Did or did not Mary actually give the Brown Scapular to St. Simon of Stock?

Regarding the Brown Scpaular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. I wear it and am confused as to what is true, according to the Catholic Church, since it is the result of private revelation:

A.) Mary DID appear to St. Simon of Stock and gave him the scapular BUT Catholics are not obligated to accept this in the way they are required to accepted elements of the deposit of faith (Trinity, Sacramets, etc)

B.) Mary MAY OR MAY HAVE NOT appeared to St. Simon of Stock and gave him the scapular.

Um - both?

We have no way to know for sure whether or not Our Lady gave Simon a scapular. The story first appears many years after the event. But even if St. Simon himself had left a written record of such the vision, it would not be binding upon Catholics because it would be private revelation.

It’s interesting that the Carmelites do not mention the Simon Stock legend in their information.

Short overview:
(click on the knots to read each section)

Long Article

We simply do not know for sure. One reason is there are few surviving Carmelite documents from that time…

In any case Mary is still Our Lady … and I am sure she looks with love and Motherly care upon those who turn to her…thru this and other ways

(and of course she loves all …and points all to Jesus Christ her son…desiring them to follow him faithfully and assisting with her prayers etc)

A story by Fr. Scott SOLT padrescottsolt.blogspot.com/2009/02/scapular-i-really-recommend-wearing-it.html

A friend of mine who I was ordained with in SOLT had a friend in college that this happened to. He was at a party with his friends and they pulled out a OIJA board and began conjuring up what they believed (VERY WRONGLY) was the spirit of a dead person. It scared him to death. The hairs on his arms literally stood straight up and he fealt a truly evil presence in the room… So, he ran out to his car and got his scapular (he was a wayward Catholic at the time) which he chose not to wear but merely kept on his rear view mirror. He put the scapular on underneath all of his clothing (so no one would notice and think him a freak) and went back into the house. When he opened the door, everyone stopped and glared at him… they went back to the OIJA board and asked “Why won’t you come back, why did you stop”… and the board spelled out slowly and clearly: “I SMELL GOD.”

After studying Deuteronomy I resumed the wearing of my scapular and also the recitation of associated prayers. What caught my eye in Deut in particular was the Great Commandment from the mouth of Moses to Israel on the verge of crossing over the Jordan into the promised land. An extremely pivotal moment in salvation history to be sure. You know the Great Commandment “…you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Following this Moses says to take these words to heart, teach them to your children, speak them at home and abroad. Next he says “Bind them (the words of the Great Commandment) at your wrist as a sign and let them be a pendant on your forehead.” This struck me as an incredibly ancient biblical precedent for sacramentals. Jews actually wore ‘phylacteries’ on their heads and wrists. They have been found at the cave excavations at Qumran.

It isn’t that I doubted the integrity of sacramentals as such before reading Duet. I perhaps just got lazy in my devotion. That Moses recommended an object to be worn as a means of keeping God’s word ever before oneself was particularly salient for me because it corresponded - in a very direct manner, imho - with the scapular devotion.

How does this tie in with the OP? Not sure, except to maybe say that in general the practice promoting personal items of apparel to be worn with the specific intention of reminding one to pray and stay close to God - and then away from evil - reaches a long long way back.


Thank you PeterK for your post! The Scapular truly is a special clothing that our Lady wraps us in!

Here is a site where one can read the answer to this question. " Please see this site, which is the most recent document given by both Carmelite Provincials, Calced and Discalced.


If you just want to read the answer to this question: "Did our Blessed Mother appear to St. Simon Stock and give him the Brown Scapular? (You can scroll down to half-way and you will see that question and answer.)

This document was written and presented in the year 2000, and explains the depth of meaning in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel without superstitious sounding words that can mislead.

I have worn the Scapular for many years, and Our Blessed Mother has led me to her Lay Carmelite Third Order. I cannot imagine my life without being with this Community of Lay People that meets once a month and studies the Carmelite saints, and the spirit of the Carmelite order. (contemplative prayer).

A friend brought me to the a meeting of her Lay Carmelite Community, and being there changed my life forever. I stayed for instructions, was received and professed in the order, and have been with it ever since 1975. It is a tremendous blessing to me! Thank you Blessed Mother for leading me to your Order!

In Carmel,

Dorothy, T.O.C. (Third Order Carmelite)

It is true that it is a matter of faith, but I’m a believer.
As a O’Carm member I believe that the scapular is one way that Mary has given us to protect us and show us and others that she is our mother.

Yes! She certainly is a protector! (I am O.Carm. also).

‘According to the Catholic Church’ is a bit too broad and quite misleading, since the Church has never really declared it an infallible dogma that Mary appeared to St. Simon Stock and gave him the Carmelite Scapular. I think a more correct phraseology is: ‘according to popular Catholic piety.’

A.) Mary DID appear to St. Simon of Stock and gave him the scapular BUT Catholics are not obligated to accept this in the way they are required to accepted elements of the deposit of faith (Trinity, Sacramets, etc)

B.) Mary MAY OR MAY HAVE NOT appeared to St. Simon of Stock and gave him the scapular.

As mentioned, the first mention of this vision appears around the late 1300s, almost 150 years after the date in 1251 when it is sometimes stated to have occurred, and is not noted in the earliest accounts of St. Simon Stock’s life and miracles - and because there are most likely only bits and pieces about St. Simon’s life that have any historical certainty, this is saying a lot.

The history of the Carmelite habit and legislation and discussion relating to it within the Order during that time span, do not mention nor seem to imply a tradition about the Blessed Virgin giving the Scapular to the Carmelites, nor do the notable Carmelite writers of the 14th century, such as John Baconthorpe, mention the scapular. There was even an instance in 1375 when an English Carmelite named Nicholas Hornby engaged in a public debate with a Dominican friar in which Hornby ridiculed claims that the Dominicans have received their habit from the Blessed Virgin - apparently, religious orders claiming that their particular habits were given by Our Lady was not too unusual during the medieval period. Even so, Hornby showed no sign of being aware of any similar claim that had been made by a fellow English Carmelite in the preceding century. Amidst confusing evidence, some who wish to retain the story of a Marian apparition have suggested that it could be possible that a certain Carmelite have received the vision; St. Simon’s name was simply tacked onto this story later on.

Even if the story proves to be true or not, I agree with another poster that it does not change Mary’s status as our Mother who will not refuse those who turn to her, leading them to her Son. :slight_smile:

Would a scapular tattoo carry the same graces as a brown wool one?

That is something you should definately talk over with your spiritual director or your pastor. I have always been told that a tatoo is a sin because it defiles the temple of the Holy Spirit - your body.
I may be misinformed. I hope I am because I have lots of relatives who have been tatooed and it would be nice to know that it isn’t a sin.
I do know that we have been given a dispensation to wear a scapular medal instead of the wool one. I actually have them all over the place, around my neck, on my rosaries, attached to my Breviary and where ever else I can put one.

I also buy (15 cents each) and give out green scapulars by the hundreds. stores.jmjrelbooks.com/Categories.bok?category=Scapulars


As far as a tatoo being a sin…I don’t believe there is a definitive answer to that. I would be uncomfortable going around telling people their tatoos are sins, because we don’t know what they were thinking when they got the tatoo.

That would depend on what the tatoo is, was it necessary to spend that money for one (there is jewelry if one needs to adorn their body), etc. etc.

In speaking for myself alone…I would not get one, don’t feel the need to, and won’t spend the money for one anyway. :slight_smile:

That is why I said they should speak with a priest.

The Carmelites were a hermit Order and St Simon Stock changed them to Mendicant Friars. When the Order was beng oppressed in England in July 16, 1251 the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to Simon holding the Brown Scapular in one hand. Her words to him
were " Receive, my beloved son, this Scapular of thy Order, it is the special sign of My favour, which I have obtained for thee and for thy children of Mount Carmel. He who dies, clothed with this habit shall be preserved from eternal fire. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection". There are special rules governing the wearing of the Scapular, although it may be worn by any Catholic, even an infant, the investure must be done by a priest. There are 18 different kinds of Scapulars but the best know is the woolen brown Scapular, or the Scapular of Mount Carmel, that the Virgin Mary bestowed on Simon Stock. His feast day is May 16.

Hi “eecyaj”

I want to share this website (again) with you and others interested. It is the latest catechesis on the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel written and agreed upon by both branches of the Carmelite Order (O. Carm, and O.C.D.) in North America.

In it you will read the latest and best way to explain the Brown Scapular and what it should mean to us. It is much needed today, and can do away with much misunderstanding.



The writer of the question and answer portion of the catechesis has obvious biases against visions to begin with. His conclusions are but speculation and personal opinion. Nobody can say for sure that the vision did not occur.

That is true.

The order originated as a random collection of Latin Catholic pilgrims who settled in among Orthodox hermits on the sides of the mountain Carmel. Undoubtedly the associations were mutually beneficial and there was some influence shared in both directions, early Carmelite spirituality seems to have very briefly shared roots in Eastern Christendom. The original rule granted by the local bishop (Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, circa 1210AD) specifies that they have property (in the manner of the western monastic orders) and does not restrict them to the mountain.

*]Chapter 9: The prior’s cell should stand near the entrance to your property, so that he may be the first to meet those who approach, and whatever has to be done in consequence may all be carried out as he may decide and order.
*]Chapter 6: … each one of you is to have a separate cell, situated as the lie of the land you propose to occupy may dictate, and allotted by disposition of the prior with the agreement of the other brothers, or the more mature among them.
*]Chapter 20: You must give yourselves to work of some kind, …

However, they were only approved for the province of the Latin patriarch, and had no permission to establish themselves outside of the kingdom of Jerusalem.

Even before the fall of Acre 1291AD] the order was basically a bunch of refugees from the Holy land, without a sure way to follow their original charism (which was living in a ‘skete’ type of hermitage arrangement). The closest group I can think of today to that kind of life may be the Camaldolese. But that kind of arrangement in Europe by that time actually required a lot of money or lands, or being able to secure rich patrons.

Being landless and broke (having fled the Latin Patriarchate before the Saracens), in a society like western Europe at the time they had no place to stay and were essentially considered vagrants and squatters. Even the Didache (which was lost in those centuries) gives a hint of the early church’s attitude to this kind of wandering rootless preacher, they were often considered a threat and a pest by established communities. Some of them refused to join the established monastic houses (or perhaps were not welcomed) and they might have altogether disappeared without formally adopting a new rule. The pressure to have them suppressed and forbid them to accept new members must have been great.

It appears that the new rule for Carmelites, approved by the bishop of Rome, seems to have been granted the same year, or nearly so, as when saint Simon Stock was elected to the head of the order 1247AD]. Obviously he was well known and important in the history of the order.

However, the legend that saint Simon was given the brown scapular did not appear in any of the contemporary accounts, as has already been noted here on the thread. He was not attributed the honor of a vision and revelation of the BVM with any certain conviction for more than 180 years (or 7 to 9 generations).

Door B (with qualifications).

The Catholic Church does not require anybody to accept any private revelation or devotional. This includes even the Rosary. But the Brown Scapular is probably the #2 devotional behind the Rosary, and is widely accepted and respected.

HOWEVER, the promise which almost certainly appears on the obverse of your scapular is surely not legitimate.

Tradition holds that the words of the “promise” on each Scapular were dictated by St. Simon Stock to his secretary, Peter Swanyngton, in 1251. However, although the Scapular itself is well documented, there is no historical record of this “promise” before 1642 - nearly 400 years later!

In all likelyhood, the “promise” was added much later as a pious expectation of the wearer’s disposition and fate if the wearer lives in accordance with the principles of the Carmelite Order. But the “promise” almost surely did NOT originate with Our Lady or St. Simon Stock. As such, it has no place on the obverse of the Scapular. The obverse should be empty.

IMHO, this “promise” has given rise to much superstition. I wish it would be removed from the Brown Scapular - it has no place there.

Scapular Ritual for Priests

Blessing and clothing with the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt Carmel enrolls the individual in the Scapular Confraternity, a very large prayer organisation. Scapular wearers share in the daily prayers of the Carmelite Order and the worldwide good works of the members of the Scapular Confraternity.


(+) makes sign of the cross in blessing

Priest : Show, O Lord, Your mercy
All : And grant us your salvation
Priest : O Lord, hear my prayer
All : And let my cry come unto You
Priest : The Lord be with you
All : And with your spirit

Priest : Let us pray

All : O Lord Jesus Christ, Saviour of mankind, by your right hand sanctify (+) this Scapular which your servant, (Name), will devoutly wear for the love of You and of Your Mother, the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel; so that by her intercession, he may be protected from the wickedness of the enemy and may persevere in Your grace until death, Who lives and reigns forever and ever.

The priest now sprinkles the Scapular with Holy Water, after which he places it on the person, saying:

Priest : Receive this blessed Scapular and ask the Most Holy Virgin that, by her merits, it may be worn with no stain of sin and may protect you from all harm and bring you into everlasting life.
All : Amen

Priest : By the power granted to me, I admit you to a share in all the spiritual works performed, with the merciful help of Jesus Christ, by the Religious of Mount Carmel, in the Name (+) of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
All : Amen

Priest : May Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and earth, bless (+) (Name), whom He has been pleased to receive into the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. We beg her to crush the head of the ancient serpent in the hour of his death, and, in the end, to obtain for him a palm and the crown of Your everlasting inheritance.
Through Christ Our Lord
All : Amen

The priest now sprinkles the one enrolled with Holy Water.

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