'Whosoever dies in this Garment shall not suffer eternal fire’
Promise of Our Lady to Saint Simon Stock on July 16th, 1251
Carmelite tradition tells us, that in 1251, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Saint Simon Stock, a Carmelite in Aylesford, England. She handed him a brown woollen scapular and said, "whoever dies clothed in this habit, shall not suffer the fires of Hell." This has always been understood to mean, that anyone who remains faithful to the Carmelite vocation until death, will be granted the grace of final perseverance.
In time, the Church extended this privilege to all the laity, who expressed the desire of being invested in The Brown Scapular of the Carmelites, thus becoming enrolled in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular, and committed therefore, to wearing it perpetually, as a sign of their dedication and veneration to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Loving Her and trusting in Her protection.
Enrolment in the Confraternity
To be eligible for the promises attributed to the wearing of the Brown Scapular, one must accordingly be enrolled in the Confraternity. It is a simple ceremony, conducted by a priest. The members of the Confraternity have the great benefit of sharing in all the many spiritual favours attributed to the Carmelite Order. The Scapular, which comes from the Latin word ‘Scapulare’, meaning ‘shoulders’, is a sacramental, that is, by the prayer of the Church, sacramentals assist the faithful to receive and cooperate, with the many graces the Holy Ghost is always ready to bestow upon them.
The Sabbatine Privilege
There are certain conditions that Our Blessed Lady entrusts to the faithful, in the wearing of Her Scapular. That those who are clothed in it, may partake of Her promises.
She promised to save from hell those who are faithful to wearing the Scapular. Protect them from the trials and temptations of the devil, and to shorten their stay in purgatory, should those souls who pass from this world, still need to make reparation for any debt of sin still wanting.
These promises are found in a Bull of Pope John XXII. The Blessed Virgin appeared to him and, speaking of those who wear the Brown Scapular. She said, ‘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’.
Our Blessed Lady set aside certain conditions which must be fulfilled:
The Morning Offering
The Scapular is like the mantle of the Blessed Virgin Mary, surrounding the person with Her heavenly presence. It is to be encouraged to pray a particular morning offering prayer, that incorporates the Brown Scapular.
O my God, in union with the Immaculate Heart of Mary, (here kiss your scapular). I offer Thee the Precious Blood of Jesus from all the altars throughout the world. Joining with it the offering of my every thought, word and action of this day.
O my Jesus, I desire today to gain every indulgence and merit I can, and I offer them, together with myself, to Mary Immaculate. That She may best apply them to the interests of Thy most Sacred Heart.
Precious Blood of Jesus, save us! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!
(Pope Benedict XV, granted 500 days indulgence for devoutly kissing the scapular).