The Green Scapular or Scapular of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is, like the Miraculous Medal, a gift of our Blessed Mother to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.
On November 27, 1839, Justine Bisqueyburu, destined by Providence to make known this devotion, enters the Seminary, or Novitiate of the Daughters of Charity, 140 rue du Bac, Paris. On January 28, 1840, during her first retreat, the young Sister was favored with a celestial vision. Our Lady appeared to her clothed in a long white robe over which hung a bright blue mantle. Her hair, which fell loosely over her shoulders, was not covered with a veil, and in her hands she held her Heart, from the top of which issued brilliant rays. To the dignity of her bearing was joined the dazzling brightness of celestial beauty. The young Sister, seized with admiration and fear, could scarcely repress an exlamation.
The same apparition was repeated four or five times during her Seminary on the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin. This favor seemed to have no other end than to increase in the Sister herself tender devotion to Mary Immaculate.
Clothed with the habit, Sister Bisqueyburu was sent to Blangy and shortly after her arrival, September 8, 1840, feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, she was favored during prayer with an apparition of the Mother of God, who held in her right hand her heart surrounded by flames, and in her left a sort of scapular, consisting of a single piece of green cloth suspended from a cord of the same color. On one side was a picture of the Blessed Virgin as she had shown herself in the apparitons; on the other, a Heart all inflamed with rays more brilliant than the sun, and clearer than crystal.
This Heart pierced with a sword was surrounded by an oval inscription, surmounted by a cross. The inscription read: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death." At the same time an interior voice revealed to the Sister the meaning of this vision. She understood that this new Scapular, through the medium of the Sisters of Charity, would contribute to the conversion of theose who have no faith, and above all, procure for them a happy death, and that it sould be distributed immediately with confidence.
For various reasons the execution was long delayed, in consequence of which the Blessed Virgin in serveral apparitions between 1840 and 1846 complained to the Sister. As obstacles were removed, the Scapular was distributed, producing wonderful conversions and some bodily cures.
Among favors obtained are the following: A sick man, a declared enemy of all religion, was thrown into frenzy by the mere sight of a priest. He accepted a Green Scapular on September 19, 1842. Eleven days later, arising from dinner, he withdrew into an adjoining room, fell on his knees and took out his Scapular which he called an intermediary agent. Kissing it and bathing it with tears, he promised Our Lady to go to Confession within a week. That delay seemed too long, for the next day he received the Sacraments.
In 1844, a child of fourteen with depaved morals received the Scapular and in a few days his conversion was affected.
At Constantinople a Greek schismatic was converted by the Scapular and also cured of a hideous leprosy. Many similar examples might be cited.
The manner of using the Scapular was indicated by the Blessed Virgin. Since it is not the badge of a confraternity but simply a double image attached to a single piece of cloth and suspended from a cord, the formalities of a Scapular are not required for the Benediction and Imposition. It suffices that it be blessed by a priest and worn by the one for whom it is intended. It may be placed in the clothing, on the bed, or simply in the room. The only prayer to be recited is the inscirption surrounding the Heart on the reverse of the Scapular: "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death." This should be repeated daily, if not by the one wearing it, by the one giving it. The Scapular may be distributed everywhere. Although wonderful graces are attached to it, they are proportionate to the confidence with which it is given, as signified by the rays of different lengths which in the last apparitions, issued from the hands of the blessed Virgin.
The Green Scapular was twice approved by Pope Pius IX, in 1863, and again in 1870 when he said: "Write to these good Sisters that I authorize them to make and distribute it."
An exact account of any conversion or cure which may be attributed to the Green Scapular should be sent to Marian Center, Saint Joseph Central House, Emmitsburg, Maryland, with all circumstances of time, place and persons. Names should not be withheld under pretext of humility, for there is question of the glory of God and of His Holy Mother.
Nihil Obstat: E. A. Cerny, S.S., S.T.D., Censor Librorum
Imprimator: Francis P. Keough, D.D., Archbishop of Baltimore
Feast: Immaculate Heart of Mary, August 22, 1950