by Thomas Ross –
The Brown Scapular is truly a powerful sacramental and wonderful “sign of our predestination.” It is a visible witness to others who see it, but more importantly, a physical reminder to us who wear it that we want and intend to do what is necessary to go to heaven.
At Fatima, during the great miracle of the sun on October 13th, Lucia saw a vision of Our Lady dressed in the brown habit of the Carmelite order and holding out a Brown Scapular in her hand. While the vision did not say anything to her, Lucia claimed that based on that apparition she believes Our Lady wants everyone to wear the Brown Scapular. She said, “The Rosary and the Brown Scapular are inseparable.”
Through the use of these two grace-filled “weapons”, we can turn back the tide of evil. It’s believed that when Our Lady first gave the scapular to St. Simon Stock in 1251, she promised to provide all the graces necessary to obtain eternal salvation to those who would embrace wearing it and keeping the promises associated with it: 1) praying the Little Office of Our Lady every day, or a five-decade Rosary; 2) frequenting confession, 3) receiving the Holy Eucharist in the state of grace as often as possible, and 4) remaining chaste according to your state in life.
On First Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue was scheduled for a short visit at St. Andrew Bobola parish in the small town of Dudley, Massachusetts, from 2 to 6 pm. I arrived very early, 11:30 am, surprising Fr. Christopher, who came out to meet me. In his heavy Polish accent and slightly broken English, we went over the details of the outdoor processions he had planned, one entering the church at the beginning of the event and the other at the end of the event back to the RV for our departure.
We looked at the table he set out for our materials, then the elaborately decorated table for the statue, complete with its own light. “Good!” I thought, “Our Lady’s image will be well illuminated, and one less detail for me to worry about providing.” When we discussed when and how the blessing and scapular enrollment would take place, Father casually mentioned that he has done exorcisms, so he knows the power of sacramentals. I prepared to invest 100 to 150 people in the scapular that afternoon.
During the Mass, when the ushers began with the collection baskets, Father announced to the congregation, “There will be a second collection for…”, then he hesitated as if he couldn’t remember the name of our organization. Looking at each other, we made eye contact across the church and directly in line, half-way between us was the statue. Then he finished his announcement saying, “…for Our Lady”. IMMEDIATELY, there came a loud sparking buzz sound and all the lights in the church went off. The people present, all together as if one voice, made a concerned gasp in fright, “Ohhh!” Seconds later, half the lights in the church came back on, but not the light for the statue or the ambo microphone, where I would give my talk after Mass.
Nevertheless, speaking in a loud voice, I told the people about the value of wearing a scapular and the incredible promise of Our Lady. “It’s not a get-into-heaven-free ticket, without obligation for us to do our part, but it’s a pretty sure bet Our Lady will keep her promise if we keep ours.”
The people in the cars passing by the final outdoor procession saw every single person walking out of church and along the road that day with a Brown Scapular around their neck blowing in the wind.
The World Apostolate of Fatima – Our Lady’s Blue Army – has been enrolling people in the Brown Scapular for 75 years. Sister Lucia said the Brown Scapular is a sign of our consecration to the Immaculate Heart and a spiritual aid for us to grow in holiness, according to the Fatima message. For more than 800 years, the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Rosary have emerged in the Church as the two most widespread, most indulgenced, most encouraged of all Marian devotions.
St. Dominic predicted to St. Simon Stock, “One day, with the Rosary and the Scapular, Our Lady will save the world.”
Thomas Ross travels as a custodian for the Pilgrim Virgin Statue program of the World Apostolate of Fatima, USA.