Medals and Scapulars
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The Miraculous Medal
The Miraculous Medal was introduced to the world by St. Catherine Labouré, a novice with the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul in France. (She's pictured beside with the Blessed Virgin Mary). In 1830 she received a vision from Mary in which Our Lady appeared inside an oval frame which bore the inscription “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.”
The Blessed Mother asked that this image be put on a medal, saying all who wear it would receive great graces. The first medals were stuck in 1832.
Many of those wearing them did indeed receive blessings, including cures for illnesses and seemingly miraculous conversions, and it soon became popularly known as the “Miraculous Medal.” Today, the Miraculous Medal is still a wonderful way of showing, and spreading, devotion to both our Lady and our Lord as well!
This first Miraculous Medal prayer below is associated with St. Maximilian Kolbe (pictured beside), an heroic priest martyred by the Nazis in World War II. The first part comes from the inscription from our Blessed Mother herself. St. Maximilian added the second part after having witnessed virulently anti-papal, (pro-Lucifer as well, if you can believe it!) demonstrations in the Vatican sponsored by the Freemasons, who he specifically referenced as enemies of the church in another version of this prayer.
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you, and for all who do not have recourse to you, especially the enemies of the Church and those recommended to you. Amen.
St. Maximilian’s devotion to our Lord and His Blessed Mother, and his distress at such a scene, was such that he formed the Militia of the Immaculata (MI for short) in 1917. This organization still exists today. Its mission is “To Lead Every Individual With Mary To The Most Sacred Heart Of Jesus” and is open to all Catholics, religious and lay people alike as described here. St. Maximilian called the Miraculous Medal his “silver bullet” against evil, and all MI members wear it.
This second Miraculous Medal prayer deals with the sacramental itself, and has some nice MI overtones as well:
O Virgin Mother of God, Mary Immaculate, We dedicate and consecrate ourselves to you under the title of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. May this Medal be for each one of us a sure sign of your affection for us and a constant reminder of our duties toward you. Ever while wearing it, may we be blessed by your loving protection and preserved in the grace of your Son. O Most Powerful Virgin, Mother of Our Savior, keep us close to you every moment of our lives. Obtain for us, your children, the grace of a happy death; so that in union with you, we may enjoy the bliss of Heaven forever. Amen.
It is important to note as well that, as with all sacramentals, the Miraculous Medal is not some “lucky charm”. Keep in mind also that in expressing devotion to Mary, we do not worship her, as many Christians in other denominations, especially some Evangelicals, believe, but rather honor her in her devotion to our Lord! As the popular saying goes “to Jesus through Mary.”
Remember also her last words in Scripture, which could almost be her motto, in which she told the attendants at the wedding feast of Cana “Do whatever he [Jesus] tells you” (John 2:5).
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St. Benedict Medal
The Front of the Medal
We see St. Benedict holding his Rule; next to him, on a pedestal, is the cup that once held poison, shattered after he made the Sign of the Cross over it. The other pedestal is topped by the raven, who is about to carry away the poisoned bread. In very small print above these pedestals are the words: Crux s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of our Holy Father Benedict).
Underneath St. Benedict are the words: ex SM Casino MDCCCLXXX (from holy Monte Cassino, 1880).
Surrounding the entire face of the medal are the words: Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur (May we at our death be fortified by his presence.)
The Back of the Medal
In the arms of the Cross are the initials C S S M L – N D S M D, which stand for the rhyme:
Crux sacra sit mihi lux!
“The Holy Cross be my light”
Nunquam draco sit mihi dux!
“May the dragon never be my guide!”
In the corners of the Cross are C S P B, which stand for the same words found on the front over the pedestals: Crux s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of our Holy Father Benedict).
Above the Cross is the word “Pax” (Peace), the Benedictine motto.
Surrounding the entire back of the medal are the initials to the words of the exorcism: V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B
These are the word St. Benedict said after monks tried killing him. Once he realized they poisoned his drink, he said this:
V. R. S. (Vade Retro Satan):
“Get away, Satan”
N. S. M. V. (Not Suade Mihi Vana):
“Never tempt me with your vanities!”
S. M. Q. L. (Sunt Mala Quae Libas):
“What you offer me is evil.”
I. V. B. (Ipse Venena Bibas):
“Drink the poison yourself!”
Many Catholic bookstores sell Benedictine medals if you do not own one. Be sure a priest blesses it!
Exorcism & Blessing of the Medal of St. Benedict
Priest: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
Response: Who made heaven and earth.
Priest: In the name of God the Father ♱ Almighty, Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, I exorcise these medals against the power and attacks of the evil one. May all who use these medals devoutly be blessed with health of soul and body. In the name of the Father ♱ Almighty, of His Son ♱ Jesus Christ our Lord, and of the Holy ♱ Spirit the Paraclete, and in the love of the same Lord Jesus Christ Who will come on the last day to judge the living and the dead.
Priest: Let us pray. Almighty God, the boundless Source of all good things, we humbly ask that, through the intercession of St. Benedict, Thou pourest out Thy blessings ♱ upon these medals. May those who use them devoutly and earnestly strive to perform goods works be blessed by Thee with health of soul and body, the grace of a holy death, and remission of temporal punishment due to sin. May they also, with the help of Thy merciful love, resist the temptations of the evil one and strive to exercise true charity and justice toward all, so that one day they may appear sinless and holy in Thy sight. This we ask through Christ our Lord.
The medals are then sprinkled with holy water.
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Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
If you wear Mary’s Brown Scapular, you should be introduced to St. Simon Stock. You may already know him from his picture (along with Our Lady’s) on your Scapular. Actually, St. Simon is an old friend, for it was to him that Our Blessed Mother gave the Scapular promise in 1251, saying, “Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.”
One of the great mysteries of our time is that the majority of Catholics either ignore, or have entirely forgotten this Heavenly promise of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Lady further says: “Wear the Scapular devoutly and perseveringly. It is My garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of Me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.”
Blessed Claude de La Colombiere, the renowned Jesuit and spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary, gives a point which is enlightening. He said, “Because all the forms of our love for the Blessed Virgin and all its various modes of expression cannot be equally pleasing to Her, and therefore do not assist us in the same degree to reach Heaven, I say, without a moment’s hesitation, that the BROWN SCAPULAR IS THE MOST FAVORED OF ALL!” He also adds, “No devotion has been confirmed by more numerous authentic miracles than the Brown Scapular.”
Old Testament History
Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel (the Madonna of the Scapular) goes back far before the time of St. Simon Stock — even before the time of Our Blessed Lord; it goes back all the way to the 8th century B.C. It was then that the great prophet Elias ascended the holy mountain of Carmel in Palestine, and began there a long tradition of contemplative life and prayer. It is amazing to realize that centuries before Christ was born, Holy Elias and his followers had mystically dedicated themselves to God’s Mother-to-come, Mary, Queen of Mount Carmel. Nearly three thousand years later, that tradition of prayer, contemplation, and devotion to Mary continues to live and prevail in the Catholic Church.
In the fullness of time, God became the God-Man, Jesus. We know of Our Lord’s life, death, resurrection and ascension from the four Gospels of the New Testament, and we know that Jesus bequeathed to the world the Holy Catholic Church to teach, to govern, and to sanctify in His Name.
On the Feast of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, the spiritual descendants of Elias and his followers came down from Mount Carmel. Fittingly, they were the first that day to accept the message of Christianity and to be baptized by the Apostles. When, at last, they were presented to Our Lady, and heard the sweet words from Her lips, they were overcome with a sense of majesty and sanctity which they never forgot. Returning to their holy mountain, they erected the first chapel ever built in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary. From that time, devotion to God’s Mother was handed down by the hermits on Mount Carmel as a treasured spiritual legacy.
Our Lady Appears to St. Simon Stock
In the year 1241, the Baron de Grey of England was returning from the Crusades in Palestine: he brought back with him a group of religious from the holy mountain of Carmel. Upon arrival, the baron generously presented the monks with a manor house in the town of Aylesford. Ten years later, in the very place, there occurred the now famous apparition of Our Lady to St. Simon Stock. As the Holy Virgin handed St. Simon the brown woolen Scapular She spoke these words: “This shall be the privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.” In time, the Church extended this magnificent privilege to all the laity who are willing to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites, and who perpetually wear it.
Many Catholics are invested in the Brown Scapular at the time of their First Holy Communion; in the case of converts the vesting concurs with their Profession of Faith. When a person is enrolled in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular and vested in that tiny habit of brown wool, the priest says to him: “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.”
Prayer of Consecration to the Virgin of Mount Carmel
(The believer of the Virgin of Mount Carmel strives every day to better live this consecration to his Mother)
O Mary, Queen and Mother of Mount Carmel! I come today to consecrate myself to You, because my whole life is like a small tribute to the many graces and benefits I have received from God at Your hands.
And because You look with especially benevolent eyes upon those who wear Your scapular, I ask that You defend my frailty with Your strength, illuminate the darkness of my spirit with Your wisdom, and increase in me faith, hope, and charity, so that I may pay You the tribute of my humble devotion every day.
May the Holy Scapular attract Your merciful gaze upon me, may it be for me the pledge of Your special protection in the daily struggles, and may I always be reminded of the duty to think of You and clothe myself in Your virtues.
From today I will strive to live in mild union with Your Spirit, to offer up everything to Jesus through Your mediation and to convert my life into the image of Your humility, mercy, patience, gentleness and Your spirit of prayer.
O most gracious Mother! Hold me with Your unfailing love, so that one day I, unworthy sinner, may be granted to wear Your scapular for eternity, changed as a bridal garment, and live with You and the saints of Carmel in the Kingdom of Your Son.
The Sabbatine Privilege
The Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel has promised to save those who wear the scapular from the fires of hell; She will also shorten their stay in purgatory if they should pass from this world still owing some debt of punishment.
This promise is found in a Bull of Pope John XXII. The Blessed Virgin appeared to him and, speaking of those who wear the Brown Scapular, said, “I, the Mother of Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in purgatory I shall free so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
The Blessed Virgin assigned certain conditions which must be fulfilled:
Wear the Brown Scapular continuously.
Observe chastity according to one’s state in life (married/single).
Recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin OR Observe the fasts of the Church together with abstaining from meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays OR With permission of a priest, say five decades of Our Lady’s Most Holy Rosary OR With permission of a priest, substitute some other good work.
Pope Benedict XV, the celebrated World War I Pontiff, granted 500 days indulgence for devoutly kissing your scapular.
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Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception
The Blue Scapular has its origin in the apparition of Our Lady Immaculate Conception on February 2, 1617 to Venerable Sister Ursula Benincasa, foundress of the Theatine Sisters of the Immaculate Conception in the city of Naples, Italy. On the front, the scapular bears the image of the Blessed Virgin, the Immaculate Conception, who always prays for us at all times of our lives, delivering us from sin and the plots of the enemy. In the back, it presents the apparition of Our Lady to Sister Ursula Benincasa. In this apparition, Our Lady asked Sister Ursula that the Blue Scapular be spread among all her children, promising all the faithful to wear it with devotion:
They will all be covered by her Sacred mantle;
They will have its defense against all the traps of the enemy that lead us to sin;
Plenary and partial indulgences, both in life and in death;
Healing in sicknesses;
Fortitude of faith in the face of difficulties
A good death assisted by the sacraments of unction and reconciliation;
Wisdom and the light of God in difficult moments
Our Lady's defense on the day of the final judgment
A shield of graces against all dangers;
Her eternal intercession with Jesus and many other graces.
Vision of Venerable Ursula Benincasa from 1617
This apparition prepared the whole world for the Church's promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, which took place on December 8, 1854.
Some Saints who used and spread the Blue Scapular
Saint Alphonsus Mary de Liguori (1750), GREAT PROMOTOR OF MARIAN DEVOTION, used it and taught the devotees of Our Lady to always have the protection and Grace of Mary.
Saint Dominic Savio (1842-1857) wore the Blue Scapular constantly, founding on June 8, 1856 a brotherhood of the Immaculate Conception, thus spreading this devotion to the Blue Scapular. On September 12, 1856, he went to Turin, Italy, to assist her mother who was in danger of death due to a complicated childbirth, she took the Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception with her and only imposed it on her mother, Dona Brigida, who gave birth to her little sister Catherine.
St. Pius X Pope (1903-1914) wore it very devoutly on his chest, a constant sign of his love for Mary.
Blessed Mother Ursula Benincasa, had always received many letters from the ladies of the European nobility and from many people devoted to Our Lady who wore the Blue Scapular, telling how many graces and rich cures had been obtained through this Scapular.
Prayer for Imposition of the Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception - Act of Consecration
Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Immaculate Mother of God and powerful advocate of sinners, in the presence of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, of the whole Heavenly Court, of Her most chaste spouse, Saint Joseph, the glorious Saint Caetano, and Saint Michael the Archangel, whom I choose as my special advocate in my spiritual and temporal needs, repentant of all my sins, I turn to You and offer my praise and love in Your honor.
For the honor and glory of your most sweet Son Jesus I consecrate and give myself all to You as His faithful servant and offer You my heart to always deliver me from every evil thought and from the evil forces of this world.
Moved by a burning desire to live and die under your Blue Mantle of Your Immaculate Conception, and now with all my soul I say to You: Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me, poor sinner now and at the hour of my death, that I may sing one day in Heaven with St. Joseph and St. Cajetan, Glory be to the Father and to the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Purchase your Blue Scapular of the Immaculate Conception in the store of the Shrine of the Apparitions of Our Lady in Jacareí. Besides acquiring this holy sacramental through which you will receive many graces, you will also help in the works of the Shrine.
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Red Scapular of the Passion of Jesus
Origin of the Scapular of the Passion
On July 26, 1846, the octave of the feast of St. Vincent, in the afternoon, Our Lord appeared to Sister Apolline Andriveau, a Daughter of Charity in Troyes, France. She told how she saw Our Lord clothed in a red tunic and a blue cloak.
His face was not shattered by the pains of the praetorium, but was beauty by essence. He held in His right hand a scapular suspended by two woolen ribbons, in which He was represented nailed to the cross, and at the foot of the cross were the instruments of the passion that made Him suffer most.
Around the crucifix was written: Holy Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, save us. At the other end of the ribbons, in scarlet cloth, was the image of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary; one surrounded by thorns, and the other wounded by the lance, between the two hearts was a cross.
After a few days, Sister Apolline saw the same image again. Finally, Our Lord explained how the Scapular was to be worn.
A few months before the Passion Scapular was revealed to her, Sister Apolline had another vision. She was making the Stations of the Cross, when at the 13th station, Our Lady placed the inanimate body of the Master in her arms and said to her:
"The world is lost because it does not reflect on the Passion of Jesus Christ; do everything so that the world will reflect, do everything so that it will be saved."
The apparitions were repeated, and in all of them Our Lord emphasized His Infinite Mercy toward men and His desire for their salvation.
In 1847, Father Etienne, then Superior General, went to Rome, and having been received in audience by the Holy Father Pius IX, he took the opportunity to communicate the apparitions to him. Pius IX placed no obstacle to the approval of the Scapular.
The power to bless the Scapular of the Passion had been granted exclusively to the Fathers of the Mission, and so the diffusion was slow, since it was not possible for them to go to all the parishes.
Therefore, many requests were made to Father Etienne to obtain from the Holy See the faculty to delegate this privilege to the secular and regular priests who requested it.
The Holy Father not only granted the permission, but at the same time added to the indulgences previously granted, a plenary indulgence, every Friday of the year, to those who wear the Scapular constantly.
The Red Scapular of the Lord's Passion is widely advertised in the Shrine of Apparitions in Jacareí. Our Lady in several messages has expressed her delight in wearing this sacramental, and insistently asks her beloved children to wear it every day in order to obtain the graces promised by Her and Our Lord to Sister Apolline Andriveau.
In the Shrine store www.presentedivino.com.br you can find the Red Scapular of the Passion and the CDs where the seer Marcos Tadeu translated (into portuguese) and recorded the life of Sister Apolline and the history of the Red Scapular of the Passion.