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Scot Kempster wrote:

Hi guys,

  • Does the Green Scapular have to be made of wool like the Brown Scapular?
  • Where can I learn more about the Sign of the Cross made on the lips during Mass and the other motions that follow?
  • What is the best online resource for understanding how the Breviary works and also what books and literature do you recommend for this topic?


  { Can you answer questions on the material for Scapulars, the Sign of the Cross, and the Breviary? }

Mike replied:

Hi Scot!

On your first question:

  • Does the Green Scapular require wool to be made like the Brown Scapular?

I found this a difficult question to research. I tried finding everything I could about Green Scapular regulations and found very few things.

To your question: I don't think so, nevertheless, because of the proximity of its origin, to that of the Red Scapular and its regulations, I'm a little uncertain. (read on) Either way, we have to remember Our Lord is not bound by non-doctrinal sacramental regulations. Sacramentals do not fall into an issue of faith and morals. God reads the heart. That's the key. If the Church has required a regulation for a specific scapular it does so, ultimately, for a good reason and for the salvation of souls.

Let's get some background history on the Green Scapular then the Red Scapular:

Origin and Church Approval of the Green Scapular

On July 18, 1830, St. Catherine Labouré, a nun from the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul at Rue du Bac, Paris, France; was visited by the Blessed Mother. This was one of the many visits that lead to the institution of the Miraculous Medal. Ten years later and from the same order, a novice (Daughter) of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris, France, also received visits from Blessed Mother, her name was Sister Justine Bisqueyburu.

Sister Justine was visited by Blessed Mother five times beginning on January 28, 1840. After Sister Justine received the habit of the Daughters of Charity, the Blessed Virgin again visited her, holding in her right hand her heart which was surrounded by fiery flames. In Mother Mary's left hand was a small green cloth with a cord attached to it.

This cloth had pictures on both sides of it. On one side, was a picture of the Blessed Mother as she had been appearing to Sister Justine.

On the other side was a picture of her heart pierced with a sword and a flame with extraordinary rays of light pouring from it. An inscription with the words,

“Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death”

was written around her heart, and a cross was seen at the top of the flames. At the same time, an interior voice said to Sister Justine,

“By this means, God would bring to Himself, through the intercession of Blessed Mother Mary, those who had lost their faith or had been separated from Holy Church. They would be assured of a happy death, including eternal salvation.”

Since this time, spiritual and physical cures have taken place by means of this Green Scapular. It was twice approved by Pope Pius IX, once in 1863 and then in 1870. Pope Pius IX ordered the Sisters of Charity to make and distribute these scapulars when he stated,

“Write to these good Sisters that I authorize them to make and distribute it.”

Since then, it has been received as a sacramental of the church, well acknowledge and received. It has been approved by the church on several occasion.

The Red Scapular of the Passion

This scapular owes its origin to an apparition which Jesus Christ vouchsafed to Sister Appoline Andriveau, a Sister of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in 1846. Jesus Christ showed the sister a scapular, such as is worn, and promised to all who should wear it on every Friday a great increase of faith, hope, and charity. The apparition having been several times repeated, and finally in the following year reported to Pius IX, the latter sanctioned the scapular by a Rescript of 25 June, 1847, and granted the Priests of the Mission (the Lazarists) the faculty of blessing the scapular and investing the faithful with it. He simultaneously granted many indulgences for the wearing of the scapular. The Superior-General of the Lazarists can communicate the faculty of blessing and investing with this scapular to other regular or secular priests. **The scapular and bands must both be of red woolen material.** On one woolen segment Jesus Christ is represented on the Cross; at the foot of the Cross are the implements of the Passion, and about it are the words:

"Holy Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ Save us."

On the other are represented the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and above these a cross with the inscription:

"Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, protect us."

These images also are essential to the scapular (Acta S. Sedis XXX, 748).

Note in the previous paragraph that the Red Scapular had its origin in 1846, six years before the origin of the Green Scapular. Because the article on the Red Scapular stated:

The scapular and bands must both be of red woolen material

I wonder if there was some regulation back in 1940 that would also require the cloth be made out of wool. In the absence of any known regulation, I would say the Green Scapular does not have to be made of wool.

Here's another article I found on the Green Scapular:

Green Scapular

In addition to the Miraculous Medal, the Virgin Mary chose to use St. Vincent de Paul's Daughters of Charity to reveal a second great sacramental: the Green Scapular. Mary appeared to Sister Justine Bisqueyburu in Paris, France, on Jan. 28, 1840. Actually the fifth of a series of apparitions, Justine was given the design of a new scapular. Sr. Justine was hesitant at first, but eventually revealed the devotion to her Spiritual Director Fr. Aladel (who was also the director of St. Catherine Labouré of the Miraculous Medal). After much delay, the scapulars were produced and distributed with many conversions and cures following.

The Green Scapular emphasized the theme of Mary's Immaculate Conception. Bl. Pope Pius IX twice strongly recommended its promotion and use.


  1. Wear or carry the scapular
  2. To help another, place it in their vicinity (i.e. their room)
  3. Pray, at least daily: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death"
  4. The prayer should be said for oneself and separately for each person to whom it has been given (unless they pray themselves)
  5. No enrollment of any kind is necessary, but each scapular should be blessed by a priest (general blessing of sacramentals)
  6. Have confidence in the effects of the scapular:

"The greatest graces come from using the scapular but these graces come in direct proportion to the degree of confidence in me which the user has."


  1. Conversion of those who do not have the faith
  2. Reconciliation to the Church for those who have lost/strayed from the faith
  3. Assurance of a happy death
  4. Strengthening of the faith for those already in the Church
  5. Protection from Satan for those who wear or promote the scapular

If anyone is interested in wearing any of the Scapulars mentioned, they can get a good quality one at Rose Scapular.

You said:

  • Where can I learn more about the Sign of the Cross made on the lips during Mass and the other motions that follow?

When we do that, internally we should be saying,

"May the Word of God be:

  • on my mind (sign of the cross over our forehead)
  • on my lips/mouth (sign of the cross over our lips), and
  • on my soul/heart (sign of the cross over our heart)"

You said:

  • What is the best online resource for understanding how the Breviary works and also what book/literature do you recommend for this topic?

My colleague, Richard can probably answer that question the best.

Hope this helps,


Richard replied:

Hi Scot,

  1. Unless something in the history mandates some particular material, then any type of fabric is acceptable.

  2. About gestures to be made during Mass, there are a couple general pages on the subject at the bishops' web site.

    They are not very long, but then the gestures of the faithful during Mass are pretty simple, so there's not a lot to explain.

One good way to get some experience with the Liturgy of the Hours is to visit a Benedictine monastery and sit in on their daily services of Vespers (Evening Prayer), Compline (Night Prayer), Lauds (Morning Prayer), etc.

For most people, a monastery is the only place where they can witness the Office being sung in common, which is the ideal. Many monasteries actually let visitors sit in the choir stalls near the monks and follow along, if the arrangement of the chapel allows for that.

— RC

Richard followed-up:

Hi, Scot —

I ran a search today and came across a few web sites with information about the Liturgy of the Hours. I suspect it may be too much information for someone just starting but maybe they'll be useful for you:

Let me know how it's going.

Regards —

— Richard Chonak

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