The scapular (from Latin scapulae , "shoulders") is a Western Christian garment suspended from the shoulders. There are two types of scapular, the monastic and devotional scapular, although both forms may simply be referred to as "scapular".As an object of popular piety, it serves to remind the wearers of their commitment to live a Christian life.
The "monastic scapular" appeared first, perhaps as early as the 7th century in the Order of Saint Benedict.It is a somewhat large length of cloth suspended both front and back from the shoulders of the wearer, often reaching to the knees. It may vary in shape, color, size and style. Monastic scapulars originated as aprons worn by medieval monks, and were later extended to habits for members of religious organizations, orders or confraternities. Monastic scapulars now form part of the habit of monks and nuns in many Christian orders.
The "devotional scapular" is a much smaller item and evolved from the monastic scapular. These may also be worn by individuals who are not members of a monastic order. The devotional scapular typically consists of two small (usually rectangular) pieces of cloth, wood or laminated paper, a few inches in size, which may bear religious images or text. These are joined by two bands of cloth and the wearer places one square on the chest, rests the bands one on each shoulder and lets the second square drop down the back.
In many cases, both forms of the scapular come with a set of promises for the faithful who wear them. Some of the promises are rooted in tradition. For Roman Catholics, over the centuries several popes have approved specific indulgences for scapulars, as for some other objects of popular piety.
The scapular may have emerged from an apron-like piece of cloth worn by monks. Item 55 of the Rule of Saint Benedict, dating to the 7th century refers to the use of the scapular.In the Catholic Church the key elements of a monk's habit eventually became the tunic, the cincture, the scapular and the hood. A nun's clothing included the tunic, the scapular and the head veil. Some authors interpret the scapular as a symbolic apron based on the fact that monks and nuns, when engaged on some manual labor, tend to cover it with a protective apron or carefully tuck it up or throw the front length back over their shoulder to prevent it from getting in the way.
|Part of a series on|
| Scapulars |
of the Catholic Church
Today, the monastic scapular is part of the garb, the habit, of many Christian religious orders, of both monks and nuns. It is an outer garment about the width of the chest, from shoulder to shoulder. It hangs down in the front and back almost to the feet, but is open on the sides (it was originally joined by straps at the waist). It is related to the analavos worn in the Eastern tradition.
Historically, the monastic scapular was at times referred to as scutum (i.e. shield), as it was laid over the head, which it originally covered and protected with one portion (from which the hood afterwards developed).A specific aspect of the use of the monastic scapular from its earliest days was obedience and the term jugum Christi, i.e. "yoke of Christ", was used to refer to it. The term "yoke of Christ" signified obedience and removing a scapular was like removing the yoke of Christ, i.e. rebelling against authority. For instance, the Carmelite constitution of 1281 prescribed that the scapular should be worn to bed under penalty of serious fault, and the constitution of 1369 included automatic excommunication for a Carmelite saying Mass without a scapular.
Over the centuries the religious orders adapted the basic scapular as they considered appropriate for themselves, as a result of which there are now several distinct designs, colors, shapes and lengths in use. The Carthusians and others attached a hood to their scapular, rather than keeping the former a separate item of their habit, while some, like the Dominican Order or Carmelites, wear it beneath another layer, like a shoulder cape or capuce (that is, the "hood"). The color selection could change over time; for instance, prior to 1255, the Augustinian scapulars for novices were black and those of the lay brethren were white, but thereafter all scapulars but those of the lay brethren had to be white.
In some cases the monastic scapular was used to distinguish the rank or level of the wearer within a religious order. For instance, in some Byzantine monastic practices, two levels of fully professed monk or nun exist: those of the "little habit" and those other of the "great habit", these being more senior and not having to do manual labor. In these cases, the "great habit" was simply distinguished from the "little habit" by the addition of a scapular decorated with the instruments of the Passion.
Just as the stole is the vestment that came to mark the office of a priest, the monastic scapular became the equivalent for those in the monastic life and even today, a long scapular identifies its wearer as a member of a religious order. It is a symbol of the confraternal way, combining in itself the principle of ora et labora (prayer and work), and so the form was later adopted by pious laity who wished to have an open sign of their devotion.
Some authors suggest that the tradition of wearing a reduced form of a non-monastic scapular started in the 11th century with Saint Peter Damian and the monastic scapular was gradually transformed from an item of clothing that was part of the habit of monks and nuns to a smaller item that expressed devotion by individuals, called oblates, who lived in the world, but wished to be affiliated with a monastery.
In the Middle Ages, it became common for Christian faithful to share in the spirituality of the new mendicant orders in an auxiliary sense, sometimes called Third Orders because they were founded after the initial orders of the friars and nuns. Although these people (called Tertiaries) were permitted to wear the "tertiary habit", because they had not taken religious vows they were not usually permitted to wear the full habit of the order. With time, it was considered a high honor and great privilege to be granted a small cloth attached by bands which would be worn over the torso in the same manner as the full monastic scapular. Confraternities came to be formed in which people would be granted the wearing of this item as a mark of their sharing in the good works of a particular order.Among Franciscans, they were known as Cordbearers, due to their also wearing a small cord around the waist in imitation of the one worn by the friar.
After the disruptions of religious life during the period of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic invasions of France and Italy, wearing of the tertiary habit became prohibited. Thus it eventually became common that a smaller form of an order's scapular would be bestowed upon the non-monastic. Rather than a full length of cloth, it consisted of two rectangles (several inches wide, and much larger than a modern devotional scapular) of wool joined by bands in some fashion. These are still worn today by the "Third Order" members of the Franciscans, Carmelites, and Dominicans. In order to gain the benefits of the order, the members must wear these scapulae constantly. However, in 1883 in his "Constitution On the Law of the Franciscan Third Order" called Misericors Dei Filius , Pope Leo XIII declared that wearing either these medium-sized scapulae of the "Third Order" or the miniature forms of the smaller devotional scapular entitled the wearer equally to gain the indulgences associated with the order.Some religious orders still give a short version (sometimes called the "reduced scapular", but this usage is archaic) of their large scapular to non-monastics that are spiritually affiliated with them. Such short scapulars are designed to be unobtrusive and can be worn under regular clothing at home and at work.
Devotional scapulars are objects of popular piety, primarily worn by Roman Catholics, as well as some Anglicans and Lutherans, designed to show the wearer's pledge to a confraternity, a saint, or a way of life, as well as reminding the wearer of that promise.Some devotional scapulars bear images, or verses from scripture. Devotional scapulars typically consist of two rectangular pieces of cloth, wool or other fabric that are connected by bands. One rectangle hangs over the chest of the wearer, while the other rests on the back, with the bands running over the shoulders. Some scapulars have extra bands running under the arms and connecting the rectangles to prevent them from getting dislodged underneath the wearer's top layer of clothes.
The roots of devotional scapulars can be traced to the gathering of laity into confraternities for spiritual direction, whereby the faithful would be assigned some badge or token of affiliation and devotion. The image or message on the scapular usually reflects the order's focus, tradition or favored devotion.Devotional scapulars and the indulgences attached to them grew along with the growth of Catholic confraternities during the 17th and 18th centuries. The fact that specific promises and indulgences were attached to the wearing of scapulars helped increase their following, as was seen with the early example of the Brown Scapular, habit of the Carmelites. This promise was based on the Carmelite tradition that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock at Cambridge, England in 1251 in answer to his appeal for help for his oppressed order and recommended the Brown Scapular of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel to him and promised salvation for the faithful who wore it piously. Regardless of the scholarly debates regarding the exact origin of the Brown Scapular, it is clear that it has been a part of the Carmelite habit since the late 13th century.
The Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception that dates to 1617 was eventually granted a significant number of indulgences, and many graces were promised to those who would honor the Immaculate Conception by wearing the Blue Scapular and live chastely according to their state in life. In 1885 Pope Leo XIII approved the Scapular of the Holy Face, (also known as The Veronica) and elevated the Priests of the Holy Face to an archconfraternity.He also approved the Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel and the Scapular of St. Joseph, both in 1893, and the Scapular of the Sacred Heart in 1900. In 1611, the Servite Order's confraternity and their Black Scapular of the Seven Sorrows of Mary received indulgences from Pope Paul V.
During the 19th century, a number of other Scapulars were approved. The green Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary was approved by Pope Pius IX in 1877 and the white Scapular of Our Lady of Good Counsel received the approval of Leo XIII in 1893 for the purpose of invoking Mary's guidance upon its wearer. The black Scapular of Our Lady Help of the Sick, (for the Confraternity founded by St. Camillus de Lellis) was approved by Pius IX in 1860. In 1863 he also approved the Green Scapular, which is not from a Confraternity but an image inspired by a vision of the Blessed Mother experienced by Sr. Justine Bisqueyburu from the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul.
By the early 20th century the devotional scapular had gained such a strong following among Catholics worldwide that Joseph Hilgers, in the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1912 stated: "Like the rosary, [the Brown Scapular] has become the badge of the devout Catholic".In the 1917 reported apparitions of Our Lady of Fátima the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared "with a Rosary in one hand and a scapular in the other". Sister Lúcia (one of the three Fátima children visionaries) stated that the Virgin Mary told her: "The Rosary and the Scapular are inseparable". In the United States "Scapular Magazine" helped enroll one million Americans to pray the Rosary based on the Fatima messages. The Rosary and the devotional scapular continue to be linked in the 21st century.
While a number of scapulars (e.g. the Scapular of the Holy Face, also known as The Veronica) are entirely Christocentric, the most widespread scapulars (including the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception) relate to Marian devotions and consecrations.John Paul II stated that he received his first Brown Scapular of Mount Carmel at age ten when his Marian devotion was taking shape and he continued to wear it into his papacy.
The Catholic Encyclopedia lists 18 small scapulars approved by the Roman Catholic church:
Of all the types recognized by the Roman Catholic Church the best-known, and perhaps the most popular, is the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, sometimes referred to as the Brown Scapular from the color of its bands. The wearing of a devotional scapular has been viewed as a constant meditation by Bishop Leo De Goesbriand: "Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, Mary never sees me without seeing upon my body an evidence of my devotion to her."This scapular, with its history in Britain, along with the Scapular of Our Lady of Walsingham are also popular devotions in the Anglican Church. The Green Scapular, "instituted for the conversion of those without faith" is another popular scapular among the Christian community.
From a spiritual viewpoint, Father Etienne Richer argues that devotional scapular is one of key Roman Catholic devotions that harmonize with Catholic Liturgy in the meditative process.
Scapular wearing is sometimes found in Protestant churches including Anglican, Lutheran, and Methodist. Instructions are provided in United Methodist Church allowing scapular to be worn over the alb by anyone lay or clergy, not as a pastoral stole or chasuble, either colored for the Church season or not.
Some Anglican churches use the scapular to designate the difference of vestments between choristers boys and girls, a tradition that continues in Church of South India for women and men.
Lutheran churches sometimes use scapulars as vestments for both men and women serversover cassocks which are regarded as clerical clothing not vestments. Scapulars in Protestant churches do not necessarily have the same meaning as in Catholic church.
Choirs may wear scapular over alb in Lutheran colleges.
Though each scapular has its own particular qualifications and usage, the Roman Catholic Church has set down certain rules that pertain to all its types, be they monastic or devotional. A scapular associated with a confraternity must be invested by an ordained representative of that group. A scapular associated with a mystery or devotion may simply be blessed by a priest and given to the wearer. To receive the benefits or indulgences granted the scapular generally must be worn constantly. It may be placed aside for a time but, during that period, the wearer does not receive the scapular's benefits. Should the wearer take up the wearing of it again, the benefits are again conferred.
A devotional scapular must be in good repair with both bands intact. Multiple scapulae may be worn on the same bands, but the bands must be the color of those prescribed by the scapular with the most preeminence, and that scapular must be foremost with the others behind in order of precedence.[ citation needed ] If a scapular becomes damaged to the point where it cannot be in good repair, it must be replaced. However, it is not necessary for the wearer to be reinvested as it is the devotion of the wearer, not the object itself, that confers the benefit of the scapular.
The Carmelites, formally known as the Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel or sometimes simply as Carmel by synecdoche, is a Roman Catholic mendicant religious order for men founded, probably in the 12th century, on Mount Carmel in Israel in the Crusader States, hence the name Carmelites. However, historical records about its origin remain very uncertain. Berthold of Calabria has traditionally been associated with the founding of the order, but few clear records of early Carmelite history have survived.
The Holy Rosary, also known as the Dominican Rosary, refers to a form of prayer psalter used in the Catholic Church and to the string of knots or beads used to count the component prayers. When referring to the prayer, the word is usually capitalized ; when referring to the beads, it is written with a lower-case initial letter.
Our Lady of Sorrows, Our Lady of Dolours, the Sorrowful Mother or Mother of Sorrows, and Our Lady of Piety, Our Lady of the Seven Sorrows or Our Lady of the Seven Dolours are names by which the Virgin Mary is referred to in relation to sorrows in her life. As Mater Dolorosa, it is also a key subject for Marian art in the Catholic Church.
The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the habit of both the Carmelite Order and the Discalced Carmelite Order, both of which have Our Lady of Mount Carmel as their patroness. In its small form, it is widely popular within the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church as a religious article and has probably served as the prototype of all the other devotional scapulars. The liturgical feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16, is popularly associated with the devotion of the Scapular.
The cowl is an item of clothing consisting of a long, hooded garment with wide sleeves. Originally it may have referred simply to the hooded portion of a cloak. In contemporary usage, however, it is distinguished from a cloak or cape (cappa) by the fact that it refers to an entire closed garment. Today it is worn primarily by most Catholic and Anglican monks when participating in liturgical services.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid-13th century. They built in the midst of their hermitages a chapel which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the "Lady of the place." Our Lady of Mount Carmel was adopted in the 19th century as the patron saint of Chile, in South America.
Saint Simon Stock, an Englishman who lived in the 13th century, was an early Prior of the Carmelite religious order. Little is known about his life with any historical certainty. The Blessed Virgin Mary is traditionally said to have appeared to him and given him the Carmelite habit, the Brown Scapular. Thus, popular devotion to Saint Simon Stock is usually associated with devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The Blue Army of Our Lady of Fátima, now mostly known as the World Apostolate of Fátima, is a public international association of the Christian faithful that has as its general purpose "the promotion of the authentic teaching of the Roman Catholic Church and the strict adherence to the tenets of the Gospel; the personal sanctification of adherents through faithful adherence to the Message of Our Lady of Fátima and the promotion of the common good by the spreading of that Message of Fátima".
A religious habit is a distinctive set of religious clothing worn by members of a religious order. Traditionally some plain garb recognizable as a religious habit has also been worn by those leading the religious eremitic and anchoritic life, although in their case without conformity to a particular uniform style.
Confraternities of the Cord are pious associations of the faithful, the members of which wear a cord or cincture in honour of a saint, to keep in mind some special grace or favour which they hope to obtain through his intercession.
In Roman Catholicism, the Sabbatine Privilege is a privilege or indulgence which consists in the early liberation of souls from Purgatory, on the first Saturday after death, through the special intercession and petition of the Virgin Mary.
The Fivefold Scapular, also known as Redemptorist Scapular, is a sacramental made up of the five most popular scapulars in the Catholic Church: the Brown Scapular, the Blue Scapular, the Black Scapular, the Red Scapular, and the White Scapular.
The Confraternity of the Holy Rosary is a Roman Catholic Archconfraternity or spiritual association, under the care and guidance of the Dominican Order. The members of the confraternity strive to pray the entire Holy Rosary weekly.
The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, officially Ordo Carmelitarum Discalceatorum Saecularis (OCDS), and formerly the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and of the Holy Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus, is a religious association of the Roman Catholic Church composed primarily of lay persons and also accepted secular clergy.
The exact origins of both the rosary and scapular are subject to debate among scholars. Pious tradition maintains that both the rosary and the brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel were given by the Virgin Mary to saints Dominic and Simon Stock respectively during the 13th century. Historical records document their growth during the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe. By the early 20th century, they had gained such a strong following among Catholics worldwide that Josef Hilgers, writing in the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1914, stated: "Like the Rosary, the Brown scapular has become the badge of the devout Catholic."
The Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception is a devotional scapular that traces its roots to Venerable Ursula Benincasa, who founded the Roman Catholic religious order of the Theatine Nuns. This scapular must have a blue woollen cloth and on one side bears a symbolization of the mystery of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady and on the other the name of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Scapular of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic devotional scapular bearing an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the front panel, and an image of the Virgin Mary as Mother of Mercy on the panel which hangs at the wearer's back. In its current form, the design and the formal church approval for its use are due to Estelle Faguette, a French domestic servant, who in 1876 claimed to have received a series of apparitions during which the Virgin Mary showed this scapular and spoke about its use.
This Scapular of the Holy Face is a Roman Catholic devotional scapular originating in 1885. It is based on the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus.
The Scapular of the Seven Sorrows of Mary is a Roman Catholic devotional scapular that dates back to the thirteenth century. It is worn by members of the Confraternity of the Seven Dolours of Mary, associated with the Servite Order.
The Scapular of St. Benedict is a Christian devotional scapular. This scapular is worn most often by the votarists and oblates belonging to the Order of Saint Benedict, who most often come from the Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, and Methodist Churches. Others associated with the Order of Saint Benedict may be invested with it.
The scapular is the apron of a servant and symbolizes our commitment to servant ministry. It is worn by lay and clergy alike without distinction, thus symbolizing our shared ministry and mission.