THE MANY MIRACLES WROUGHT BY THE BROWN SCAPULAR OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL
The Mantle or Scapular of Elias There is an indisputable link between the prophet Elias and the religious order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel; as well as a symbolic link between the mantle or scapular of Elias and the mantle or scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Elias used to inhabit the area on and around Mount Carmel itself—which was just 9 miles from where Our Lady would later live in Nazareth. From her home in Nazareth, every day Our Lady could see Mount Carmel nine miles distant to the west. She would, no doubt, visited Mount Carmel during her life. It was on Mount Carmel that Elias defeated the idolatrous prophets of Baal and killed them, thus saving Israel from ruin; and it is Our Lady of Mount Carmel who, through her Scapular, will one day save the world from the devil, sin and heresy. The many miracles that have been wrought through the Brown Scapular are merely foretastes of the great triumph that is one day to come through the triumph of Our Lady, who will use, to a large extent, the Rosary and the Scapular to bring it about. Let us then have a look at some of these miracles, so that our confidence can be raised and maintained in the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
To begin with, let us go back to the time of the prophet Elias, whose mantle or scapular was a foretaste or prefiguration of many Scapular miracles that would come after 1251.
“And Elias said to Eliseus: ‘Stay here, because the Lord hath sent me as far as the Jordan!’ And Eliseus said: ‘As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee!’ and they two went on together. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets followed them, and stood in sight at a distance: but they two [Elias and Eliseus] stood by the Jordan. And Elias took his mantle and folded it together, and struck the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, and they both passed over on dry ground. And when they were gone over, Elias said to Eliseus: ‘Ask what thou wilt have me to do for thee, before I be taken away from thee!’ And Eliseus said: ‘I beseech thee that in me may be thy double spirit!’ And he answered: ‘Thou hast asked a hard thing! Nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, thou shalt have what thou hast asked: but if thou see me not, thou shalt not have it!’ And as they went on, walking and talking together, behold a fiery chariot, and fiery horses parted them both asunder: and Elias went up by a whirlwind into Heaven. And Eliseus saw him, and cried: ‘My father, my father! The chariot of Israel, and the driver thereof!’ And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own garments, and rent them in two pieces. And he took up the mantle of Elias, that fell from him: and going back, he stood upon the bank of the Jordan, and he struck the waters with the mantle of Elias, that had fallen from him, and they were not divided. And he said: ‘Where is now the God of Elias?’ And he struck the waters, and they were divided, hither and thither, and Eliseus passed over” (4 Kings 2:6-14).
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, on July 16th, in 1251. The full promise of Our Lady of Mount was: “Accept this Scapular. It shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies clothed in this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire.”
In 1858, In the same month and on the same date, July 16th, on the 18th and last apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes, she appeared to Bernadette, dressed as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. St. Bernadette testifies that this was the most beautiful of the apparitions. Sister Lucia of Fatima made a similar comment, when, at her 6th and last apparition at Fatima, Our Lady showed herself in three different forms of clothing—the third and last was that of Our Lady of Carmel, wearing the religious habit of the Carmelites. This, said Lucia, was the most beautiful sight of all—and Lucia later attested that the Scapular that was being held out towards her and the world, signified that Our Lady wanted everyone in the world to wear the Brown Scapular and profit from it.
Miracles of the Brown Scapular The devotion to the Brown Scapular was brought about and strengthened by miracles. God uses miracles as a witness to the truth of His promises and those of His Mother. Miracles are used by God to confirm the solid foundation of the devotions that the Church proposes to the faithful. The greater the number of miracles obtained by a particular devotion, the more it draws our attention to this devotion and authenticates the truth that the practice is pleasing to God. Of all the devotions adopted by the Church, none has been confirmed by more authenticated miracles than that of the Brown Scapular.
What follows is a small sampling.
Miracles of Grace On the very day that Our Lady gave the Scapular to Saint Simon Stock, he was hurriedly called by Lord Peter of Linton: “Come quickly, Father, my brother is dying in despair!” Saint Simon Stock left at once for the bedside of the dying man. Upon arrival, he placed his large Scapular over the man, asking Our Blessed Mother to keep her promise. Immediately the man repented, and died in the grace of God. That night the dead man appeared to his brother and said, “I have been saved through the most powerful Queen and the habit of that man as a shield.”
Here is another miracle of grace. In 1834, an elderly soldier living in Angouleme, France, no longer able to bear certain sorrows, resolved to take his own life. He decided to kill himself with poison, thinking that he could more easily hide his crime from the public. Upon taking the poison, he did not have to wait long to suffer the effects. Immediately he went to the hospital and asked to spend the night, thinking that the cause of his death would be undiscovered and his name would not be blackened because of commission of the cowardly sin of suicide.
But the hospital supervisor would not allow him to be admitted without an administration pass — which would mean discovery of his impending death by his own hand. The unhappy soldier was forced to abandon the idea of spending the night in the hospital. While wondering what course of action to take, he suddenly heard a voice telling him to go to Saint Peter’s and confess to Father X. The soldier went to the designated church and asked Father X to hear his confession.
Father X, overcome with fatigue, told the man to wait — it was Lent and it was three o’clock in the afternoon and he had not yet had a bite to eat. The unhappy soldier made a new plea and assured the priest that there was not time to wait.
The priest entered the confessional and the penitent confessed that he had just poisoned himself. The confessor showed him his obligation before God, which included divulging the penitent’s secret.
The soldier, touched by this grace, gave the priest permission, and like the fire which burned his insides, the sufferings he felt threw him into a state of perfect hopelessness.
The charitable priest pulled him out of the confessional and took him to the hospital.
He immediately asked for an antidote, but while they were preparing it, he took the pulse of the sick man, and no longer found any: a deathly pale complexion, misty eyes — everything heralded the coming death.
His heart pierced with sadness, but full of confidence in the Divine Mercy, the fervent priest threw himself to his knees, and recited the Litany of the Blessed Virgin.
At the first invocation, he sensed the pulse of the dying man return, and a short time later he heard the soldier speak a few words. “O my good Father,” he said in a weak voice, “my Father, pray, pray some more!” And he let out a breath and said: “Holy Mary, pray for me!” And soon his consciousness returned. Father X, in his enthusiasm over such a marvelous change, asked the soldier if he hadn’t kept some pious practices — “No, my Father, I have not said any prayers in a long time.” But after having reflected for an instant, he showed a Scapular: “Here is the only sign of piety that I have preserved.” — “Ah! My friend,” notes the priest, “I am no longer surprised by the miracle which just occurred; it’s Mary who protected you, it’s to her that you owe being alive.” Nevertheless the doctor arrived, and after having heard the necessary details on the condition of the patient, he assured them that only a superior power could prolong his life for longer than two hours after having taken the poison, one of the most active that we know; and five hours had gone by since the fatal moment! The antidote became useless. The doctor proposed to record a statement to attest the truth of the miracle; but the humble priest, fearing that they would perhaps attribute the miracle to the fervor of his prayers, did not think about making the miracle public. It was told to me by others, that it may give you a new confidence in Mary. (Told by Father Michaud in The Month of Mary and recorded in the book Vertu Miraculeuse Du Scapulaire, 1869, pp. 30-32).
In more modern times we have another example of the many miracles of grace that the Brown Scapular has performed. A priest relates that one day in a town near Chicago he was called to the bedside of a man who had been away from the Sacraments for many years. “The man did not want to see me: he would not talk. Then I asked him to look at the little Scapular I was holding. ‘Will you wear this if I put it on you? I ask nothing more.’ He agreed to wear it, and within the hour he wanted to go to Confession and make his peace with God. This did not surprise me, because for over 700 years Our Lady has been working in this way through her Scapular.”
Miracles Demonstrating Our Lady’s Promise of Protection One day in 1944, a Carmelite missionary in the Holy Land was called to an internment camp to give the Last Rites. The Arab bus driver made the priest get off the bus four miles from the camp because the road was dangerously muddy. After two miles, the missionary found his feet sinking deeper and deeper into the mire. Trying to get solid footing, he slipped into a muddy pool. Sinking to his death in this desolate place, he thought of Our Lady and her Scapular.
He kissed his great Scapular — for he was wearing the full habit — and looked toward the holy mountain of Carmel, the birthplace of devotion to God’s Mother. He cried out, “Holy Mother of Carmel! Help me! Save me!” A moment later, he found himself on solid ground. Later he said, “I know I was saved by the Blessed Virgin through her Brown Scapular. My shoes were lost in the mud, and I was covered with it, but I walked the remaining two miles praising Mary.”
Saved from the Sea Another Scapular miracle took place in 1845. In the late summer of that year, the English ship, King of the Ocean, on its way to Australia, not far from Cape Hope, found itself in the middle of a hurricane. As wind and sea mercilessly lashed the ship, a Protestant minister, with his wife and children and other passengers, struggled to the deck to pray for mercy and forgiveness, as the end seemed at hand. Among the crew was a young Irishman, John McAuliffe. On seeing the urgency of the situation, the youth opened his shirt, took off his Scapular, and, making the Sign of the Cross with it over the raging waves, tossed it into the ocean. At that very moment, the wind calmed. Only one more wave washed the deck, bringing with it the Scapular which came to rest at the young man’s feet. All the while the minister (a Mr. Fisher) had been carefully observing McAuliffe’s actions and the miraculous effect of those actions. Upon questioning the young man, he was told about the Holy Virgin and her Scapular. Mr. Fisher and his family became determined to enter the Catholic Church as soon as possible, and thereby enjoy the same protection of Our Lady’s Scapular. This they did shortly after landing in Australia.
Saved from Fire In May of 1957, a Carmelite priest in Germany published the unusual story of how the Scapular saved a home from fire. An entire row of homes had caught fire in Westboden, Germany. The pious inhabitants of a home in the middle of this row, seeing the fire, immediately fastened a Scapular to the main door of the house. Sparks flew over it and around it, but the house remained unharmed. Within 5 hours, 22 homes had been reduced to ashes. The one structure which stood undamaged amidst the destruction was that which had the Scapular attached to its door. The hundreds of people who came to see the place Our Lady had saved are eyewitnesses to the power of the Scapular and the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Saved from an Explosion In 1955, a miracle occurred in the mid-western part of the United States. A 3rd-grader stopped in a gasoline station to put air in his bicycle tires, and at that very moment an explosion occurred. The boy’s clothing was burned off, but his Brown Scapular remained unaffected: a symbol of Mary’s protection. Today, although he still bears a few scars from the explosion, this man has special reason to remember the Blessed Mother’s protection in time of danger.
Saved in a Plane Crash A Jesuit missionary in Guatemala relayed the following incident of Our Lady’s Scapular protection. In November of 1955 a plane carrying 27 passengers crashed. All died except one young lady. When this girl saw the plane was going down, she took hold of her Scapular, and called on Mary for help. She suffered burns, her clothing was reduced to ashes, but her Scapular was not touched by the flames.
Saved from a Bullet In France, the following was reported: As the town of Montpellier was in a state of siege, in 1622, there occurred a miracle in the sight of the entire army and under the eyes of the King of France, Louis XIII. In a general assault, one of his officers, Champrond De Beauregard, received a bullet wound in the chest. The wound should have been fatal, but the bullet, after piercing the clothing, flattened out against the Scapular, without doing the least bit of harm to the officer. Astonished by the miracle, the officer told all that were around him. Those who surrounded him, witnesses to this wonder, spread it through the army from rank to rank. Eventually news of the miracle reached the monarch’s ear. Louis XIII came forward to see this wonder that had been brought to his attention. He examined the facts very carefully, and after having convinced himself with his own eyes of the reality of the wonder, he wanted to dress himself in this heavenly armor, to receive the Scapular from the hands of the Carmelites and be enrolled as one of the members of the Confraternity.
Saved from Lightning On August 27th, 1602 Barthelemi Lopez, a Spanish soldier, on duty in the Castle of Saint Elme, in Naples, was saying prayers in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel whose Scapular he was wearing, when all of a sudden lightning and thunder exploded above his head. The lightning bolt hit his shoulder, and without making any sort of injury, left on his shoulder the print of a cross — as a sign of salvation which demonstrates that it was to a special help from Heaven that he owed the favor of having been preserved from the terrible effects of the lightning.
Food Provided in Time of Famine Through the Scapular In the Fourteenth Century, Spain faced a deadly famine due to a shortage of all sorts of grains. A general procession was ordered, and in the area of Spain in which the Holy Scapular was triumphantly shown, immediately abundance returned and brought joy and consolation to the hearts of all.3
In the 16th Century, in Sicily, a drought occurred like that which happened in the days of Elias the prophet. The people appealed to Our Lady, and the Brown Scapular was offered everywhere in the streets for veneration by the people; suddenly the sky opened, the rain came, and soon the people had their lofts full with abundance.4
Miracles in Battle In the year 1618, Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria and general of the imperial army in the war with Prague, in order to acquire God’s benediction on his armies, put himself under the protection of the Blessed Virgin by receiving the holy Scapular with his whole army. Full of confidence in this precious shield of the Queen of Heaven, he gave battle against prince Palatin, who had usurped the crown from Ferdinand II, and the Duke won a complete victory with very few losses of his own. The Emperor Ferdinand II, desirous of giving a public witness to Our Lady for her protection, received, along with the Queen and the princes, the Blessed Scapular from the hands of Father Dominique, a Discalced Carmelite.
Edward II, King of England, hearing about some miracles that were happening in all parts of his kingdom by virtue of the sacred habit, was one of the first princes to once again wear the Scapular, and he received with devotion this precious proof of Mary’s love; shortly thereafter, he experienced the effect of the protection of the Blessed Virgin, to Whom he was devoted. His army, which had already suffered two defeats, was on the verge of complete surrender. He invoked Mary and promised her that he would establish a monastery of the Order of Mount Carmel. Immediately, by a miraculous assistance, he won a complete victory over his enemies, who at that point thought they had already won the battle. Edward, wanting to perpetuate the memory of this powerful protection and to keep his vow, gave to the Carmelites his palace at Oxford to establish a monastery.
Protection Against the Devil In 2005, a priest was giving a talk about the growth of satanic worship in the world and how adults and young children are becoming possessed by the devil because of the use of things such as the ouija board, saying the incantations that open the door to the demonic in “children’s books” such as the Harry Potter series, and going to fortune tellers, etc.
When someone asked the priest how to protect oneself from the demonic, besides the obvious path of avoiding things that call upon satan, the priest answered, “Wear the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel for protection from curses and the devil.”
One can understand why the devil works against those who promote the Scapular after hearing the story of Venerable Francis Ypes. One day his Scapular fell off. As he replaced it, the devil howled, “Take off the habit which snatches so many souls from us!” Then and there Francis made the devil admit that there are three things which the demons are most afraid of: the Holy Name of Jesus, the Holy Name of Mary, and the Holy Scapular of Carmel. To that list we could add: the Holy Rosary.
One day a young woman, before entering the religious life, went to see the Curé of Ars, and during the conversation, he asked her, “Do you recall, my child, at the certain evening of dancing, where you were? There was a very young man, very pretty, unknown, distinguished, admired, and all the girls wanted to dance with him.” “Yes, I recall when he never came to ask me, I was sad, yet all the other girls were privileged to dance with that young man.” “You would have liked to dance with him, wouldn’t you?” “Yes.” “Do you recall, when that young man was leaving the dance hall, you saw under his feet two blue flames? And you thought it was an illusion of your eyes? When you saw that young man leave the dance hall, you saw fire under his feet! It was not an illusion of your eyes, my daughter. That man was a demon. And if he did not come to you to ask you to dance, it’s for one reason: you were wearing the vestment of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.”
Miracles of Conversion We should even give the Scapular to non-Catholics, for Our Lady will bring conversions to those who will wear it and say one Hail Mary each day, as the following true story will show. An old man was rushed to the hospital in New York City, unconscious and dying. The nurse, seeing the Brown Scapular on the patient, called the priest. As the prayers were being said for the dying man, he became conscious and spoke up: “Father, I am not a Catholic.” “Then why are you wearing the Brown Scapular?” asked the priest. “I promised my friends to wear it ,” the patient explained, “and say one Hail Mary a day.” “You are dying,” the priest told him. “Do you want to become a Catholic?” “All my life I wanted to be one,” the dying man replied. He was baptized, received the Last Rites, and died in peace. Our Lady took another soul to Heaven under her mantle through her Scapular!
Some Modern Day Miracles A priest relayed the following two accounts:
The first one occurred about 1980 in Ontario, Canada, in a small city near Toronto. “A woman whose son I had recently enrolled in the Brown Scapular relayed the following: she told me that she was very grateful because I had enrolled her son in the Scapular. That same day, after the enrollment, she went somewhere with her son.
“She had put him in the back seat and closed the door and drove away down the highway. But she didn’t close the door very well, and when she turned the corner the door opened and her son rolled out onto the highway. She was terrified and horrified and she came back to pick him up and discovered that he did not have a scratch on him. He was, of course, wearing his Scapular.”
“There was a man in Baltimore who told me this himself in about 1990. As he was driving down the highway, someone threw a rock through his window. He didn’t know where from. It knocked his glasses that were in his shirt-pocket onto the seat beside him. He didn’t need the glasses, so he left them where they landed. When he arrived home, he remembered his glasses. He went to pick them up to put them back in his pocket, but they wouldn’t go in. He thought it was because the rock was still in his pocket. So he pulled the rock out, but it wasn’t a rock. It was a bullet. He had been shot at. He was uninjured. He was wearing his Scapular.”