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The Most Holy Rosary and The Brown Scapular

"The Rosary and the scapular are inseparable!" -Sister Lucia of Fatima




"In the early part of the thirteenth century, St. Dominic, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Angelus the Carmelite accidentally met one day on a street corner in Rome (a chapel still stands at the spot to commemorate this event). St. Dominic then uttered a famous prophecy: 'To my Order, the Blessed Virgin will entrust a devotion to be known as the rosary and to your Order, Angelus, she will entrust a devotion to be known as the scapular. One day, through the rosary and the scapular, she will save the world.' 1


The Third Order of Penance of St. Dominic has devoutly used the Rosary and Scapular to continually spread the The Word of Jesus Christ and for our own personal growth. We as a community continually propagate all Marian Sacramentals, but especially the Rosary, Brown Scapular and Green Scapular. Through these means, Our Lady has provided many documented miracles and conversions throughout the world. Acts of faith with the accompaniment of these sacramentals have been an enormous reason for the growth of love we have for the Holy Trinity and our Holy Mother Church. As a Dominican Third Order, we can only attest to the  greatness of Our Lady and her special gifts to her children.


The Holy Rosary and the Order of Friars Preachers

To the Carmelites, she is Our Lady of Mount Carmel, cradling her Son in one arm and offering the Brown Scapular with the other. To the Franciscans, she is Our Lady of the Angels, whose serene face looks out from the twelfth-century mural in the Portiuncula. In Dominican (Order of Preachers)  religious art, Mary is depicted either as handling the Rosary to Saint Dominic or as Mary, Queen of Preachers, spreading her motherly mantle wide over all the saints of the Order of Preaching Friars. While it is impossible to say that any religious order loves Mary the most, each of the great religious orders honors Our Lady in a way fitting with its charism. The Dominicans are especially known for popularizing that quintessential Marian prayer, the Rosary.

The Dominican habit, too, like that of the Carmelites, incorporates a full-length scapular which symbolizes humility and service and is thus associated with Mary. The white Dominican scapular was added to the canons’ traditional white tunic and cape after Our Lady appeared to a mortally ill Blessed Reginald of Orleans and healed him by anointing. She asked that the scapular be worn by members of the Order from that time onward.

A number of traditional Dominican convent customs are rooted in the Order’s devotion to Mary. Since the earliest days of the Order, it has been the custom to bless the cells in the dormitory with holy water shortly before the friars or the sisters retire. This custom comes from a tradition that Our Lady, accompanied by Saint Cecilia and Saint Catherine of Alexandria, was seen blessing the friars’ dormitory cells with holy water. A few years later, Our Lady appeared to Blessed Jordan of Saxony to tell him that every night when the friars sang the Salve Regina at Compline, she prostrated herself before her Son at the words, “Eia, ergo advocata nostra” (meaning, “Therefore, O [Mary] our advocate”) and interceded for the Dominican Order.

The Rosary was born from medieval popular devotion to Mary, especially the repeating of the “Angelic salutation” from Luke 1:28 (“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!”) so as to bring back to Mary the joy she received in the angel’s first greeting. Other medieval practices allowed for meditation on the mysteries of the life of Christ. Dominicans in the 15th and 16th centuries, especially Alan de la Roche, are credited with the popularizing of the Rosary, to the extent that the New Catholic Encyclopedia entry on the Rosary also calls it the “Dominican Rosary.”

The first community prayer each day is our Morning Offering, which give all of works and prayers to the will of God through Mary, followed by  three mysteries of the Rosary and the  Angelus: “The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary, and she conceived of the Holy Spirit.” Our community custom weaves Marian devotions into our prayer life throughout the day. We pray a community Rosary together every evening and our night prayers begin with a series of prayers to Our Lady.

Regardless of the nature of one’s Marian devotion in the world, once one enters Dominican life, the Blessed Mother of God becomes a friend, mother, and patroness in an entirely new way. Dominicans have a tender love for the Blessed Mother, a pure and chivalrous and childlike love characteristic of the High Middle Ages that gave birth to our Order of Preachers.

"It may justly be said that the Rosary of Mary is, as it were, the foundation on which the very Order of Saint Dominic rests for making perfect the life of its members and obtaining the salvation of others."

Pope Pius XI, In Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 1934 

Rosary Sunday – In the Dominican Tradition

The image of Our Lady handing the Rosary to her white-robed son is a familiar one that reflects a devotion that is continued by the Dominican. The beginning of October brings a time-honored tradition we call Rosary Sunday. On the first Sunday in October in our Saint Joseph House of Prayer, the community members recite the mysteries of the Rosary continually throughout the day. Beginning immediately after Mass, the community  take their places for half an hour each before the altar of our Blessed Mother. There, until evening prayer, each community member offers his or her prayers for the needs of the Church and for the conversion of the world. 

Tradition has long connected Saint Dominic and his Order with the preaching of the Rosary. Dominic’s followers have been called the “Friars of Mary.” The fifteen-decade Rosary adorns our habit with the frequent reminder that we are united to the Son of God in the living presence of our Blessed Mother.

Pope St. Pius X said: "If you want peace in your heart, in your home, in your country, assemble together every night and say the ROSARY". Many complain that it is a tireless repetition-that they cannot meditate on the mysteries. Our Blessed Mother gave this advice to St. Dominic: "This is why, before doing anything else, priests should try to kindle a love of prayer in people's hearts and especially a love of my rosary. If only they would all start saying it and persevere, God, in His mercy, could hardly refuse to give them His grace. So I want you to preach my Rosary!"

The Brown Scapular

Sabbatine Privilege, Blessing and Investiture

 "Those who die wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire!"
                                                                    -Our Lady to St. Simon Stock

"Wear it devoutly and perseveringly; It is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I, in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal salvation."


The Brown Scapular is a Roman Catholic devotion to Mary under her title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is worn as a sign of love and devotion for the Mother of God. The Carmelite Order, to which the Scapular belongs, originated on Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land and the Scapular is itself a reflection in miniature of the habit (scapular: a sleeveless outer garment falling from the shoulders) which the monks wear as a sign of their vocation and devotion. Over the years the scapular, at least for lay people, became much smaller in size and made of small pieces of wool cloth suspended front and back.


The Scapular was presented by Our Lady to St. Simon Stock, the Father General  of the Carmelite Order, on July 16, 1251. St. Simon’s story is very interesting. He was an English hermit and lived in the hollow of a tree, hence he received the name "stock". In time he became a Carmelite priest and later the Father General of the order. He led the order during a time of struggle. The Carmelites originally were hermits on Mount Carmel, near Nazareth in the Holy Land. When they migrated to Europe, in this case England, some saw great wisdom in no longer being hermits and instead becoming friars who would work among the people. St. Simon guided them through this state of transition. In the year 1251 a most momentous vision took place. St. Simon Stock, newly transplanted to England, prayed earnestly to Our Lady for help. Then  to him appeared the Blessed Virgin with a multitude of angels, holding the Scapular of the order in her blessed hands ...


Our Lady gave St. Simon a scapular for the Carmelites with the following promise, saying : Receive, My beloved son, this habit of thy order: this shall be to thee and to all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire .... It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger, and a pledge of peace.

Another important aspect of wearing the Scapular is the Sabbatine Privilege. This concerns a promise made by Our Lady to Pope John XXII. In a papal letter he issued, he recounted a vision that he had. He stated that the Blessed Virgin had said to him in this vision, concerning those who wear the Brown Scapular: "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."

There are three requirements to make oneself eligible for this privilege: 1st, we must wear the Scapular; 2nd, observe Chastity according to our state of life and 3rd, recite the Little Office of Our Blessed Mother (The Rosary can be substituted for the office by obtaining permission from a priest.) Our Lady revealed to Venerable Dominic of Jesus and Mary: "Although many wear my Scapular, only a few fulfill conditions for the SABBATINE PRIVILEGE." We maintain the majority don't know them. It is an act of charity to make the SABBATINE PRIVILEGE known to all.


According to Church tradition, there are three conditions necessary to participate in this Privilege and share in the other spiritual benefits of the Scapular: wear the Brown Scapular, observe chastity according to your state in life, and pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary or Rosary. In addition to the Sabbatine Privilege, enrollment in the Brown Scapular also makes a person part of the Carmelite family throughout the world. They therefore share in all of the prayers and good works of the Carmelite Orders. Participation in the Carmelite family also, of course, places you in a special relationship with the Carmelite saints, especially St. Elijah, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, and, most importantly, Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

In order to receive the spiritual blessings associated with the Scapular, it is necessary to be formally enrolled in the Brown Scapular by a valid priest. Once enrolled, the enrollment is for life and need not be repeated. Any baptized , adult or infant, who has not previously been enrolled may be enrolled in the Brown Scapular.


Many popes and saints have strongly recommended wearing, the Brown Scapular to the Catholic Faithful, including St. Robert Bellarmine, Pope John XXII, Pope Pius Xl, and Pope Benedict XV. For example, St. Alphonsus said: "Just as men take pride in having others wear their livery, so the Most Holy Mary is pleased when Her servants wear Her Scapular as a mark that they have dedicated themselves to Her service, and are members of the Family of the Mother of God."

Pope Pius XII went so far as to say: "The Scapular is a practice of piety which by its very simplicity is suited to everyone, and has spread widely among the faithful of Christ to their spiritual profit."

The two great founders of their own respective Orders, St. Alphonsus of the Redemptorists and St. Don Bosco of the Salesians-both had a very special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel and both wore Her Brown Scapular. When they died, they were buried in their priestly vestments and Scapulars. Many years later, their graves were opened, the bodies and sacred vestments in which they were buried decayed-dust! BUT THE BROWN SCAPULAR WHICH EACH WAS WEARING WAS PERFECTLY INTACT. The Scapular of St. Alphonsus is on exhibit in his monastery in Rome.

Bl. Claude de la Colombiere, the renowned Jesuit and spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary, gives a point which is enlightening. He said: "Because all the forms of our love for the Blessed Virgin, all its various modes of expression cannot be equally pleasing to Her, and therefore do not assist us in the same degree to Heaven. I say without a moments hesitation that the BROWN SCAPULAR IS THE MOST FAVORED OF ALL!" He also adds: "No devotion has been confirmed by more numerous authentic miracles than the Brown Scapular."




O Mary, Queen and Mother of Carmel, I come today to consecrate myself to you, for my whole life is but a small return for the many graces and blessings that have come from God to me through your hands. Since you look with special kindness on those who wear your Scapular, I implore you to strengthen my weakness with your power, to enlighten the darkness of my mind with your wisdom, and to increase in me Faith, Hope and Charity that I may repay each day my debt of humble homage to you.

May your Scapular bring me your special protection in my daily struggle to be faithful to your Divine Son and to you. May it separate me from all that is sinful in life and remind me constantly of my duty to imitate your virtues. From now on, I shall strive to live in God's Presence, and offer all to Jesus through you. Dearest Mother, support me by your never-failing love and lead me to paradise through the merits of Christ and your own intercession. Amen.

Note: "The Scapular must be worn on the shoulders in such a manner that one part hangs in front of the body and the other in back, with wool touching skin. Worn in any other way it carries no indulgence or promise . Some falsely believe that wearing the Brown Scapular offers some sort of guarantee of salvation because of the legendary words attributed to Our Lady. This is against Church teaching, is superstitious and a grave error. Sacramentals are not magical ways to manipulate God; they are Church-instituted rituals/objects that remind us of what we are supposed to be doing/thinking of, that depend on the faith, hope and love of the user, and which help prepare us to receive God's saving grace. You will not die with the Brown Scapular on you if you do not fulfill the requirements of the Brown Scapular.

If you wear the scapular with true devotion, Our Lady will obtain the necessary graces for your salvation.


More on the Brown Scapular...Click Here



The Green Scapular


the Sacred and Immaculate hearts

"I shall bless all hearts on earth who spread devotion to my Green Scapular. It is my Immaculate Heart."

Sister Justine Bisqueburu was our Lady's choice for the Green Scapular, as Sister Catherine was her choice for the Medal of the Immaculate Conception. They were contemporaneous Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

In contrast to Sister Laboure's oblivious retirement, Sister Bisqueburu was to head military hospitals in Paris and Algiers, she was to be seen spending three days and three nights on the battlefield of Mentana, would organize ambulance corps in Rome, and accompany Pius IX on walks in his private garden.

Almost nothing is known of her life prior to her entry into the Sisters of Charity. Two coincidences stand out in the foreground of her career: on her journey from Pau to Paris to embrace the religious life, she was accompanied by Father Aladel, her future spiritual director, who had also been the director of Sister Catherine Laboure. She entered the seminary there on November 27,1839, on the ninth anniversary of our Lady's Miraculous Medal apparition to St. Catherine.

Sister Justine was making her entrance retreat when she was favored with her first vision of our Blessed Lady before the Blessed Virgin's statue in the retreat hall on January 28, 1840. This sister was at prayer when our Lady appeared dressed in white, her feet bare and showing just below the hem of the white gown over which there was a mantle of blue. Unlike most of her other apparitions, she wore no veil, but instead her hair hung loose about her shoulders. She was holding her heart in her hand, from the top of which leapt flames of fire. The sister was awe-struck by her heavenly beauty and majesty. Four or five times during the year, on principal feasts of the Blessed Virgin, the vision reappeared. During meditation on September 8, 1840, feast of the Nativity of Mary, Our Lady held her heart in one hand and a green scapular in the other. It was not the conventional type of scapular, but only one rectangular piece of green cloth, fastened to a green string to be placed about the neck. On one side of this was a picture of our Lady as she had appeared previously. On the other, in the words of Sister Justine, there was 'a heart all ablaze with rays more dazzling than the sun, and as transparent as crystal." The heart, emitting flames and pierced with a sword was surrounded with a circular inscription, over which was a gold cross. The inscription was an ejaculatory prayer: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.'

The green scapular, or "Badge of the Immaculate Heart of Mary," as it is variously called, was to be an instrument for the Daughters of Charity to be used in the conversion of sinners and infidels, especially in the matter of obtaining for them the grace of a happy death, Sister Justine was told. The interior voice also made known to her that they were to be made and distributed as soon as possible. The report of the apparition and the requests of our Lady were reported to Sister Justine's superior with the utmost of caution and deference.

The same vision reoccurred on August 15, 1840, and September 13,1841. A message was sent to Father Aladel. He apparently thought nothing of it and dismissed the whole matter. Nothing was done about the making and distribution of the scapular. In a vision of May 3,1842, after her Holy Communion thanksgiving, the Blessed Virgin complained of this to Sister Bisqueburu. Our Lady said she was displeased because of the delay. This message was conveyed to Father Aladel and he seemed to rush matters. At last the scapular was made, but not in large quantities, and its use seemed to be experimental and without enthusiasm. In successive apparitions during 1846, Our Lady objected many times of the protracted delays and lack of confidence with which the scapular was used. In desperation, Sister Justine wrote her superior: "It is absolutely necessary that Father Aladel attend to the Scapular, that he should disseminate it and do so with confidence. Heretofore, I am sure, he did not attach great importance to it. He was very wrong. True, I do not deserve to be believed, for I am only a poor girl in every respect. May I entreat him to do this, not for my sake, but I ask him in the name of Mary to do it for these poor souls who die without knowing the true religion; yes, if it be given with confidence, there will be a great number of conversions. ...Answer me, I beg of you, as soon as possible; we cannot lose any time."

The Green Scapular was to be different from every other scapular in one respect. It was not a habit or insignia of any confraternity, and therefore no formula or imposition was necessary. It had merely to be blessed by a priest and worn like a medal, and the wearer was obliged to say once a day the prayer inscribed on it: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.' In the case of sinners or infidels, the scapular could be placed in a bed or room, or sewn or slipped unknown to the person into his clothing, and the benefactor could say the prayer in his stead. Different kinds of rays fell from the Blessed Virgin's hands in the vision, signifying that the graces obtained from its use would be greater or less in proportion to the degree of confidence on the part of the devotee. Subsequent approval was climaxed by the favorable reception of the scapular by Pope Pius XI, who placed the scapular on his desk with the Miraculous Medal.

The Green Scapular was the occasion of all manner of graces, of favors and cures; it is not to our purpose to cite them here. What is important to our thesis is that the Immaculate Heart of Mary was attested to by our Lady herself in anticipation to the coming of her age. Here again she was presaging the great climax in the Message of Fatima where she said: "Jesus wishes His Sacred Heart honored in union with my Immaculate Heart." Again on July 13 after the children of Fatima had seen the vision of hell: "You have just seen hell where the souls of sinners will suffer forever. To save souls from hell, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart."

The Immaculate Conception was heralded with Catherine Laboure and her Medal; it appeared with the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the back of the medal. The Immaculate Heart of Mary was proclaimed again with the Green Scapular; likewise the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary were correlated on the back of the scapular. The reverse of the medal consisted of a large "M" surmounted by a cross upright on a bar supported by the letter. Beneath the letter was the Sacred Heart on the left, crowned with thorns and across rising out of flames issuing from the top; the Immaculate Heart of Mary as on the Green Scapular was to the right, pierced with a sword, and the same flames rising forth. All was encircled by a diadem of twelve stars. St. John speaks in the Apocalypse of the "Woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.' She had come!

The particular power of this scapular is to help in the conversion of sinners, and in obtaining for them the grace of a happy death.

To complete the correlation there was the red scapular, given during the same period to another Sister of Charity. On July 29, 1846, another Daughter of Charity, Sister Appoline Andriveau, was favored by an apparition of our Lord, Who revealed to her a new scapular of a red color, on which, next to His Heart, was also that of His Mother, and which for this reason received the name of Scapular of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

Our Lady was building the edifice of devotion to her Immaculate Heart to save souls from hell with many means, long before her greatest plea at Fatima in 1917. The Marian Age was speedily under way; the opening strokes were completed; the essential cores were wound and energized.

-from Recent Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by Stephen Breen.


1. Wear or carry the scapular
2. To help another, place it in their vicinity (i.e. their room)
3. Pray, at least daily: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death"
4. The prayer should be said for oneself and separately for each person to whom it has been given (unless they pray themselves)
5. No enrollment of any kind is necessary, but each scapular should be blessed by a priest (general blessing of sacramentals)
6. Have confidence in the effects of the scapular:

"The greatest graces come from using the scapular but these graces come in direct proportion to the degree of confidence in me which the user has."

The Green Scapular was twice approved by Pope Pius IX, in 1863, and again in 1870 when he said: “Write to these good Sisters that I authorize them to make and distribute it.”

1. Conversion of those who do not have the faith
2. Reconciliation to the Church for those who have lost/strayed from the faith
3. Assurance of a happy death
4. Strengthening of the faith for those already in the Church
5. Protection from Satan for those who wear or promote the scapular




1 Francis Johnston, (Rockford,_Illinois, Tan Publishers Inc., 1980) p. 111