Read: "Why you should wear the brown scapular" by Bianca Murray, Lay Carmelite

Today is the Feast of Saint Simon Stock (1165-1265): Simon was an English hermit who became a member of the Carmelite order. On July 16, 1251 he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary during which Our Lady promised salvation to all those who wore the brown scapular which she showed him.

The brown scapular consists of two small pieces of brown wool on a cord, and is worn under clothing to signify devotion to Mary and the spirituality of the Carmelite Order. The Diocese of Lansing’s Administrative Assistant, Bianca Murray, is a third order or lay Carmelite. She now explains the significance of wearing the brown scapular. Bianca says:

The Holy Mother’s visit came during a trying time for Carmelites who were suffering oppression and facing dissolution by the Church. In her appearance to Saint Simon on July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, she relayed to him the significance of the brown scapular.

Mary said: "Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of thy Order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for thee and for thy children of Mount Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection." 

Although the brown scapular is often associated with the Carmelite Order, any Catholic can be vested with the brown scapular by a priest and enrolled in the confraternity. It is important to note that if one does commit to this devotional observance there are not only great promises associated, but also conditions required in wearing the scapular. Find below such promises and conditions conferred on devotees to the brown scapular. 

It is also significant to share that in 1903 Pope Benedict XV granted 500 days indulgence for any person who devoutly kisses the scapular. So many beautiful graces granted to those who exercise this holy devotion! Saint Simon Stock, pray for us!

Promises of the brown scapular:

* As a sacramental, the brown scapular confers extra grace and disposes us to cooperate with it. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1670)

* The Blessed Virgin Mary promises special protection in life and death. Final perseverance “at the hour of death”

* Assistance after death and an early release from Purgatory.

Conditions of brown scapular:

* Wear the brown scapular continuously.

- Live a life of charity.

- Observe chastity according to your state in life.

- One of the following:

* Recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary or the Divine Office

* Abstain from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays (an exception is made for Christmas) in addition to the fast days prescribed by the Church.

* With the permission of a priest, say five decades of the Most Holy Rosary.

* With the permission of a priest, substitute some other good work.