Friday, January 26, 2007

What I do with Old Scapulars


A problem peculiar to serious Catholics ... what do you DO with old scapulars? When the strings tear apart and the images of our Lady start hanging -- you can't just throw them out, you have to burn them or bury them. I suspect most moms of large families have a little pile in the corner of their top bureau drawer of these little patches of cloth embroidered with Christ and Our Lady.

Well, here's what I started doing with them: sewing them on the backs of my boys' overalls. This allows me to combine my hatred of name brand dressing ("What? You mean I pay you to advertise YOUR product?") with a desire for covert evangelism. See, the scapulars LOOK like those ubiquitous OshKosh tags at first glance -- but then you look again...

Also, I don't mind having the Blessed Mother and our Lord watching my boys' backs in an extra special way. :)



For non-Catholics: a scapular is two scraps of wool cloth with an image of the Blessed Mother on it worn front and back over the shoulders (it's actually a residual religious habit) as a sign of following the order of Mount Carmel, a very ancient order that traces its history back to the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel, a way of fasting and prayer and holiness of life. Once the Carmelites (as they were called) fled the Holy Land before Muslim invaders, they started up again in Europe and the habit of lay people wearing the habit (pun intended) took hold. So lots of devout Catholics wear brown scapulars - you can spot them by the telltale thin brown strips creeping over into the necklines of their shirts, a habitual (pun intended) annoyance that's part of the penance we're supposed to be practicing, I guess. :)

13 comments:

Nancy C. Brown said...

This is helpful because I currently have a drawer full of old broken scapulars. I *know* I can't just throw them away, and I am planning someday to bury them, but you have other ideas which are wonderful, too. Thanks and welcome to the world of blogs!

Lynn said...

What a wonderful idea! Thanks for the suggestion.

LeeAnn said...

Regina, I'm glad to see you in blog-format! I love the idea for the overall-scapulars, but alas, I've never owned a scapular. I'm a convert and don't know anyone who knows much about them. Why are there so many types? What's a good one to start with? What am I obligating myself to by wearing one?
Your pictures of dirty dishes in the sink make me less hesitant to post my own on my blog sometime. There was a bright, sunny day last summer when my children's plastic dishes and assorted glasses all lit up like quite beautifully. My husband thought I was a little weird for taking pictures, but now I see I'm not alone.
LeeAnn

Kelly said...

But what do you do when the overalls are worn out? Do you send them to St. Vincent de Paul with the scapular still on, or rip out the stitches and burn it then?

regina doman said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting, ladies!
LeeAnn - you might want to check out
this site, Fisheaters, for some info about wearing scapulars. I've only done the brown and green scapulars myself (worn the brown scapular and given/hidden the green scapular in the houses of folks whose conversion I was praying for). My husband and his family have a great devotion to
the Brown Scapular and the Carmelites, which is one reason why I'm wearing one these day.

regina doman said...

Kelly - I've done both. Sometimes I rip out the scapular and burn it (or just burn the overalls) or I pass them on to other Catholic families (we don't have a St. Vincent De Paul and I'm not sure our Salvation Army would necessarily treat them reverently. :) ). Either way, you get a few more year's worth out of the scapular!

Christine said...

This is a great idea! One of my friends sews scapulars on the front and back of onesies. I like knowing that the baby is wearing a scapular under his clothes.

one of us said...

Isn't it true that one must be enrolled in the Brown Scapular in order to receive the graces from it? I'm not sure...

-ellie

regina doman said...

yes, I believe you are right. By sewing them on the back of my kids' clothes, I am not "enrolling" them because I'm not using them as a scapular per se (which must be worn on the front and the back, as it is a vestigal religious habit). I'm just "re-using" them in an appropriate way. When I say I believe have the Blessed Mother and Her Son watching my son's backs, it's not because of "scapular graces" but more the graces that you would get from wearing a Marian medal or even a Marian t-shirt. Does that make sense?

just another day in paradise said...

That is one of the greatest ideas ever!!!!!

Margaret Mary Myers said...

I loved the way you put the scapular badges on the backs of the overalls!

The way I remembered it, with the Brown Scapular, the blessing is on the person who is enrolled in it. So I looked it up just now on New Advent.org, and this is what I found: "Only at the original reception of any scapular is either the blessing or the investment with such by an authorized priest necessary. When a person needs a new scapular, he can put on an unblessed one." So...we would want burn it or bury the first one (or put it in the drawer), but if we don't get subsequent Brown Scapulars blessed (since the blessing in on the person who has been invested), then it seems to me that - as I've been told in the past - we can then use or dispose of them as we would any unblessed religious picture. If anyone is concerned, please check with a priest rather than just taking my word for it. But I just wanted to share this in case it's helpful.

Christine said...

I hope that I didn't confuse anyone by saying that "I like knowing that the baby is wearing a scapular under his clothes." I know there is no need for them to do so and that they are not enrolled in the scapular. I simply like them wearing the onesies (I can't explain why) that my friend gave me. If there is something wrong with them wearing these onesies with the scapular stitched on them, please let me know.

Christine said...

What a nice idea! We have much smaller scapulars (child-sized), and there are not pictures, but I might be able to make this work. In our homeschool co op, there are always new babies, and perhaps I can make use of the scapulars that have been stretched all out of sorts by doing something with onsies.

I'm glad I found your blog! God bless!