scapular (Latin: scapula, shoulder-blade)
A sacramental worn as a badge of a religious confraternity. It consists of two pieces of cloth, one of which is worn on the breast and the other on the back, with bands or strings passing over the shoulders. A scapular gives its wearer a share in the merits and spiritual benefits of the association of which it is the badge. In certain religious orders an outer garment called, a scapular is worn; it consists of a long piece of cloth hanging from the shoulders before and behind, almost to the ground.
In the Middle Ages, lay persons were often permitted to become “oblates” of these orders, that is, they assisted frequently at the monastic services and had a share in the merits of the order; they were allowed to wear the scapular, which, after a time, was made smaller and was worn under the clothing. Certain associations of the laity are known as Third Orders, and the members wear the large scapular (about 5 by 2.5 inches); other societies wear the small scapular (about 2.25 by 2 inches). The rules concerning scapulars are:
*the investing must be done by an authorized person
*the scapular may be given in any place, to any Catholic, even to an infant
*it must be worn as described above
*if replaced, no blessing is required
*if it is laid aside for a considerable time, the benefits are forfeited during that time
The Church has approved eighteen kinds of scapulars:
*Scapular of Mount Carmel
*Scapular of Our Lady of Ransom
*Scapular of Saint Benedict
*Scapular of Saint Dominic
*Scapular of Saint Joseph
*Scapular of Saint Michael the Archangel
*Scapular of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
*Scapular of the Help of the Sick
*Scapular of the Holy Face
*Scapular of the Immaculate Conception
*Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
*Scapular of the Most Blessed Trinity
*Scapular of the Mother of Good Counsel
*Scapular of the Passion (black)
*Scapular of the Passion (red)
*Scapular of the Precious Blood
*Scapular of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
*Scapular of the Seven Dolors
As many as five may be worn at once, but no more than that. See also
Scapular of Mount Carmel
The best-known of the scapulars. It is the badge of the Confraternity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is brown in color, and often ornamented with pictures, which, however, are not essential. It owes its origin to Saint Simon Stock, an English Carmelite. Originally the investing in this scapular was restricted to the Carmelite Order, but now any priest having ordinary faculties in a diocese can invest in it. The formula now in use was prescribed by Pope Leo XIII in 1888.
Scapular of Our Lady of Ransom
Badge of a confraternity affiliated to the Order of Our Lady of Mercy. It is white, one part bears a picture of Our Lady of Ransom, and the other simply of a smaller piece of white cloth. The summary of indulgences of the confraternity was last approved by the Congregation of Indulgences on 30 July 1868. The General of the Mercedarians communicates to other priests the faculty of receiving into the confraternity and of blessing and investing with the scapular.
Scapular of Saint Benedict
To associate the faithful, who were not Oblates of Saint Benedict, in a certain measure with the Benedictine Order, a confraternity of Saint Benedict was founded in the second half of the nineteenth century, at first by the English Congregation. Reception is effected by the enrollment of the members and investment with a small blessed scapular of black cloth. One of the segments usually has a picture of Saint Benedict but no picture is necessary. The confraternity was endowed with indulgences by Pope Leo XIII in 1882 and 1883.
Scapular of Saint Dominic
Fostered by the Dominican Order. The general of that society, however, can give to other priests the faculty of blessing it. It was approved on 23 November 1903 by Pope Pius X who granted an indulgence to the wearers every time that they devoutly kiss it. It is made of white wool, and usually bears a picture of a kneeling Saint Dominic on one part and that of Blessed Reginald receiving the habit from the Mother of God on the other.
Scapular of Saint Joseph
Promoted by the Capuchin Fathers, and used locally since 1880. Approved by Pope Leo XIII on 15 April 1898. It is violet, with white bands; on each half is a square of gold cloth; that on the front part bearing a picture of Saint Joseph, with the words “Saint Joseph, Patron of the Church, Pray for us”; that on the other part bearing the papal crown and keys, with the words Spiritus Domini Ductor Ejus (The Spirit of the Lord is His Guide).
Scapular of Saint Michael the Archangel
The only scapular not oblong in shape. Designed as a shield, one part is blue, the other black, and the connecting bands are blue and black. Each part bears a picture of Michael the Archangel slaying the dragon, and the inscription Quis ut Deus? (Who is like to God?). It is the badge of an Archconfraternity of Saint Michael, founded in 1878. Blessed Pope Pius IX gave it his blessing, and it was indulgenced by Pope Leo XIII.
Scapular of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary
White scapular with the two Hearts and the implements of the Passion on one part, and a red cross on the other. It owes its origin to the Daughters of the Sacred Heart, a community founded at Antwerp in 1873. It was approved in 1900. Indulgenced by Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius X.
Scapular of the Help of the Sick
Scapular badge of a confraternity associated with the Society of Saint Camillus, patron of hospitals. In the Church of Saint Magdalen at Rome, belonging to the Clerks Regular of Saint Camillus, a picture of the Blessed Virgin is specially venerated under the title of Help of the Sick. This picture is said to have been painted by the celebrated Dominican painter, Fra Angelico da Fiesole and before it Pope Saint Pius V is said to have prayed for the victory of the Christian fleet during the battle of Lepanto. This picture suggested to a brother of the Order of Saint Camillus, Ferdinand Vicari, the idea of founding a confraternity under the invocation of the Mother of God for the poor sick. He succeeded, the confraternity being canonically founded in the above mentioned church on 15 June 1860. At their reception, members are given a scapular of black woollen cloth; the portion over the breast is a copy of the above picture of the Mother of God and at her feet are Saint Joseph and Saint Camillus, the two other patrons of the sick and of the confraternity. On the small segment at the back is sewed a little red cloth cross; although this receives separate and special blessing for the sick, it does not constitute an essential portion of the scapular. The scapular is the badge of the confraternity, which received its indulgences from Pope Pius IX in 1860, and from Pope Leo XIII in 1883; these were last ratified by a Rescript of the Congregation of Indulgences on 21 July 1883.
Scapular of the Holy Face
Made of white cloth, with the picture of the Face of Our Lord made famous through the tradition of Veronica’s Veil. It is the badge of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face, but the members may use a medal or cross bearing the same emblem. Wearing of this picture is simply one of the pious practices of the archconfraternity, without any special indulgences.
Scapular of the Immaculate Conception
A blue scapular, bearing on one part a picture of the Immaculate Conception, and on the other the name of Mary. Blessed Ursula Benicasa, foundress of the Order of Theatine Nuns, relates in her autobiography how the habit she and her sisters wear in honour of the Immaculate Conception was revealed to her in a vision. When Jesus promised great favours for her order, she begged the same graces for all the faithful who would devoutly wear a small sky-blue scapular in honour of the Immaculate Conception and for the conversion of sinners. Her prayer was answered, and she disseminated such scapulars after they had been blessed by a priest. This devotion bore such rich fruits that on 30 January 1671 Pope Clement X expressly granted the faculty to bless and invest with this scapular. Pope Clement XI granted certain indulgences for the wearing of the scapular, succeeding popes increased the number, and the summary was approved by the Congregation of Indulgences first in 1845 and finally on 26 August 1882. Only the blue woollen cloth is essential and necessary. The scapular usually bears on one portion a symbolization of the Immaculate Conception and on the other the name of Mary.
Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Badge of the society of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It was sanctioned and endowed with indulgences by Pope Pius IX on 11 May 1877, and approved by the Congregation of Rites in 1907. The superior general of the Sons can communicate the faculty of blessing and investing with this scapular to other priests. It is white woolen cloth, with a picture of the Heart of Mary surrounded by flames, surmounted by a lily, encircled with roses, and pierced by a sword.
Scapular of the Most Blessed Trinity
A white scapular with a red and blue cross. Badge of the Confraternity of the Most Blessed Trinity. Said to have originated in a vision vouchsafed to Pope Innocent II in 1198 in which an angel garbed in these colors appeared to him and directed him to approve the Order of the Most Blessed Trinity for the redemption of captives. Each person who joins the Confraternity of the Blessed Trinity must be invested with this scapular and must constantly wear it. The indulgences of this confraternity were last approved by a Decree of the Congregation of Indulgences of 13 August 1899. The General of the Trinitarians may communicate to other priests the faculty of receiving into the confraternity and of blessing and investing with the scapular.
Scapular of the Mother of Good Counsel
Approved by Pope Leo XIII in December 1893. Its use is promoted by the Augustinian Fathers; the faculty of blessing and investing with the scapular belongs primarily to the Augustinian monks, but the General of the Augustinians communicates this privilege to other priests. It is white wool, with one part bearing a picture of the Mother of Good Counsel, and the other, the papal crown and keys with the inscription, “Son, follow her counsel. Leo III”.
Scapular of the Passion (black); Black Scapular of the Passion
Badge of a confraternity associated with the Congregation of the Passionists (Passionist Fathers). The Passionists gave the faithful who wished to associate themselves more closely with their order a black scapular in honour of the Passion of Christ. It bears on the front half an exact replica of the badge of the Passion, namely a heart above a cross, on which is written “Jesu XPI Passio” and below “sit semper in cordibus nostris” (May the Passion of Jesus Christ be always in our hearts). The back portion is simply a small segment of black woollen cloth. At various times indulgences have been granted to the faithful who wear this scapular, the Summary being last approved by the Congregation of Indulgences on 10 May 1877. The Superior-General of the Passionists communicates to other priests the faculty to bless and invest with the scapular.
Scapular of the Passion (red); Red Scapular of the Passion
This scapular owes its origin to a series of apparitions of Jesus Christ to a Sister of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in 1846 in which He showed the sister a scapular, and promised to all who should wear it on every Friday a great increase of faith, hope, and charity. It was approved and indulgences were granted to its wearers by Pope Pius IX on 25 June 1847. Priests of the Mission (Lazarists) were given the faculty of blessing the scapular and investing the faithful with it; the Superior-General can communicate the faculty of blessing and investing with this scapular to other regular or secular priests. This scapular and its bands are of red woolen material. On one half is a picture of Our Crucified Lord with the implements of His Passion and the words “Holy Passion of Jesus Christ, Save Us”; on the other are represented the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and above these a cross with the inscription: “Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, protect us.”
Scapular of the Precious Blood
Badge of the Confraternity of the Precious Blood. Priests who can receive the faithful into the Confraternity of the Precious Blood have also the faculty of blessing and investing these with this red scapular (or a red girdle). No special indulgences are connected with the wearing of this scapular, and the wearing of it is left optional to the members of the confraternity. It is red, and one part usually bears a picture of the chalice with the Precious Blood adored by angels; the other segment which hangs at the back is simply a smaller portion of red cloth.
Scapular of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Besides the well-known badge of the Sacred Heart, there is a scapular, approved and indulgenced by Pope Leo XIII in 1900. It is white, bearing pictures of the Heart of Jesus and the Heart of Mary.
The Scapular of the Seven Dolores (The Black Scapular)
(Also known as the Scapular of Our Lady of Seven Dolors; the Scapular of Our Lady of Sorrows; the Servite Scapular)
The Black Scapular, or, as it is called, the Scapular of Our Lady of Dolors, originated in the following manner:
There lived a few centuries ago in the fair city of Florence seven pious noblemen; they were members of a confraternity of Our Lady, and often met together to celebrate the praises of the Mother of God. While they were once assembled on the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, 1233, in order to celebrate devoutly that glorious festival, they felt their hearts filled with an extraordinary love for God and His Holy Mother.
They were on a sudden wrapped into an ecstasy, and all beheld a globe of fire, from which issued seven brilliant rays that penetrated their hearts and filled them with an unutterable yearning after heaven. They then beheld the ever Blessed Virgin Mary crowned with a crown of glory, beaming with heavenly light, and surrounded by a multitude of angels.
The Blessed Virgin gazed on them with the utmost affection, called each of them by his name, and commanded them to quit the world. The vision passed away, and the noblemen agreed together to obey the voice of their heavenly Queen.
They then distributed their wealth to the poor, and retired to a wild, mountainous district some distance from the city, where they led a life of prayer and penance, meditating daily on the sufferings of Our Savior and on the sorrows of his beloved Mother.
Whenever they entered the city, the people flocked around them and craved their blessing, and even the children were heard to cry out as the holy men passed: “See the servants of Mary! These are the servants of Mary!”
On Good Friday evening, as they were meditating on the sorrows of the Mother of God, they were again wrapped into an ecstasy, and beheld the Blessed Virgin descending from heaven, accompanied by a great multitude of angels carrying with them the instruments of Our Savior’s Passion. One of them bore a palm branch, the emblem of victory. Another carried a shield, on which the words “Servants of Mary” were written in letters of gold. The Blessed Virgin herself held in her hand a religious habit of black cloth. Her beautiful countenance bore an expression of unutterable compassion and love. She presented the habit to the pious religious,saying: “My children, receive this habit, and with it the name of my servant; persevere as you have begun, and this palm of victory shall one day be yours.”
As the faithful were now desirous of sharing in the merits and good works of this pious order, these good religious instituted the black Scapular, which was approved of by the Church and enriched with many indulgences.
Shortly after Alexander IV had sanctioned the Servite Order, in 1255, many of the faithful of either sex associated themselves with the order in ecclesiastical confraternities in honour of the Seven Dolors of Mary.
The members of this Confraternity of the Seven Dolores of Mary also wore in later times a scapular which, like the habit of the order, had to be of black cloth. In other respects nothing is prescribed concerning this scapular, although it usually bears on the front portion, over the breast, an image of the Mother of Sorrows.
This scapular must likewise be worn constantly, if one wishes to gain the indulgences of the confraternity. The summary of indulgences was last approved by the Congregation of Indulgences on March 7, 1888.
Priests may obtain from the General of the Servites the faculty to receive the faithful into the confraternity and to bless and invest with the scapular.
A blessed medal worn instead of one or more of the small scapulars, authorized as a substitute by decree of Pope Pius X on 16 December 1910. It bears on one side a representation of the Sacred Heart, and on the other an image of the Blessed Virgin. It takes the place of any small scapular in which the wearer has been invested, but not of any large scapular. Investing in any scapular cannot be done with the medal; a scapular must be used. When replaced by a new one, the latter must be blessed. If the medal is used in place of more than one scapular, a blessing is given for each. The priest who blesses must have faculties to invest in the corresponding scapular. The medal may be worn or carried in any manner.