our own times, Pope Paul VI said:
“Let the faithful hold in high esteem the practices and devotions to the Blessed Virgin … the Rosary and the Scapular of Carmel” and in another place referred to the Scapular as that which is “so highly recommended by our illustrious predecessors.”

St. Alphonsus tell us:
“Modern heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular, they decry it as so much trifling nonsense.”


6. Our Lady: Prayers, Lists, and More

1. Prayer to Our Lady of Mount. Carmel
2. Litany of Intercession to Our Lady of Mount Carmel
2. Investiture of the Brown Scapular in English and Latin
3. Nossa Senhora do Rosário de Fátima: 4 Things You Must Know About Our Lady of Fatima
4. Virgo Potens: 8 Quotes by Roman Pontiffs on the Holy Rosary

Many more lists of quotes and prayers may be found via the SPL threads of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, and the Rosary. An exhaustive list of the articles by John Henry may be found here including the very popular Domestic Church: 7 Steps to a Proper Catholic Home and the controversial All Human Creatures are Subject to the Pope.

  1. Medieval Devotion to Mary among the Carmelites, Fr Carroll, O.Carmel []
  2. Stories were taken from Garment of Grace by the Slaves of the Immaculata. Vienna , OH; 1991 []
  • Gina Nakagawa

    I am one of those who were blessed with being inducted into the Brown Scapular when I made my First Holy Communion in 1952. The Holy Virgin has cared for me through all of my foolishness. There is a crying need to bring back the Scapular, and to teach our children its meaning and its graces.

  • Nick

    you forgot number 6.

    • Good catch. You’d be surprised how often that happens. Cheers.

  • t
    as a secular carmelite i also never remove the scapular and try to teach about it and always carry them to give to o
    as many who will acept them..also i have one on my suitcase when i travel and can recognize my bag easily..and neverl

  • Peter

    I didn’t know the prayer requirement, thank you.

  • Patricia Delgado

    I have just sent for 2 Brown Scapulars, one for my adult grandson, and one for me. I don’t know the prayer requirement, or is it the Rosary, only? Myh grandson has gone down the wrong path, and was into hard drugs, for a number of years. Now, he has to take shots every day in his abdomen, to keep his blood from clotting, and going to his heart, and/or lungs. He will be 28 years old, in May, and in a lot of respects, he hasn’t grown up, to that age, yet. He is now married, (married a girl who is an R.N. and has two children frm a previous marriage. He has one child from a previous marriage. His wife is Baptist, but attends New Life Church, a non-denominal Church. I believe when she attends services, he goes with her. But, he was baptized Catholic, and took his First Holy Communion. I don’t think his mother, (my daughter) followed through on him attending Church on a regular basis. In fact, she has a daughter older than Danny, she favors above Danny, and he is aware of it. She left her two children whe Danny was a baby, for another man, whom she did marry. Her first husband has tried to raise his two children, himself. But, he wasn’t really able to do it himself. He didn’t know how. I worked full time, and was in a bad marriage, (never married, again) when my husband died.I continued to work until my early 70’s. I worked for Social Services, here in Maryland.Help me explain the Scapular to Danny, so, he will know why I want him to wear it. God Bless, looking forward to your reply.

    • Aaron

      Mrs. Delgado,
      I am not of enough knowledge to answer your questions but I will keep you and your grandson in prayer, and hope that The Lord will send you grace and knowledge to help this man get back on his feet. God bless you.

  • Rooney

    I found this video very informative as well, mostly the same information, but with a bit more emphasis on Aylesford as a site of pilgrimage. http://airmaria.com/?sn=14&vp=29511&prefx=shrn&plyrnb=1&ttl=Marian%20Shrines%20of%20the%20World

    My soul magnifies the Lord
    And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
    Because He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid;
    For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
    Because He who is mighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is His name;
    And His mercy is from generation to generation
    on those who fear Him.
    He has shown might with His arm,
    He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
    He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
    and has exalted the lowly.
    He has filled the hungry with good things,
    and the rich He has sent away empty.
    He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of His mercy
    Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.


  • Øyvind

    Please do not buy into all this idolatry. The rosary and the scapular are not at all mentioned in the bible. I pray that you read your bible,and pray to the living God, instead of trusting in all these things. Set your trust upon Christ Jesus, and upon His work on the cross. Let His blood cleanse you from all sin.

    • IMRoman

      God bless you, OYVIND, for caring about us Catholics and “voicing” it so kindly. I was raised in the Methodist Church where I first accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Years later, as I really studied my bible, I searched many, many Protestant denominations for the Church of the bible. Fourteen years now I am Catholic and I would not go back for all the money in the world. Dear one, you misunderstand the Catholic faith and you will NEVER understand it from the outside looking in. When you really read your bible, you will see just how Catholic it is!

    • vince

      Dear oyvind, would you also call it idolatry when in the bible it says in Acts 19:11-12 that people took Paul’s face cloths and apron and touched the sick with them and they were healed?

      What about the woman in Matthew 9:21 that believed that she would be cured if she just touched Jesus’ cloak? Did he accuse her of idolatry?

      Also, in 2 Kings 13:20 where a dead man came in contact with Elisha’s bones he was brought back to life.

      People also believed even in Peter’s shadow that it would fall on them for healing in Acts 5:15. All these things are in the bible. So, why would it be any different with the scapular?

  • Leah

    Miss Delgado, thank you for sharing such a painful and private part of your life in order to try and help your grandson. Your love, conern and caring will not go unnoticed by God, Our Holy Mother, Jesus and the Angels. Please remember to not dwell on the past, let it go and focus on the future, as you’re doing. Picture your grandson happy, healthy and drug free in your mind each evening as you say prayers for him and TRUST and BELIEVE that Mercy will be shown. Things will improve, so set aside your fears and worry……concentrate only on love and Faith. God Bless!

  • Anthony

    I am seventy years old. I was born into the traditional Tridentine rite. After Vatican 2 I followed the Novus Ordo church and, though being a sinful man, followed all the aspects of Vatican 2 to the exclusion of all that I had learnt and been taught as a catholic schoolboy and altar boy. However, within the past few years, through reading and following various practices – particularly the daily Rosary – I believe that Our lady has led me back to the Latin Tridentine Rite. The “Vernacular” mass, in my meagre opinion, is not unlike the mass that the snake. Thomas Cranmer, introduced at the reformation. The Latin Tridentine rite and the adherence to the truths of the past (dogmas and truths of past church councils like Trent and Vatican 1) is essential. Truth is truth whether spoken in Ad 33 or 2014 and can NEVER change. God forgive me for the past fifty years. Go to http://www.fatima.org for any clarification of your faith. Fatima is undoubtedly the most important event in the history of the world since the coming of Christ. Our Lady of Mount Carmel pray for us

  • I am amazed by how many people of other denominations misunderstand the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Catholic Church.We do not worship her; we venerate her. We honor her, pray for her intercession with her son; and wear the Scapular and say the Rosary to her out of love and obediance to our Mother. PRAY THE ROSARY DAILY!!!

  • I pray everyday to Our lady and I wear the scapuler and I find great relief and feeling of closeness to the Lord. I have not always been a good person but I feel now with my devotion and wearing the scauplar I found my way back to a better life.

  • Charlene Allen
    August 1st, 2014

    My husband and I are in our 80s attending the Novus Ordo church until we found a LATIN TRIDENTINE RITE (OUR LADY OF MT. CARMEL) here in Colorado. We found it beautiful as it was in our childhood. We pray all catholics will come back to the Latin Tridentine Rite. It makes us feel closer to the catholic faith.

  • Peter Baxter

    How do you no which brown scapular to wear. Search and you find coloured pictures ones, ones with pinked or frame edges, ones with the picture covering all the brown, ones with a cross embroided on it, ones with medals sewn on them etc etc. I tried to get a close look at St Alphonus’s scapular to see but it is not clear. Does anyone no which is the more traditional scapular to buy.