Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Scapulars...

I'm obsessive about this sort of thing.

When I was in high school and still on my zealous new-revert high, I acquired pretty much every sacramental in existence, including all the scapulars in the traditional Rituale Romanum or which the traditional Catholic Encyclopedia article described here (under "the individual small scapulars"), about 20 in all. A couple were very hard to find, and a couple I couldn't even find for sale anywhere, so I just got some wool fabric and yarn and made them to spec myself. Most of the Scapulars are associated with a religious order or congregation, though some were simply associated with their own pious confraternities.

Below is a picture. Note that the one on the far left is the so-called "Five-fold Scapular" and it is a special combined form of five scapulars, the separate versions of which which are then pictured in order immediately to the right of it: the Red Passion [Lazarists], Black Seven Sorrows, Brown [Carmelites], Blue Immaculate Conception [Theatines], and White Trinity [Trinitarians] scapulars:


The other scapulars continuing from left to right are the St. Benedict [Benedictines], Our Lady of Ransom [Mercedarians], St. Michael, Our Lady of Good Counsel [Augustinians], St. Joseph [Capuchin Franciscans], Immaculate Heart [Claretians], Our Lady Health of the Sick [Camillians], the "Old" Holy Face Scapular, the Precious Blood, Sacred Heart, Sacred & Immaculate Hearts, the Black Scapular of the Passion [Passionist], the "New" Holy Face Scapular (more commonly replaced by a Holy Face medal), and there is also the Green, of course, which is somewhat different as it is only one panel and not invested or worn like the others.

So then, for several years I just had all these things but never really got any of them actually blessed (which is really the important part, what actually makes something a sacramental) or actually invested in any of the scapulars. For one, I was rather afraid to approach priests to request such things, especially since it's rather an imposition to say "Hey, can you invest me in 20-some different scapulars?!" (among many other things needing blessing), and it was complicated by the fact that I also wanted it all done in the Old Rite of course (the new Book of Blessings, I believe, has just one generic "blessing for a scapular"...ugh.)

Well, during college I got to know a Benedictine monk whom I served the Old Mass for in the mornings as his private mass, and we became good friends, and he was totally into stuff like this too.

So two friends of mine and I were enrolled (using my scapulars) in all ~20 each, as well as getting pretty much every other sacramental blessed, in a several-hour marathon blessing session in our little chapel one Saturday. He'd say the blessing rite and then put the scapular over my neck briefly, take it off and put it over my one friend's, and then take it off and put it over the other's (remember it is the person who is invested, forever, not the scapular itself which can then be replaced when needed without any additional blessing).

My monk friend blessed Scapular Medals (as the Catholic Encyclopedia article says, "If the medal is to be worn instead of a number of different scapulars, it must receive the blessing that would be attached to each of them, i.e. as many blessings as the number of scapulars it replaces. For each blessing a sign of the Cross suffices") for each of us after each investiture, so we now are all enrolled in all ~20 and have Scapular Medals (I actually got a few, just for back-up) with all ~20 scapulars "packed into" them. It's nice to think that, by investiture in these scapulars, I'm sharing, in some small measure, in the spirit and works and actual graces of all those different religious orders and congregations.

Now I wear the brown wool scapular itself, and (attached to the scapular) a scapular medal (to stand in for all the others; wearing that many actual cloth scapulars would be too clunky and tangled!) and also a Miraculous Medal, a St Benedict's medal, and a crucifix, all blessed in the traditional rite.

Someday maybe I'll share some pics of more of my sacramentals, like my extensive collection of rosaries and chaplets.
Either way (though I've actually been more inclined in recent years toward simplicity and even pruning in these sorts of things) I feel like I'm covered for life in terms of traditional "Catholic bling"...

14 comments:

Thom, SFO said...

I don't even know what to say. :)

Mark of the Vineyard said...

Epic!

Anonymous said...

Wow, so that's why your prayers are so effective.

Leo said...

Are you sure you have *all* 17 scapulars (in addition to the 5) :) ?

A Sinner said...

Well, there are a few other scapulars which I could not be enrolled in simply by my priest.

For example, the small Scapular of St. Francis is for tertiaries/Third Order members only, not just for the general lay public.

In addition, the scapular of St. Dominic described in the Catholic Encyclopedia article, it turns out, is also associated with tertiaries only. The Catholic Encyclopedia is wrong on this point.

Thom, SFO said...

Technically you could "enroll" in the small St. Francis scapular, as a scapular is no longer the habit of Secular Franciscans.

A Sinner said...

There was no enrollment for that in the old Rituale Romanum, though, and in the modern "Book of Blessings" (which, it has been pointed out, contains now blessings and seems to disavow the very notion of a constitutive blessing) there is just one general formula for investiture in "scapulars"...so I suppose anyone could make up a type of scapular now and use it. I hardly think that's as significant, though.

Joseph said...

Might I ask where you obtained your Black Scapular of the Passion of DNJC? I haven´t been able to find it anywhere.

A Sinner said...

That was years ago in an online store that doesn't seem to exit anymore. I remember they were associated very much with the "Mary Julie Jahenny" and "Three Days of Darkness" strands of thought, but as I said I can't find them anymore.

Joseph said...

Thank you. I found one online but the reviews of it say that it is poorly made... Not that I would wear it every day after investiture. I'm very much interested in being invested in multiple scapulars and simply wearing the scapular medal with either my brown scapular or fivefold scapular.

Joseph said...

Myself and another fairly traditional minded seminarian have made it one of our goals to be invested in as many of the scapular as possible using the 1962 Rituale Romanum in either Latin or English AND to have each performed by the religious order to which each of the blessings was traditionally reserved. Pretty challenging!

TOM said...

This is a great post. I share you passion for scapulars and I am trying to get enrolled in all of them too. I have a couple questions though. Where did you get the OL Health of the Sick scapular? This one I can't find. And what is the difference between the 2 holy face scapulars. I wear the holy face medal but what is the "old" Holy Face scapular. Thanks and God bless

A Sinner said...

The difference between the new and old Holy Face scapulars is that the New Holy Face scapular is the one associated/replaced with the medal received in the apparations to Sr. Maria Pierina starting in 1936, with the image from the Shroud of Turin, etc.

The "Old" Holy Face scapular, on the other hand, features the image of the Veronica's Veil and was apparently in existence already in 1917 (ie, well before Sr. Pierina's visions) because the old Catholic Encyclopedia in 1917 mentions it under their article on Scapulars: "This scapular bears on a piece of white cloth the well-known picture connected with St. Veronica. This scapular is worn by the members of the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face."

The new one you can get from the same Association that sells the medals. The old one I found at a place (I think it was called something like "The Michael Store") that I can no longer find online (they really emphasized the "Mary Julie Jahenny"/"Three Days of Darkness" devotions...)

As for Our Lady Help of the Sick, I was not able to find that online, so I simply got some black wool and some red wool for the cross on the back and printed an image as described and sewed it to the front panel, "In the Church of St. Magdalen at Rome, belonging to the Clerks Regular of St. Camillus, a picture of the Blessed Virgin is specially venerated under the title of Help of the Sick. This picture is said to have been painted by the celebrated Dominican painter, Fra Angelico da Fiesole and before it Pope St. Pius V is said to have prayed for the victory of the Christian fleet during the battle of Lepanto. This picture suggested to a brother of the Order of St. Camillus. Ferdinand Vicari, the idea of founding a confraternity under the invocation of the Mother of God for the poor sick. He succeeded in his plan, the confraternity being canonically erected in the above-mentioned church on 15 June, 1860. At their reception, the members are given a scapular of black woollen cloth; the portion over the breast is a copy of the above picture of the Mother of God and at her feet Sts. Joseph and Camillus, the two other patrons of the sick and of the confraternity."

The image I have is rather rough, but it meets those conditions. Especially hard to find was the image of "Our Lady Help of the Sick" from Rome in question, but eventually I found it on a Camillian website and added St. Camilus and St. Joseph kneeling below the image.

A Sinner said...

I found the old store where I bought some of the more obscure scapulars (including the black Passionist scapular, the Sacred Heart, and the Old Holy Face):

http://www.stmichaelstore.com/otherscapulars.html

Note, however, that not all the scapulars they sell are "official" or approved ones (and, indeed, many of the devotions and sacramentals they promote are "fringe" and unnapproved and superstitious seeming).

The official traditional approved ones are limited to those listed in the Catholic Encyclopedia article (except the St. Dominic the article lists; the St. Dominic scapular was actually only for members of the Third Order, I found out).