Brown Scapular



I was just enrolled in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular on Thursday.

I’ve been looking up the requirements associated with it. I know that they include to always wear it, and to observe chastity.

Everything I’ve read says the third is to pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I’m assuming it is OK to pray the Liturgy of the Hours instead, but nothing actually says that. I’d prefer to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. I just want to make sure that fulfills the third requirement.

Also, when it says to always wear it, I’m assuming that means always, except for when bathing, correct?


Cool!! One more person to add to the list of brown scapular wearers!! Satan REALLY hates you right now!! I think saying a rosary takes the place of the office of the BVM. Some people wear in while bathing,but I have heard that you are “covered” even if it is off for that little length of time. There is a group here that discusses the brown scapular. Just do a search in the groups section and you should find it. They have covered a lot of your questions.


Thanks a lot. :smiley:

Well, I’d rather not replace the requirement of the little office with the Rosary. I am starting to say the Divine Office daily anyway, and it would be slightly insane to try to say both offices, you know? So I want to make sure the Divine office can stand in for the Little Office.


Hi seeker - Welcome to the confraternity of the Brown Scapular! :slight_smile:

Is there a Carmelite priest or sister or brother you could ask about substituting the Divine Office for the Little Office? I’m not sure anyone else has enough expereince with that particular question to give a knowledgeable answer.

As for wearing your wonderful scapular, I’ve worn mine constantly since September 11, 2006 minus one day :frowning: when I forgot, except for:

(1) while showering or taking a bath
(2) during medical procedures, although I was told afterward that I could wear it by the technicians, so I should have asked beforehand
(3) occasionally while it’s in the wash - although this is laziness on my part since I have more than one scapular and could slip an old one on while the other is in the spin-cycle.
(4) during sex

I never hear all these instances mentioned, especially #2 and #4. It really makes me wonder - just curious - do the other scapular wearers really wear their scapular during their annual physical exams or chest X-rays? And do they wear them during sex? Just asking.


Actually, I don’t think you can pray the Liturgy of the Hours instead. However, you can pray the rosary instead with the permission of a priest. That’s what I do as I wear the brown scapular too. I’ve been enrolled in it for about 5-6 months now. :slight_smile:


That seems really odd to me. Isn’t the Little Office just a simpler version of the Liturgy of the Hours? It doesn’t make too much sense to me that they aren’t interchangeable. :frowning:


I always take mine off, for bathing. :rolleyes: I just ask my Guardian Angel to hover over me… until I get the Scapular back on! :smiley:


Hi again, Seeker - I’m no authority by any means, but I recall reading somewhere that the Little Office is a collection of the votive prayers to Our Lady taken from the Divine Office. So I believe you’re correct. However, when we pray the Little Office (I use the Rodelle version), we’re praying these votive prayers even on the days and times when they wouldn’t be ordinarily prayed. So if the Divine Office has a special reading for the Feast of the Ascension, for example, and the votive prayers for Our Lady would not be prayed as part of the D.O., they would be prayed as usual by those using the Little Office.

If anyone out there can elaborate on this, please do?


I’m not an authority either, just read a lot on the brown Scapular and prayed the Little Office. The Little Office is fully Marian in its collection. The Divine Office is not (although following/praising Our Lord certainly indirectly Marian in itself). In wearing the brown scapular a person is showing their devotion to Mary, as the Carmelites do, in trusting Mary to get us to Our Lord. That is why the obligations are fully Marian.


OK, so how would I ask a priest to give me permission to pray the Rosary instead of the Little Office? Would anyone be able to do that?


I am going to quote you something out of the book “The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel”, Catechesis and Ritual.

It was prepared under the direction of the North American Provincials of the Carmelite Orders, and it is the most recent statement about the Brown Scapular.

page 3, 4

“What is this Carmelite spirituality that one must practice in order to have an affiliation with the Carmelite Order?”

A few basic introductory principles of Carmelite spirituality would be:

  1. frequent participation in the Mass and reception of Holy Communion;
  2. frequent reading of and meditation on the Word of God in Sacred Scripture;
  3. the regular prayhing of at least part of the Liturgy of the Hours;
  4. imitation of and devotion to Mary, the woman of faith who hears the Word of God and puts it into practice;
  5. the practice of the virtues, notably charity, chastity (according to one’s state of life), and obedience to the will of God.

So, you can see that it is not necessary to pray the Little Office of Our Lady exclusively if you are praying the Liturgy of the Hours.

It is also expected that a wearer of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel would reflect upon the teachings of the great Carmelite saints, three of whom are doctors of the Church, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Therese of Lisieux.


Dorothy - Third Order Carmelite


Dorothy, thank you very much!

At the retreat I was at last week, we prayed the entire Divine Office every day, so I’m trying to make a habit of that myself in my own life, as it is very peaceful and makes me feel closer to God.

I will look up more about those saints. I do really feel a connection to St. Teresa of Avila, though, but don’t know much about the other two.


You’re welcome!

As you read about the Carmelite saints you will see that the charism of the order of Carmel is contemplative prayer.

There is a wealth of books and tapes available on the saints of Carmel, and prayer.

Blessings to you!



I have worn the scapular for 20yrs. I never knew there were conditions besides wearing it, chasity and reciting the little orffice of the Blessed Virgin. Exactly what prayer should be said for the little orffice? I found the readings for each day that are 4 pages long and to be said on mornings and envenings. I just cant figure it out? I want the shortest version but is this what I should do?


You can ask a priest to have the requirement for praying the Office to the saying of the Rosary. Many have done that.




There is a difference between wearing the scapular of the* third order* and wearing the smaller, more common brown scapular.

Third order carmelites wear a larger scapular the size of a bib and are actually part of the religious life of Carmel – they take vows and dedicate themselves to lives of contemplation and prayer.

Individuals who choose to wear the small common brown scapular are not associated with the fellowship of Carmel but do receive benefits from being linked to the order solely through their scapular. Individuals who wear this small scapular are invested but do not take vows of any kind – and so there are different kinds of requirements and expectations associated with the different scapulars.

If you are wearing a small brown scapular the size of your palm, are observing chastity according to your state in life and are reciting the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, you are doing exactly what you should be doing – no worries! You may recite additional prayers if you would like, including the Liturgy of the Hours, but are under NO obligation to do so.

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary began as a series of antiphons and readings that were recited in addition to the regular readings of the Liturgy of the Hours on special Marian feast days. Over time, the Little Office became a complete office in and of itself which was recited in addition to the LOH by religious orders with a special Marian charism. At the height of the middle ages, the Little Office became obligatory for ALL religious orders, though this obligation was removed by Pope Pius V after the Council of Trent. There are actually many versions of the Little Office, from tiny versions meant to be prayed alongside the LOH to large, seasonal versions which cover all the Psalms and are meant to entirely replace the Liturgy of the Hours, though the most common seems to be the medium-sized Office.

The Carmelite charism is one of dedicated prayer. All individuals associated with the life of Carmel are encouraged to take part in the Church’s liturgy, which includes the breviary in some form. However, since the LOH can be overwhelming, individuals who wear the smallest scapular are given the suggestion of the Little Office because it is shorter. Since there are individuals who cannot recite even the Little Office, there is the additional option of reciting the rosary. This is actually very traditional custom and not just one belonging to the little brown scapular.

The Church’s custom of praying the breviary is derived from the older Jewish practice of praying the Psalms 7 times a day. During the early medieval period, when many individuals were illiterate, people who could not read the Psalms were allowed to pray certain formal prayers a given number of times instead. In the West, this prayer was often the Hail Mary, and this practice developed into the rosary. In the East, this prayer was the Jesus prayer, and this practice produced the chokti.

SO, if you are already reciting the LOH there should be no reason to feel compelled to additionally recite the Little Office or the rosary, since you are already fulfilling the requirement of taking part in the prayer life of the Church in the fullest sense possible, though either addition would be admirable, indeed – specifically, praying a rosary in addition to your office would please Our Lady of Fatima very much, since she champions both the scapular and the rosary devotion.


:yup::yup: (any priest of the Church)


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