Spiritual Weapons: The Red Scapular

September 11, 2013

“He who desires to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus.” – St. Bonaventure

Chances are you’ve heard of the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, but have you heard of the red Scapular of the Passion? I didn’t think so.

While this scapular is lesser known, it’s still an excellent spiritual weapon. Read on for more about this sacramental.


In 1846, a nun of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, named Sister Apolline, received two apparitions of Jesus in which she received the red scapular. The front of the scapular showed Christ on the Cross and contained the words “Holy Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ save us.” The back held images of the sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary being adored by angels. It read “Sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary protect us.”

After hearing about the apparitions, Sister Apolline’s spiritual director told her to relate them to the Superior General of her order, Father J.B. Etienne. Fr. Etienne was so impressed by the apparitions and the message they contained, he eventually traveled to Rome to seek the approval of Pope Pius IX.

On June 25, 1847, Pope Pius IX gave is approval to a new red scapular, to be known as the Scapular of the Passion of Our Lord and the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.


The little gentleman sporting a red scapular. He put it on wrong, but I didn't have the heart to tell him.
The little gentleman sporting a red scapular. He put it on wrong, but I didn’t have the heart to tell him.

Countless saints have said that one of the best ways to advance in holiness is meditating on the passion of Christ. “The remembrance of the most holy Passion of Jesus Christ,” says St. Paul of the Cross, “is the door through which the soul enters into intimate union with God, interior recollection and most sublime contemplation.”

The red scapular is a great physical reminder of this reality. In the passion, we see the profound love of God for mankind, love that was willing to suffer and give everything to redeem us. And as we meditate on the suffering of Christ, our hearts are moved to love, humility, and repentance. Motivated by gratitude, we begin to embrace sacrifice in our own lives.

The red scapular is also a source of spiritual protection. According to Sister Apolline, the Scapular of the Passion “will prove to us a strong armor against infernal assaults, an impenetrable shield against the arrows of our spiritual enemies.”

Finally, Jesus also promised that whoever wears this scapular with faith and devotion will receive great increases of faith, hope, and charity every Friday.

If you’ve never worn a scapular before, the red Scapular of the Passion is one option to consider. It’s a powerful weapon for your spiritual arsenal.

PS: There’s a number of other scapulars out there, and I will cover them later in our Spiritual Weapons series.

UPDATE: If you would like a red scapular, you can buy them here.

Sam Guzman


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Reader Interactions


    • The Catholic Gentleman says

      Hi Kenneth,

      I believe, no, there will be no spiritual loss. Many of the saints have had different points of emphasis in their spiritual lives, but all of them were holy. They were looking at the same truths from different angles. Some were devoted to the 5 wounds of Christ, others had an intense Marian devotion, others were devoted to the Holy Face of Jesus, others mediated primarily on the Incarnation.

      There are many different devotions, just as there are many different kinds of saints. I believe Jesus calls us to the devotions that will be most beneficial to us, and we do not all have to follow the same path.

      If you feel drawn to meditate on the passion, and you believe the red scapular will benefit you spiritually, by all means, wear it. Just keep in mind that it isn’t an either or situation and you can wear both. You can even wear the 5 fold scapular that contains 5 scapulars in one.

      But no, no one is required to follow any specific devotion to get to heaven. God bless you.

    • The Catholic Gentleman says

      No, my understanding is that you do not. Originally, you had to have a Lazarist priest enroll you (do they even exist anymore?), but the brochure that came with the red scapular I have said that a special enrollment/investiture was no longer needed.

      • robert blake says

        Ive just been enrolled in the red scapular by the Vincentian Fathers here in Dublin..Make sure to be enrolled, You still recieve the indulgances if not enrolled but not the spiritual blessings…God Bless

  1. Jonathan says

    I’ve read that GREEN scapulars can be left in the home (often under the mattress) of someone whose conversion you are praying for.

    My concern is that the idea of a necessary “proximity” seems to border on treating it as a talisman.

    My understanding of sacramentals is that they have no actual efficacy other than to serve as a reminder for us to continue to pray.

    What is the proper understanding of this: should we be encouraged to hide a scapular at someone’s home?

    • Dennis says

      You can give a green scapular to someone and pray for their conversion. Sacramentals are efficacious, the Rosary is a sacramental.

  2. Theresa says

    My family was enrolled in the 5 way scapular by an elderly priest who had the faculty to do just that. Do you know if any priest can enroll in the 5 way scapular, like the brown scapular? It used to be a separate faculty than just the brown one, but I know things have changed a lot over the years.

  3. robert blake says

    Any priest can enroll you no matter what the scapular, and even though its not necessary to be enrolled with some scapulars its best to download the enrollment pray and have it done cause we then have the constant intersession of the particular saint. I just had my Saint Benedict crucifix blessed using the old rite. I had to download it as my priest did not have the old form roman ritual. Amazingly powerful, 3 exorcism prayers and then prayer for the constant intersession of saint benedict

    • John says

      Robert, could you advise where to find the “Old Rite” for the blessing of the St.Benedict medal. Many thanks.

  4. Fr. C says

    The brown scapular has the promise of not going to hell if you die wearing it. None of the others have that promise. That is why the Brown Scapular is the best one out there.

  5. Barbara MacDonald says

    Why does everything I read about the red scapular say something about the “sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary quote. I believe Jesus has the Sacred Heart and Mary has the immaculate one. So why are they both referred to as the Sacred Heart on the red scapular?

  6. Timoteo Saldaña Honesto says

    I cannot seem to get a response from the order that the Red Scapular pertains to. I recently purchased one and it comes with a small brochure with the installation rite. But I would like the rite as a pdf file and also if my Parish Priest can perform the rite. Ixehe (thank you in the Mescalero Apache language)!

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