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Father Rocky Hoffman

Why and How to Wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel


Question: I have grown up wearing the traditional brown scapular, but recently noticed that they have come out with many types of scapular jewelry.  I am interested in wearing a scapular bracelet instead of the traditional wool scapular.  Does the bracelet contain the same benefits as the brown scapular?  Also, must the wool scapular be worn over the head or can it be pinned to your clothes?


The brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a wonderful devotion richly promoted by saints and popes since the middle ages.  John Paul II wore it every day since his First Communion.

There are many types of religious medals, necklaces, bracelets, and scapulars, but there’s only one brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel that enjoys such rich blessings.  In 1274, Our Lady presented the scapular to St. Simon Stock with the promise that those who die wearing it will escape the fires of hell.

On the day the brown scapular is imposed, that person can gain a Plenary Indulgence. If he wears it piously, which means saying the ‘little office of Our Lady’ daily (three Hail Mary’s), and observing the virtue of chastity according to his state in life, he can also gain plenary indulgences on various feasts day of Carmelite saints such as July 16 (Our Lady of Mount Carmel), October 1 (St. Therese of Lisieux), and October 15 (St. Theresa of Avila).  

Of course, the usual conditions for the plenary indulgence apply:  1) you must wear the scapular piously; 2) you must attend Mass and receive Holy Communion worthily that week; 3) you must go to confession that week: 4) you must pray for the Holy Father and his intentions; 5) and finally, you must be detached from any desire to sin.

When the brown woolen scapular is imposed upon you (investiture ceremony), it should hang over your shoulders, either outside or inside your clothing, but later it can be replaced with a metal scapular medal.  It is not intended to be worn as a bracelet or pinned to your clothes, but since it is a devotional sacramental, there is no prohibition against such practices so long as you try to treat holy things in a holy way.  It should not be worn or exhibited as jewelry, but should serve as a reminder that you are a child of God, and your Mother Mary in heaven will watch out for your spiritual and physical welfare.

Article courtesy of Catholic News Agency (CNA)