For centuries, devotion to Mary through the wearing of the Brown Scapular has been the cornerstone of the Discalced Carmelite Order's dedication to Mary and to a life of prayer lived in imitation of Mary. Carmelites wear the Brown Scapular as a reminder of our Blessed Mother's love, prayers and protection. Tradition tells us that the Scapular was presented by Mary to the English Carmelite, Saint Simon Stock, in 1251, as a sign of Mary's special love and protection for all Carmelites.
On the 750 the anniversary of the Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Pope John Paul II wrote to the entire Carmelite Family. He noted that two truths are evoked by the sign of the Scapular: (1) the constant protection of the Blessed Virgin, not only on life's journey, but also at the moment of passing into the fullness of eternal glory; and (2) the awareness that devotion to her cannot be limited to prayers and tributes in her honor on certain occasions, but must become a "habit," which is a permanent orientation of one's own Christian conduct woven of prayer and interior life, through frequent reception of the sacraments and the concrete practice of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The Scapular becomes a sign of the "covenant" and reciprocal communion between Mary and the faithful: translating Jesus' gift on the Cross of his Mother to John, and through him to all of us, and the entrustment of the beloved Apostle and of us to her, who became our Spiritual Mother.
Our devotion to Mary, our Spiritual Mother, is woven with prayer into our daily lives as we attend Mass and receive Holy Communion frequently and practice the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. As members of the Carmelite family we share in the blessings bestowed on Carmel and share in the prayers of all the Carmelites throughout the world.
Being a Carmelite is not a spiritual pastime, it is a spiritual responsibility. The Teresian Carmelite charism is inspired by the Holy Spirit for building up of the Church, to the well-being of humanity and to the needs of the world. We are called to be an instrument leading to holiness in the Church, through fostering and promoting a more intimate unity between the everyday life of its members and their faith. We are guided by The Beatitudes in fulfilling our Promise to seek only the ways of God as we live our lives in His service.