TAKEN FROM LEAFLETS BY FR. HOWARD RAFFERTY, O. CARM. AND OTHERS
PURGATORY AND OUR LADY'S PROMISE
When Our Lady of Fatima told us about a young girl who will remain in
Purgatory until the end of time she wanted to remind us of our own
possible place in the life to come; she wanted to help us. And among
the many ways of avoiding Purgatory we find one way given by Our Lady
herself; it is called the "Sabbatine Privilege" [see Below
and is the second of two great Promises she attached to her Brown
Scapular. Here then, is another reason why Our Lady held out her
Scapular in the very last apparition at Fatima.
She also gave us:
THE FIVE FIRST SATURDAYS:
GREAT PROMISE AT FATIMA
THE observance of the First Saturday in
of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is intended to console her Immaculate
and to make, reparation to it for all the blasphemies and ingratitude
men. This devotion and the wonderful promises connected with it were
by the Blessed Virgin with these words recorded by Lucy, one of the
children to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared at Fatima, Potugal, in
I promise to help at the hour of death,
the graces needed for salvation, whoever on the First Saturday of five
consecutive months shall:
1. Confess and receive Holy Commtmion.
2. Recite five decades of the Rosary.
3. And keep me company for fifteen minutes
while meditating on one or more of the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary,
with the intention of making reparation to me.
BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE BROWN SCAPULAR
BY FR. JOHN SCHULTZ, C.SS.R.
It is said of the Catholic Church that she boasts: Give me the child
until he is twelve years of age, and I will have him for life.
Anyone, parent or teacher, engaged n the education of children can make
a similar boast. You can say for certain: Give me the child at any age.
Let me teach him one thing he will remember for life, and he will save
his soul. I shall be the instrument in saving the soul of any child in
whose leart I can implant the wisdom of one lesson which will prompt
him to wear the Scapular of the Blessed Virgin-----and to wear it always.
To people who do not understand, is folly to preach this doctrine.
Immediately shallow thinkers will vent their rage against habitual
sinners who wear the Scapular in hope of receiving mercy from God.
"Superstition," they will cry. "Such hope is presumption, contrary to
the teaching of the Church and wholly to be rejected. What merit can
there be in a devotion that is practiced in sin?"
There can be much merit; not of justification, but of disposing the
soul for justification, through the merits of the Mother of God. To say
that it is useless for a sinner to wear the Scapular, is, through
ignorance, to blaspheme the Mother of God.
When she appeared to St. Simon Stock she did not say: Whosoever shall
die wearing the Scapular after leading a good life shall not suffer
eternal fire. That would make her promise superfluous. You and I could
make a promise like that. What Mary did say was: Whosoever shall die
wearing this badge of my confraternity shall not suffer everlasting
No matter how extraordinary that promise may appear to be, the Blessed Mother made it, and she will keep it.
She has the power to keep any promise because she can ask that power of
God, and God will refuse her nothing. Every other Saint in Heaven, asks
as a servant of God. But the Blessed Virgin asks as a mother. And to
the perfect mother, a perfect Son can refuse nothing. Those who die
wearing the Scapular will not suffer everlasting fire. Mary said so.
That is enough for me, but she had her reasons for saying so. And we
might as well consider them.
Those who wear the Scapular always, will die in the Grace of God
because they have confidence in the protection of the Mother of God.
And confidence in the protection of the Mother of God is a sign of
predestination. Somehow or other the soul that is devoted to Mary will
break with sin before death.
Wearing the Scapular is a sure sign of confidence in the protection of
the Blessed Mother because to wear it always is inconvenient and at
times even embarrassing. The Scapular is not like a medal or a picture
of a loved one that can be stuffed into a pocketbook or a wallet and
forgotten for weeks at a time.
You cannot forget the Scapular because it is always in the way. The
large Scapular is hot in the summer and it flies about in the winter.
It is not put on and taken off each day. The strings of the small
Scapular chafe the shoulders in the heat, they become soiled and must
be changed, they break and must be fixed. One must have two pair at
least in order to wear them always. People will laugh at them at the
beach or in the swimming pool or gymnasium. Yes, they are always in the
way, particularly in the way of life of a twentieth century American.
And the one who has no confidence in the protection of the Blessed
Mother will sooner or later put them aside as many Americans have done.
They don't like them. They don't fit into the picture of the immodest
bathing suits and evening gowns.
Shortly before her death in 1920, one of the little girls to whom the
Blessed Mother appeared at Fatima said: "Certain fashions will be
introduced which will offend Our Divine Lord very much. Those who serve
God should not follow these fashions." The child was nine years old
when she said that, but she was prophesying for the Blessed Mother.
Those fashions have been introduced and accepted in America. But I am
sure that the world would be better off if our women had instead,
suited their fashions to the wearing of the Scapular. And I am sure,
too, that many more women would save their souls if they had the
courage to dress so that they could wear the Scapular. On account of
modern fashions it is very difficult to teach all to wear the Scapular.
There is a second reason why those who wear the Scapular will save their souls. They will never be without the help of prayer.
The Mother of God showed a vision of Hell to the three little children
of Fatima. The Mother of God told them: "Pray for sinners. Remember
that many souls are lost because they have nobody to pray for them."
The sinner who wears the Scapular has a whole worldwide confraternity
praying for him.
On the morning of September 30, 1897, the Little Flower of Jesus lay
upon her death bed, in the Convent of Carmel at Lisieux. Her eyes were
fixed on a statue of Our Lady, and this is how she described her last
night on earth: "Oh with what fervor I have prayed to her. And yet it
has been sheer agony, without a ray of consolation. Earth's air is
failing me, when shall I breathe the air of Heaven? I could never have
believed it possible to suffer so intensely. I can explain it only by
my great longing to save souls."
That night she died. And they took off her Scapular. And today it is
still there in a little reliquary on her bed. And when one sees it, one
cannot help exclaiming: Oh Mother of God, she, too, wore the badge of
our Confraternity. This is what those who make light of the Scapular
cannot understand. The awful suffering of that little girl. Her whole
life of suffering, her agony on this bed belongs to you. She gave it to
you not for Saints but for sinners and sisters in the Scapular
Confraternity will not know the flames of Hell. Dear Mother, no wonder
you could make such a Promise.
I can picture hidden away in some convent today another Little Flower
of Jesus, wearing the badge of Mary's Confraternity, living out her
years in silent suffering for the souls of sinners. She is praying for
those whom you will teach the wisest lesson I know-----to wear the Scapular-----ALWAYS.
BACK TO CONTENTS LIST
THE SCAPULAR PROMISES
THE FIRST PROMISE
In the year 1251 the Order of Cannel was in grave danger of extinction
because of persecutions from within and without. Saint Simon Stock, the
General of the Order, prayed thus to the Queen of Carmel:
"Flower of Carmel
Splendor of Heaven
None like to thee
Peerless and fair
Thy children of Carmel
Save by thy care
Star of the Sea!"
Suddenly the cell was flooded with a great light. Surrounded by a
concourse of Angels, the Queen of Heaven descended toward him, holding
forth the brown scapular of the friars and saying:
"Whoever Dies Piously Wearing This Scapular, Shall Not Suffer Eternal Flames".
This is the first and the better known of the two scapular promises.
Catholic theologians and authorities explain this promise to mean that
anyone wearing Mary's Scapular at the hour of death will receive from
her the favor of dying in the state of grace.
The main requisites are valid enrollment and constant wearing of the
scapular. A priest obtains his faculties to enroll from the Carmelite
Order or from the Holy See. He must see that the name of the one whom
he enrolls is duly inscribed in the register of the Confraternity of
the Scapular, with a few exceptions: Pope Pius X granted to soldiers in
time of war the privilege of enrolling themselves with a blessed
scapular or scapular medal. Missionaries have the power at times to
enroll many people at once.
Though the cloth scapular may be replaced by the scapular medal, the
latter should be done only in cases where the scapular itself would
cause great inconvenience, such as physical inability, torrid climate,
etc. The Vicar of Christ, in granting the medal, said: "I desire most
vehemently that the cloth scapular be worn as heretofore." A partial
indulgence is granted each time one kisses the cloth scapular (not the
The cloth scapular must be of woven wool, of any size and of a
rectangular shape, so made that the straps hang over the shoulders and
the woolen material thus rests at once against the front and the back
of the body. New scapulars need not be blessed once the wearer has been
The scapular affiliates its wearer with the Order of Carmel. Therefore,
everyone who practices the scapular devotion shares in the prayers and
penances of an Order consecrated to the Mother of God.
There is no sweeter nor more complete assurance at the hour of death
than the presence of this sign of true devotion to the Queen of Heaven.
"And because all the forms of our love for the Blessed Virgin, all its
various modes of expression cannot be cqually agreeable to her and
therefore do not assist us in the same degree to Heaven, I aver without
a moment's hesitation that the scapular is the most favored of all."
Bl. Claude de la Columbiere, S.J.
THE SECOND PROMISE
(to Scapular wearers)
"As a tender mother, I will descend into Purgatory on the Saturday
after their death and will deliver them and bring them to the holy
mountain, into the happy sojourn of life everlasting."
(Words of the Blessed Virgin to Pope John XXII)
NOTE: This second privilege requires: ( 1 ) Observance of chastity
according to one's state of life. (2) For all who can read, the
recitation of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin; otherwise,
abstinence from flesh meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The latter
conditions can be commuted by a priest possessing the faculties, into
other good works -----
such as the daily recitation of the Rosary, etc.
This promise is what is known as the Sabbatine Privilege, [covered more
fully below], from the Hebrew word Sabbato, or Saturday.
: Joseph A. M. Quigley Censor Librorum
Philadelphiae, die 1 Decembris, 1954.
: + J. F. O'Hara, C.S.C. Archiepiscopus Philadelphienais Philadelphiae, 2 Decembris, 1954
BACK TO CONTENTS LIST
THE SABBATINE PRIVILEGE
What is the Sabbatine Privilege? It is a Privilege enjoyed by those who
wear Our Lady's Scapular and fulfill the other conditions requested by
the Blessed Virgin, namely, to observe chastity according to one's
state in life, and to recite daily the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin,
or if unable to read, abstain from meat on Wednesday and Saturday.
Those who fulfill these conditions have Our Lady's promise that she
will herself remove them from Purgatory the Saturday after death.
Seventy-one years after Our Lady gave her Scapular to St. Simon Stock,
she appeared to Pope John XXII who was living at Ayignon in France, and
gave him the second great Scapular Promise, saying: "I, the Mother of
Grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whoso I
shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them unto the
holy mountain of life everlasting."
Since the time of Pope ]oml XXII sixteen popes have added the weight of
their approval to this Privilege. One of the clearest explanations of
the necessary condition is found in a decree of Pope Paul V given in
the year 1613: "It is lawful for the Carmelite Fathers to preach that
Christians may piously believe in the help promised to the Souls of the
brethren and members of the Confraternity of the Blessed Virgin of Mt.
Carmel, namely, that the Blessed Virgin will assist by her continual
intercession, suffrages and merits and also by her special protection,
particularly on the Saturday after death (which day has been
consecrated to her by the Church) the Souls of the brothers and the
members of the Confraternity departing this life in charity who shall
have worn the habit, and shall have observed chastity according to
their particular state of life, and also have recited the Little Office
or, if unable to read, have kept the fasts of the Church, and have
abstained from the use of meat on Wednesdays and Saturdays, unless the
Feast of the Nativity of Our Divine Lord should fall on one of those
A PRIVILEGE FOR ALL
Observe that the Holy Father requires membership in the Scapular
Confraternity. All who have been enrolled in the Scapular are members
of the Confraternity. The obligation of observing chastity according to
one's state in life does not place a new obligation; it means the same
as the obligation already imposed by the Commandments of God. Those who
are able to read must say the Little Office; those who cannot read
because of poor eyesight or any other reason, must abstain from meat on
Wednesday and Saturday. But if this last obligation is too severe for
any individual he may ask that it be changed to something else. In 1947
the General Chapter of our Order, held at Rome, decreed that the
recitation of the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to he Father, said
seven times daily should be,the minimum requirement when authorized
priests substitute for the obligation of the Little Office or the
abstinence. But this Chapter added that the devout client of Our Lady
should not be satisfied by so little and should remember the greatness
of the Promise and try to say the Rosary daily since Our Lady requested
the daily Rosary.
The popes have repeatedly urged the Faithful to make use of Our Lady's
Scapular Promises and at the same time enjoy the many indulgences
attached to the wearing of the Scapular, Pope Benedict XV exhorts us
with the words: "Let all of you have a common language and a common
armour: the language, the sayings of the Gospel; the common armour, the
Sapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which
enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death," Pope
Pius XI, writing on the occasion of the Sixth Centenary of the
Sabbatine Privilege in 1922, brings before our minds the great treasure
which is ours for so little effort when he says: "It surely ought to be
sufficient to merely exhort all the members of the sodalities to
persevere in the holy exercises which have been prescribed for the
gaining of the indulgences to which they are entitled and particularly
for the gaining of the indulgence which is the principal. and the
greatest of them all, namely, that called the Sabbatine."
There is a striking example of the Sabbatine Privilege in the life of
St. Teresa of Avila where the Saint tells us that she saw a friar of
the Order departing this life and going directly to Heaven without
entering Purgatory. Because he had been faithful to his Rule and
observed the conditions granted in favor of the Sabbatine Privilege, he
had erased all the temporal punishment due to his sins.
Still another example is found in the life of St. John of the Cross.
Before his death he was heard to say: "Blessed be the Lady who intends
me to quit this life on a Saturday," On the Friday before his death he
continued to ask what day it was, then as the afternoon came, he began
to ask what o'clock it might be saying: "Glory be to God, I am to chant
matins in Heaven." About eleven o'clock he again asked the time and
said: "By the mercy of God, I am going to recite matins in Heaven." And
at twelve o'clock midnight, a few seconds before Saturday, as the bell
in the monastery tower began to toll, he kissed his crucifix and died.
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