Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity What Is a Scapular? A Popular Sacramental Share Flipboard Email Print Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Christianity Catholicism Tips Beliefs and Teachings Prayers Worship Saints Holy Days and Holidays Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Latter Day Saints View More By Scott P. Richert Catholicism Expert M.A., Political Theory, Catholic University of America B.A., Political Theory, Michigan State University Scott P. Richert is senior content network manager of Our Sunday Visitor. He has written about Catholicism for outlets including Humanitas and Catholic Answers Magazine. our editorial process Scott P. Richert Updated January 30, 2019 In its original form, the scapular is a part of the monastic habit (the outfit that monks wear). It is composed of two large pieces of cloth, connected in the middle by narrower strips of cloth, much like an apron that covers both the front and the back of the wearer. The narrower strips provide an opening through which the monk places his head; the strips then sit on his shoulders, and the large pieces of cloth hang down in front and in back. The scapular gets its name from the Latin word scapulae, which means "shoulders." The Devotional Scapular Today, the term scapular is used most often to refer to a sacramental (a religious object) that has essentially the same form as the monastic scapular but is composed of much smaller pieces of wool cloth (usually only an inch or two square) and thinner connecting strips. Technically, these are known as "small scapulars," and they are worn by lay faithful as well as those in religious orders. Each small scapular represents a particular devotion and often has a certain indulgence or even a revealed "privilege" (or special power) attached to it. The Brown Scapular The most famous of the small scapulars is the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (the "Brown Scapular"), revealed by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself to St. Simon Stock on July 16, 1251. Those who wear it faithfully as an expression of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is said, will be granted the grace of final perseverance—that is, to remain firm in the faith even in the moment of their death. Pronunciation: ˈskapyələr Common Misspellings: scapula Examples: "Every year, on the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Father blesses Brown Scapulars and distributes them to the parishioners."