What the Heck is a Scapular?

OK, I’m seriously confused. This thing appears to be a couple pieces of cloth on an 18" thread/rope thing. (I’m not trying to be disrespectful, just trying to be clear.) How is it worn? Around the neck? Hmm . . . 18", not my neck. Over the shoulder? Outside the clothes, under the shirt/top? What keeps it from falling off? When people say they never take it off, do they really mean they wear it in the shower, mow the lawn in it, etc.?

Do you know how much stuff a wannabe Catholic has to figure out?!? :shrug:

Scapulars are a devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Their full length versions, reaching the feet, are worn only by those in the Religious Order of Carmel. (The Carmelites.) Many persons desired to have a devotion to our Lady of Mount Carmel, so there was a layperson’s version made (much smaller than the original) so that other’s could share in this devotion. It is a symbol of being protected by Mary’s Mantle, and thus, a protection from evil and satan.

Most scapulars are worn around the neck. One of the squares with the holy picture (Mary or Jesus usually) is placed in the front, the other on the back. Some are still quite long and bulky. However, shorter and smaller models have been made for today’s active people. Also, there are scapular medals. They have the same pictures on a medal, and are worn just like a neclace! It’s your choice! :thumbsup:

Here’s a link to find out more! :slight_smile:


Yes, it’s worn around the neck - as has been stated, usually one of the squares to the front and the other to the back, usually under the shirt.

What keeps it falling off is gravity and the fact that your head and shoulders are bigger than your neck, same as with any neckace :slight_smile:

I don’t think anyone would wear it showering or swimming, some probably mow the lawn in it, others don’t - it’s a personal thing really.

If you want to get one, support Sister of Mt. Carmel: :slight_smile:


I just ordered mine from the site. :slight_smile:

This part goes in the front, over your heart.

This part goes the same distance down your back.

The strings go over your shoulders, kind of like the straps of an undershirt.

Outside the clothes, under the shirt/top?

I wear mine next to my skin, under my clothes.

What keeps it from falling off?

My clothes normally hold it in place.

When people say they never take it off, do they really mean they wear it in the shower, mow the lawn in it, etc.?

I wear mine all the time, except for when I’m in the shower.

Do you know how much stuff a wannabe Catholic has to figure out?!? :shrug:

Yep! :wink: Don’t worry - you’ll make it! :thumbsup:

You wanna know how much stuff this cradle Catholic of 30 plus years STILL has to figure out?

The joys of Catholicism - always something new to learn!


If one wears the Scapular for the proper reasons, then why would they take it on and off to suit their mood? One of the precepts given by Mary for it is that it be constantly worn. Note, that wearing the Scapular is NOT necessary for salvation. It is NOT a magical charm. It is NOT a piece of jewelry to be worn to be seen in a fashion sense.

Why would one wear one? It is a sign of devotion to Mary, among other things. I also view it as a symbol of the sweet yoke of Jesus.

Wearing the Scapular also has a penitential side to it (as do most devotions). It the heat of the summer, when your working up a good sweat, it itches and is uncomfortable. It can move from side to side or creep up one side or the other, which is annoying and needs to be readjusted if it becomes too misaligned.

Anyway, that is my :twocents: . It is probably incomplete or not properly formulated, but it is late - so please forgive my errancy and incompleteness if need be.

To suit their mood? How about basic health and hygiene and to avoid the thing rotting and disintegrating! Of course if I wore one I’d take it off to shower! If it itched just a little I wouldn’t, but if I had a serious reaction, as some do to wool, then I’d swap it for the medal.


That is not what I mean by to suit their mood. There are those who would put it on because they feel like being a little extra holy today, or take it off because they want to wear their shirt open and are embarrassed to be seen with a scapular showing. Taking care of health and the inevitable decay of matter (of course I’ve never seen one decay before my eyes :stuck_out_tongue: ) doesn’t constitute suiting one’s mood.

I hope I clarified myself. Please let me know if this makes sense.

Of course it does :wink: but I’m sure if you wore one swimming and showering and doing sports or manual labour in the height of summer you’d probably see it soon enough.


Yeah, probably. But, from my own experience, this doesn’t happen too much. I’m on my second scapular. The first lasted for years and years and years through many summers of hard work. The reason it needed to be replaced was not because it disintegrated, but because the string broke. It could have been repaired and used again, but I opted to use a new one.

I really think it has to do with the quality of the scapular as to how susceptible it is to the ravages of nature. Those of low quality, may only last a year or two of continual usage if the person has an active life. Those of the highest quality could potentially last a couple decades or more if properly maintained. No doubt that eventually, barring a miracle of God - which has been known to occur, any scapular will decay.

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