Can the brown scapular have various images on it or must it have certain ones?


Hi everyone. I have a couple of brown scapulars. I bought one at the local Catholic bookstore and the other I received in the mail. The one that I received in the mail does not have the traditional images on it. On one of the square cloths it has a picture of Mary and Jesus holding scapulars with the words “Mother of Carmel” beneath it while on the the other square cloth it has another picture of Mary and Jesus but this time it is them handing the scapulars too St. Simon Stock with the words “St. Simon Stock” beneath it. Is this a valid brown scapular or does it have to have some other image on it? :shrug::confused:


It is not necessary for the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel to have any image on it at all. It is a miniature “habit” of the Carmelite Order, and it is worn to show that one has consecrated themself to Mary, and takes prayer and their faith seriously.

It is not forbidden for the Brown Scapular to have images on it; as they remind us of Our Lady and the saints.




Ah ok. A couple more questions about the brown scapular:

*]Must the brown scapular be made out of wool or can it be made out of cotton or some other material? What if it isn’t made out of wool? Is it still a valid brown scapular? :shrug::confused:
*]My other brown scapular has black material for the square cloths that are on the strings. Is this acceptable? :shrug::confused:


To your first question I can honestly say that I don’t know a precise answer. If I can find out for sure I will post it here.

To your second question, I have never heard of a Brown Scapular being made of black cloth. Perhaps it is a Scapular that has another meaning or devotion than the Brown Scapular?


Holly… There are many different types of Scapulars… the Brown Scapular, being the most well known and widely used (I would venture to say).

There is a Black Scapular, which is associated with the Passionist Order (link below). The Brown Scapular I wear, is made of cloth… with cords. On one side… it says… “Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.” (Our Lady’s Scapular Promise); and on the reverse, there is a little sewn picture of Our Lady holding the Child Jesus… and St. Simon Stock, kneeling and receiving the first Scapular. And the words “Behold the sign of Salvation”. There is also attached to my scapular a small silver Crucifix and a small St. Benedict medal.

My mother wears a simpler Brown Scapular, which is encased in plastic. From what I understand, the poster above gave you the correct information. It’s not the picture that makes the Scapular. It is indeed, like a mini “habit”. Although I’ve heard that the Scapular medal is also acceptable… for me, I prefer the cloth scapular. Because it is a tiny version of the Carmelite habit.

We also have in our home, the Green Scapular. I have it draped on a photo of my sister… who returned to the Church in April. And we also have a large, house scapular. It hangs on the wall.

Here is the link for the Black Scapular. Is this, perhaps… what you have? God bless.


Nope, that’s not what I have. I have a brown scapular with brown on the front of the cloth squares but there is black cloth on the back.


Hmmm. Well, I guess that’s just the way that your Brown Scapular is designed. Now that I think about it… I do remember seeing some lovely hand-sewn Brown Scapulars (made by Carmelite nuns)… which had a bit of black in the design.

If I find that website… I’ll include it in this thread.


A brown scapular has two brown rectangular cloths, one front and one back.

A black has the same but black.

There are the four and five fold scapulars, which are basically the same as if you sewed several scapulars together, but only used one cord – which in their case is required to be red.

The standard for the brown scapular, from what I have been told – I have no authoritative references, but what I have been told is made of brown wool, and any image in addition to this.

It is for the Carmelites to determine the form of their scapular, and the small scapular for those who wish to be associated with them. To find out the current form, authoritatively, you’d have to go to the order itself, or Rome.

I’ve heard from others that the form is now relaxed for the brown scapular, and that wool is no longer required, it merely has to be brown fabric.

The straps for the brown scapular, I am rather certain can be any color, since the only scapular I know of that requires a certain color of straps is the red scapular of the Passion, which when used in the four or five fold scapular, forces the straps to be red.

You might try asking a traditional scapular provider like Rose Scapular for info.


Hi - I don’t pretend to be a scapular expert, but I am a fan . . . :smiley:

Personally, I only wear a wool brown scapular. It’s washable and it’s comfortable. Plastic sounds to me to be hot and sticky and also uncomfortable (edges, stiffness) to wear, especially at night. The same can be said against wearing square metal scapular-style necklaces. The scapular medal is probably as comforable to wear 24/7 as the wool scapular, though.

Wool comes from God’s sweet creatures and is also a renewable resource and probably better for the environment than plastic is. Wool scapulars are also pin-able with a safety pin to my underwear or to the inside of my blouse collar or facing. This is so our Blessed Mother’s scapular doesn’t rise up to my chin to glimpse the world. :wink:

But I think the biggest reason I wear only wool is I like to think of my scapular as a piece of Our Lady’s cloak or coat or shawl. It’s difficult to image her wearing a plastic-encased shawl or clothing made from silver. Just as I wear a sweater that belonged to my earthly mother, I wear a piece of Our Lady’s cloak all the time.

As for straps - Rose Scapular Company (the only source for my scapulars because of their high quality) offers brown straps and white straps. I think the white straps look too much like underwear (bra or camisole straps). I really don’t care to look like I didn’t dress appropriately this morning and left bra straps peeking out from the neckline of my blouse. Plus I don’t know how anyone could keep white straps from looking grimy even after many washings. I wear only brown straps.

Just my 2 cents’ worth.


The Rite of Enrolment jointly issued by the O.Carm’s and the O.C.D.'s states that any dark material will work. It also states that ideally there should be no adornments but it does not go so far as to state that there must be none.


Rite of Blessing of and Enrollment in the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel" as issued and confirmed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and for the Discipline of the Sacraments, November 29, 1996, Prot. 2243/96/L


Tina, I LOVE the way you phrased this! And I’m with you! I absolutely LOVE the wool Scapular… the CLOTH Scapular. And all the reasons you stated… are just beautiful!

Sadly, some people aren’t able to wear them, for various reasons. My mother wears the plastic encased Scapular, because she isn’t able to care properly for a cloth Scapular. It works well for her. Then there’s my sister… the “sweaty one” (:rotfl: she would KILL me for saying that)… she has tried and tried to wear the cloth Scapular… but to no avail. She tells me that they end up streaked with sweat and smelling bad. YECH.

So… I found a nice Brown Scapular (plastic encased) on a chain (instead of cords) and have ordered it for her. She’s going to give that one a try. I found it through EWTN.

But I really LOVE your thoughts on the Brown Scapular of Our sweet Mother! :thumbsup: I’ve always loved it… like a tiny little habit… but now, will think of your descriptions… and will love it all the more! :slight_smile:

God bless you for sharing.


Here is the Carmelite sisters website that sells the beautiful handmade Brown Scapulars:



Now that is one significantly large sized ceremonial scapular! Here I am always wanting larger sturdier scapulars well.. something to think about! :)

What a fine number of badges and other material they have too!

Thank you!

Let me add, to this old thread, whether the form may be relaxed or not -- wear the wool! :D The sheep wear their wool! :D


The Doctrinal Statement on the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
issued and confirmed by the Congregation for Diving Worship and for the Disciple of the Sacraments in 1996 says that the Scapular “consists of two brown or dark pieces of material joined together by two ribbons or pieces of string.” A website claims that the Scapular is no longer required to be made of wool as it once was. The traditional material is wool and many websites offer their Brown Scapulars suchwise.


I am curious about this issue too as I have recently started wearing a scapular. However, the one I am wearing is one I received from a Come and See with certain Carmelites of the Sacred Heart in LA. Now I know that their habit used to be wool but with Vatican II was allowed to be made of a lighter cloth material, and this would make sense if scapulars were no longer required to have wool. I was scared that mine wasn’t made of wool, but given this information, why would it be made of wool? I think I like it better that it isn’t because it means it is more like an actual habit being worn today, and it means a lot to me to imagine that I am closer to the Sisters by wearing it.:slight_smile:


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