ASK FATHER: Where can I get good Brown Scapulars?

From a reader…


You posted once reference to a nice scapular that you purchased, I bought one on your reference and need to replace it, but couldn’t find anything on your site about it? Do you remember where to get these great scapulars? I pray for you daily. Keep up the good work.

Thanks for the prayers.  I need them.

You may be asking about “Mantle of Mary” brown scapulars.  There are many good producers of beautiful and durable scapulars, but that is what I found in my email.

Some people may not realize this, but the smaller scapulars that many use are miniature scapulars of habits, reduced to a minimum.

In the case of the Brown Scapular, once you are enrolled, if you need to replace your scapular because it is worn out (burn it when you need to dispose of it, or bury it), you can simply obtain another and begin to wear it.  You don’t have to have it blessed.  It doesn’t do any harm to have it blessed, but it is not necessary.   That is the case of the Brown Scapular.  I am not sure that that applies to others, such as the Green and the Red.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Cicero_NOLA says:

    Friends of mine attest to these scapulars, as well:

  2. deaconjohn1987 says: has a variety of Scapulars like this one:
    Btw, I wear a Brown Scapular, never take it off even in the shower, and it has lasted over 20 years!
    Deacon John

  3. Amy McSween says:

    Seriously though,
    Some of us reside in Parishes where the priest would look upon the scapular as voodoo.
    I do…
    I was lucky, I was enrolled at my first communion.

    I ask my children, despite NO opportunity for enrollment, to wear theirs as a the very, most basic, visible sign of Mary being their Mother.
    I hope, one day that I might come across a priest who sees the importance of this visible sign of Mary’s motherhood and they will be enrolled.

    I may be in error on this, but it’s all I have where I live.

  4. Jacob says:

    Father Z, what do you think of the new, abbreviated rite for initiating someone into the Brown Scapular?

    I have been wanting to start to wear one for awhile, but am hesitant due to questions about the rite as well as the Holy Water/Happy Water problem.

  5. majuscule says:

    Some years ago I bought one from the person mentioned by Cicero_NOLA.

    They are a hand embroidered work of art. If you are looking for a “hair shirt” effect, one of these would not be for you. Mine has the Sacred Heart embroidered on one end and the Immaculate Heart on the other. I love honoring Our Lord and Lady in this way.

    Not only is it beautiful, it is holding up very well.

  6. ChesterFrank says:

    When initiated into the brown scapular in grade school, I recall getting one of plastic with inserts for paper cards. Are the real ones really that much more expensive? Handing out cheap religious articles only cheapens the Religion

  7. Michael says:

    This company from Michigan makes excellent Scapulars that are both strong and long-lasting. Plus, proceeds go towards the formation of religious. The scapular comes with the rite of enrollment in both Latin and English.

    I continuously wear one, including the shower, and never take it off. It has lasted and does not break. The only problem is there is an issue with their ordering page. Perhaps if someone contacts them the issue may be resolved.

  8. WmHesch says:

    Under the old rules, New scapulars did not need to be blessed (with the sole exception of the Trinidarian until Leo XIII).

    This is because it’s the ENROLLMENT that carries over from one Scapular to another, and the old indulgences were attached to that enrollment.

    This still holds true to the plenary indulgences attached to certain scapulars on various feasts. Enrollment in the various confraternities is mostly still a requirement to obtain those plenary indulgences (if they were renewed after 1968- and most were). There is no automatic enrollment in the Brown Scapular Confraternity. They went on and off with this requirement for much of the 19th century- and Popes would regularly grant a “sanation” to those not enrolled. It became complicated because some missionary orders (eg Redemptorists) were dispensed with enrollment altogether.

    Things changed in the new Enchiridion, however, with respect to the PARTIAL indulgence for blessed objects. The letter of the law requires that for the partial indulgences, the actual object (in this case, the new Scapular) must be blessed by a priest (pre-1999) or by a priest or deacon after 1999.

    Bottom line: new Scapulars don’t need to blessed with respect to the “Scapular promise”; Sabbatine privilege; or plenary indulgences associated with confraternity enrollment. However, they do need to be blessed if you want the partial indulgence for blessed objects.

  9. Geoffrey says:

    Thank you for this timely post! My Brown Scapular gave ‘way a few months ago, and I have been at pains finding something similar. It was a somewhat “heavy” scapular, made with a durable cord. I cannot find anything similar. I look forward to everyone’s suggestions and advice.

  10. Diana says:

    There are some beautiful scapulars on Etsy, too. I bought some here:

  11. jaykay says:

    Michael: yes, I have on one of those. I can thoroughly recommend them – they are very strong and hard-wearing. I’ve had mine for about 5 years now and while I don’t wear it in the shower I’ve no doubt but that if I did it would still be ok. The simple cross design, rather than the image that’s on most, doesn’t wear out. They really are good.

  12. john_6_fan says:

    Veronika’s Workshop on Facebook makes custom embroidered scapulars at a reasonable cost. My wife and daughters all have scapulars with their patron saint on them.

  13. The Masked Chicken says:

    I would like to put in a plug for the Rose Scapular Company:

    They specialize in scapulars. Their brown scapulars are durable and well-constructed. Scapulars may be ordered with a pre-blessed (by a Benedictine priest) St. Benedict medal and a separate cross. In addition, they, also, have five-fold scapulars and other types of scapulars and cords.

    I am a bit of a purist. Scapulars for the laity are very abbreviated versions of the scapulars (the outer over-hanging cloth) traditionally worn by religious and friars. Originally, they were like a front and back apron, but they took on greater significance with St. Simon Stock (who was a early Superior of the Calced Carmelites (not Discalced)). He lived in a tree trunk for a while (hence, Simon of the Stock). The most recent scholarship has cast doubt on certain aspects of the vision of St. Simon Stock regarding the Sabbatine Privilege, but it is best to consult the Carmelite literature on these matters. I like scapulars that are just plain brown wool. Neither the Carmelite friar, nun, or large secular scapular should have decorations on them, even though one, sometimes, sees decorations on some large secular Carmelite scapulars. The smaller ones of the secular Confraternity may have decorations, if I recall correctly, but they may not have the scapular covered in plastic, even though this was done, in times past. Technically, the scapular portion are the two brown squares, not the cords attaching them. The brown scapular cords may be made of any materials (again, the cords should not be encased in plastic), but wool is the most authentic.

    Beware of some very cheap scapulars which have a paper picture glued on top of the wool. In some cases, the strings are glued on instead of being sewn on.

    In an emergency or if one is very poor, one can make a scapular simply by taking two pieces of brown (or black?) wool (serge wool was, traditionally, used by the friars and nuns) and connecting them by a shoe string with the caps cut off. If one is enrolled in the Confraternity, this suffices. One can have this make-shift scapular blessed.

    If the connecting string breaks on your scapular, but the scapular portion is still good, you may sew the cord back on using any kind of thread, although wool would be best.

    Some people are allergic to wool or live in very humid climates, where the wool of the scapular will decay unusually rapidly. The scapular medal may be substituted, in these cases, although it does not carry with it the rich history of indulgences of the brown scapular.

    As for bathing, some people buy two scapulars: one to wear and one to bathe in, but, for me, this seems a little much, however, different people may have different opinions on this.

    The Chicken

  14. youngcatholicgirl says:

    I was enrolled before my First Holy Communion and was given a cloth scapular with paper pictures sewn on and encased in plastic. I don’t remember receiving much catechesis on the scapular, and so didn’t really wear it until I was thirteen or so. I worn for a whole summer of garden work in the heat and humidity of the Deep South, with the result that the paper stuck to the plastic, so I got a new one. It’s made only of cloth, with the image of Our Lady and St. Simon on front, the Scapular promise on the back. The cord is no longer white, but it has lasted me day and night for five and a half years.

  15. AA Cunningham says:

    Those with not much to spend may consider Father Richard Heilman’s Roman Catholic Gear.

  16. kelleyb says:
    I have been wearing the Sister of Carmel’s hand made brown scapular for 20 years, I think if has been that long. They are wonderful and made by the beautiful sisters. I think they wear well. I always buy several. God bless.

  17. MrsMacD says:

    Masked Chicken, I’m wearing a Rose Scapular! My family (Father, Mother, sisters, brothers, nieces nephews, husband, kids) and friends all wear them. They’re famous for being durable.

    There is no rule about the strings, nothing about them being made out of wool either.

    That said, I really, really like those hand embroidered ones that people have posted! Maybe I should try doing something in that genre for birthdays and Christmas!

    An idea that someone else might like; I’ve started sewing the medals onto the back, so that they don’t saw off the cord.

  18. MrsMacD says:

    “By a decree of May 8th 1925 [Pope Pius XI] approved what is known as the “protected scapular.” Instead of just two pieces of brown cloth joined by string or cord, one may wear the two pieces of cloth joined by chains and enclosed by cases.9″ Pg19 Sign of Her Heart by John M. Haffert, 1971

    9 Enciclopedia del Escapulario del Carmen no 268

  19. I wear a sterling silver scapular medal on a sterling silver chain. I went sterling silver because my skin degrades cheap metals. And I went medal because I went through too many cloth scapulars.

  20. The requirement for the Brown Scapular is 100 percent brown wool, no requirement of content for the strings. And yes, one can use the scapular medal as a lesser replacement.

    While not everyone has the means or the time to make scapulars, it is cheap and easy and you can make the strings/chains as long and strong as you need. No images required.
    Yes, this scapular is a mini-habit and bears requirements [enrollment, blessing the first scapular, daily prayer (used to be the Office of the BVM commuted to the daily Rosary and now I believe a minimum of 3 Hail Marys daily), observance of chastity according to one’s state in life, and be wearing the scapular at death] because wearers participate in the Carmelite order. So simply wearing the scapular without minding the requirements isn’t a free pass to heaven, it is not a talisman or a superstition, but a commitment by Mary who will be checking at your death. :-) Well, Mary says she will come to get the wearer! Such gifts as these are helps to get us to heaven but we have to do our part.
    I know too many who devoutly give out the scapular but argue vehemently that there is no other requirement than simply wearing it. Perhaps when giving out scapulars, information should accompany that scapular to educate the wearer so that they truly can benefit from such a powerful sacramental.

  21. MrsMacD says:

    Dear Tina in Ashburn Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock on July 16th 1251. She promised that all Carmelites clothed in the scapular would not suffer eternal fire. The Church approved a confraternity so that ordinary people could enjoy the privileges of the order of Carmel one year after St. Simon’s death in 1261. The Sabatine privledge with the requirement to say the little office or some appropriate substitute was not established for another 60 years, by Pope John XXII in 1322. Thus these people, who’s goodwill you call into question, are not incorrect in saying that to wear the scapular devoutly and be enrolled in the confraternity, alone, carries a great promise, namely preservation from eternal damnation.

  22. The Masked Chicken says:

    Dear MrsMacD,

    The Church has a right, under the keys, to add whatever stipulations to a sacramental that it seems fit. The reason for the requirements, I suspect, was for the Confraternity to imitate, to a small degree, the praying and fasting that goes with the Carmelite charism. I don’t know this, for sure, however. In any case, those, who through no fault of their own, do not follow the directives, it seems to me will be taken care of by virtue of their invincible ignorance, so both you and Tina are right.

    The Chicken

  23. MrsMacD says:

    Dear Masked Chicken

    I in no way meant to imply that the Church did not have the power to stipulate anything, only that the Church, if you research carefully, does in fact agree that there are privledges attached to simply being enrolled and wearing the scapular.

Comments are closed.