Scapular, or Scapulary

Scapular, Or Scapulary

(Lat. scapula, the shoulder blade), originally a small garment without sleeves, a part of the habit of several religious orders in the Church of Rome. The several fraternities are distinguished by the color, shape, and material of these holy badges. It was first introduced by St. Benedict in lieu of a heavy cowl for the shoulders. Beirut informs us that "the badge which is called the holy scapulary is made of two small pieces of woolen stuff, about the extent of a hand, hanging by two little laces down from the neck upon both the breast and back of the devout person who wears it." The scapular usually has on it a picture of the Virgin Mary or the initials "I.H.S." on one piece, and "J.M.J." (for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph) or two hearts on the other. It appears to have been invented by an English Carmelite friar named Simon Stock, in 1251. According to the Romish legend, he received the original scapular from the Virgin as a distinguishing badge of the Carmelite order. It is much worn by strict Romanists, in the belief that the devil dreads this terrible weapon. It is supposed to effectually preserve against death by drowning or by fire, and, indeed, against all that might injure either the soul or the body. Besides this "Scapular of Mount Carmel," there are three others, likewise made of two pieces of woolen cloth. The four scapulars may all be worn at once. In this case, each of the two parts is composed of four pieces, which are sewed together like the leaves of a book; and the two parts are joined together by two tape strings about eighteen inches long. Of these four leaves or pieces in each part, the "Scapular of Mount Carmel" is brown and about four inches square; the "Scapular of our Lady of the Seven Dolors" is black and somewhat smaller, the "Scapular of the Immaculate Conception" is blue and still smaller; the "Scapular of the Most Holy Trinity" is white and the smallest, with a cross of red and blue wool in the middle of it (Barnum, Romanism as it Is, p. 538). Many graces and indulgences are attached to the wearing of the scapularies by many papal bulls; one of these, the bull Sabbatina, secures to the wearer, by direct promise from the Virgin to pope John XXI, deliverance from purgatorial fire on the first Saturday after death.

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