“AVE COR MARIAE”
“HAIL TO THE HEART OF MARY”!
The Green Scapular, called by Our Lady, “The Badge of the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” was given to the world by the Blessed Virgin Mary through a series of apparitions to Sister Justine Bisqueyburu, a Daughter of Charity, in the early 1840’s in Paris, France. On the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, Sept. 8th, 1840, the Mother of God appeared holding in her right hand her Immaculate Heart, mounted by flames and holding in her other hand a scapular.
The scapular consisted of a simple piece of green cloth, rectangular in shape, hanging from a green string. On one side was an image of Our Lady dressed in a long white gown, which reached to her bare feet. Over this, she wore a light blue mantle. However, she wore no veil. Instead, her hair hung loosely about her; and in her hands, she held her Heart from the top of which gushed abundant flames. Her bearing was enhanced by a majestic beauty, all heavenly. On the other side of the scapular was pictured her Immaculate Heart, all ablaze and transparent as crystal, with rays pouring out that appeared more dazzling than the sun. This Heart, pierced with a sword, was encircled by an inscription in the form of an oval and topped by a golden 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 Sister Justine that God desired to establish among mankind a more tender and confident appreciation and love of His Most Beloved Mother by means of devotion to her through the title of her Immaculate Heart. When invoked under this title and through this holy image, Our Lady would obtain great favors from her Divine Son, especially in the areas of physical health, peace of mind and spiritual conversion. She who is the Refuge of Sinners would particularly obtain the conversion of those who had fallen away from the True Faith, and those poor sinners who had no faith. Mary wanted copies of the scapular made as soon as possible and distributed with great confidence.
Unfortunately, there were many delays. Many were caused by the normal and even healthy skepticism of Sister’s superiors and the Church authorities. It takes the discernment of the Church to determine if these apparitions are from Heaven, hell or personal delusion.
Sister Justine suffered much during this time. Finally, after a thorough investigation and careful discernment, the local Bishop approved the apparitions and was ready to permit the spread of this new sacramental. Our Lady, however, had never been clear about certain aspects of this new devotion. Questions needed to be answered. What circumstances were necessary to make the scapular effective? Was there a special blessing for it? Was there a ceremony for enrolling persons in its use? Were there any obligations for those who used it? Was the scapular for use only by certain groups of people or in certain situations?
To resolve these difficulties it was decided that Sister Justine would ask Our Lady herself what God’s Holy Will was in these matters. Our Blessed Mother replied during an apparition on September 8, 1846 – exactly six years after her initial request for this “Badge of the Immaculate Heart”.Our Lady replied: This scapular is not like others (it is not the clothing-habit of a confraternity) but merely two holy pictures on a single piece of material. Therefore, no special formula is required to bless it or enroll someone in its use. It suffices that it be blessed by a priest and worn by the one whom we desire to benefit by Our Lady’s intercession. If, on the other hand, the person is unable or even unwilling to wear it or carry it, it may even be slipped, unknown to him, into his clothes, bed, room, or possessions etc.
There is only one prayer that needs to be said, at least once a day: “Immaculate heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.” If the person who is the intended beneficiary of the scapular’s use does not say it, then someone else can say it in his place. The Green Scapular may be used anywhere, for anyone. The greatest graces are attached to its use, but these graces are more or less great in proportion to the degree of confidence of the person praying. This was the meaning of the different kinds of rays that fell from the Mother of God’s hands at the last apparition.
Has the Green Scapular devotion been very effective?
Favors obtained by invoking Our Lady under this title have been truly remarkable. There have been miracles of health, peace and conversion. At a major national medical center in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., two people were cured of fatal diseases, just a few days from death! Others were on the verge of suicide. Through the Green Scapular devotion, they were given the wisdom to understand why they were so miserable, and the strength to make the changes necessary to bring happiness and hope into their lives. Most importantly, there were truly wonderful graces bringing people in various circumstances to reconcile themselves to Jesus in the fullness of His Truth and grace. Family and friends, who had fallen away from the Catholic Faith, and even those who never had faith, came to embrace the Sacraments (sometimes after being away a lifetime). People involved in dangerous relationships saw their bad companions change for the better or leave the relationship. Work environments witnessed an increase of purity in speech, modesty in dress and charity in behavior.
The Testimony of Father Robert A. Macdonald, C.Ss.R. (1961)
“Let me tell you the story of how I discovered the Green Scapular. This is my only way of trying to spread a true and tender love of Her Immaculate Heart and of paying my debt to Her. Some years ago, before penicillin was in use, I was lying in a hospital very ill with pneumonia. I began to hemorrhage and the doctors decided to operate as a last resource. Then a little nun came into my room.Father, have you great faith in the Mother of God, especially in Her Immaculate Heart? If so, you can be cured.How, Sister?Through the Green Scapular.”
“What is that?Four years ago, Father, I was operated on for cancer. I was so filled with it, that they just closed me up and sent me away to die. Then I prayed to Our Lady of the Green Scapular; I grew tired of waiting to die and came back to work. I am cured, Father. Do you want me to give you a Scapular?Please, Sister.With that, she put one over my head. A feeling of tremendous confidence poured into me and the bleeding stopped. Two days later, in the X-ray room, they asked me when the hemorrhage had ceased. When I replied that it was a matter of a couple of days, they expressed great surprise.
You have a wound that is six months healed and there is no other mark.Today even the scars are gone. No wonder I speak of an unpayable debt to Her Immaculate Heart. Since then I have done everything possible to foster this devotion. To my great joy and amazement, those to whom I have spoken of the Green Scapular have become more zealous than I. Never have I seen the equal of the faith and confidence of these new apostles of Mary.
During May, I asked the rector of St. Patrick’s, Toronto, for permission to speak of it at the Wednesday devotions. I had a thousand Green Scapulars on hand, but no one thought that more than thirty would be asked for. The thousand were gone the first morning. The room where we distributed them was so jammed that I feared someone would be injured. The rest of the day, I was besieged on all sides for more. Foolishly, I showed the one I had for myself and it was quickly snatched from my hand!
Testimony of Rev. Leo Steinbach
When I first came in contact with this devotion, I read an explanation which seemed to give the impression that it was intended only for lax Christians. I thought it might be useless for me since I had very little contact with Christians, be they good, bad or indifferent. My contacts were mostly with Buddhists and Shintoists whom I was trying to christianize. However I put a few scapulars in my pocket and decided to try one out. That very day I went to a nearby hospital where I discovered a non-Christian woman patient who had been unconscious for 10 days previously. The doctor explained to me that she would very probably die within three days without regaining consciousness. He and a nurse escorted me to the room. I addressed the sick woman but she gave no indication whatsoever that she understood a word I was saying. Thereupon I took a green scapular from my pocket, applied it to her forehead and repeated the invocation, “Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.”
And what happened? The woman immediately regained consciousness, joined her hands and very devoutly asked God to forgive her sins. I was amazed. The doctor and the nurse both non-Christians were also flabbergasted. I immediately instructed and baptized the dying patient that same day much to her joy. She remained perfectly conscious for three days more during which time she very devoutly received Holy Viaticum. She breathed her last while praying to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
News of this double miracle spread rapidly. People kept asking me for green scapulars and since I only had a couple dozen which I had received from an army chaplain and since I had no means of replenishing my supply, I started to lend my remaining scapulars with a proviso that they be returned after three days. I did this in order to help as many people as possible. Meanwhile a Catholic newspaper reporter helped me procure the necessary materials and we began making them. During the past 25 years we have made and distributed many tens of thousands to people living all over Japan. We have also sent quite a number to the United States, Brazil, Paraguay, Korea and Indonesia. A Catholic magazine here in Japan published an explanation of the green scapular about a year ago and we have been receiving requests daily ever since. On one single day we received 140 letters and we try to fulfill each request promptly. We never charge for them nor do we ask for postage. However we have never been in debt. Grateful people send us donations which cover the cost of materials and postage.
It is edifying to read the letters of gratitude. Many people report spiritual blessings and there have been miraculous cures too of almost every type of human ailment including blindness, deafness, cancer, tuberculosis, high blood pressure, rheumatism, arthritis etc. Luke-warm Catholics and non-Catholics seem to receive more favors than good practicing Catholics.
An 80-year-old non-Christian lady said she would like to visit the church in her vicinity but she was unable to walk because of arthritis. Every winter both her ankles and wrists were swollen and very painful. She was given a green scapular which she applied daily but since she could not remember the prayer she merely asked the Mother of Christ for help. Within a few days she was completely cured. After a brief instruction and Baptism, she attended mass daily and always received Holy Communion. She kept up this habit for two years until she was called to her reward. During this interval she converted her aged friend who lived just across the street from her home and she had the happiness of being her godmother. Her good husband, a staunch Shintoist, also treasured his green scapular but no one could induce him to become a Christian. However, just three days before he died, he had a change of heart. He died very happily after receiving the sacraments.
The owner of a fleet of 60 taxis in Kyoto asked his pastor to bless his vehicles on New Year’s Day, whereupon he presented each of his drivers a new green scapular. He encouraged them, although they are non-Christians, to recite the prayer at least once a day. During the year there were just a few bent fenders but there were no accidents that caused a personal injury. The Blessed Mother is never invoked in vain. Her prayers are powerful. Japanese “kamikaze” drivers moving at a high speed in all kinds of weather, day and night, are very grateful to their Protectress.
Testimony of a religious sister and Green Scapular Devotee
With this in mind, when I heard of the great need in which two souls found themselves, I had recourse to the intercession of the Immaculate Heart. It concerned a young man, just married. About a month into his marriage, he fell ill with pneumonia from which he recovered, more or less, though only for a short time. Two or three months later, he caught a viral infection in the brain, which did not leave him much hope of survival, and his state became increasingly fragile. It is not difficult to imagine the consternation and the pain of his young wife, who had not known, until then, that the real cause of his condition was AIDS, and that it was possible that she was infected with it.
Since the man’s condition was already very bad, a priest was brought to him who, as is usual, offered him the Sacraments of Confession and Extreme Unction – the Sacrament of the Sick. Knowing his culpability, he refused them although he was still capable of confessing his sins.
Shortly afterwards he lost the use of speech. His exterior comportment manifested clearly the state of his soul, filling his family and all who saw him with deep pain. Expressions of panic, terror and despair passed across his face, a true interior martyrdom at seeing himself face to face with death and with a conscience soiled by the double sin of what he had done to infect himself with this frightful illness, and the crime of not having warned his spouse, living with her the normal life of a married man whilst putting her life at risk as well.
It was then, when I had learned of all this, that I had recourse to the intercession of our gentle Mother and her Immaculate Heart, making greater use of prayer and using the GREEN SCAPULAR, known also as the SCAPULAR OF THE IMMACULATE HEART. I have complete confidence in this miraculous scapular because, besides having been given to us by the Blessed Virgin herself, it works miracles through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart which, as we know, is the devotion DESIRED BY GOD for our times.
Even though I did not doubt its efficacy, I nonetheless asked for it to be applied as quickly as possible to the sick man.
Since there was a delay in doing this, I wrote to the young wife insisting strongly that it be placed by him as soon as possible, adding, “don’t be surprised if you see miracles” since I had already asked for them from Our Lady, saying to her, “I know that you always hear me, my gentle Mother, and I do not doubt your intercession, but permit that this time I ask you for a miracle that may be shown to others. I know that the GREEN SCAPULAR does not fail if it is used with confidence in the humble instruments of salvation given to us by your maternal Heart. For this, for the glory of God and your Immaculate Heart, and for the salvation of many souls, grant me this miracle of conversion, so that I may be of use to him and that poor souls may be encouraged to be confident. If you so wish, pay a visit to this poor son of yours, but in such a way that the others realize what is happening and that you are there.”
Shortly afterwards, I had some news.
The sick man became very ill, having vomited and been in great agitation. The priest was again called in, who this time placed the GREEN SCAPULAR on him and gave him Extreme Unction – the Sacrament of the Sick. With this, the man fell peacefully asleep. During the night, he woke up. He seemed very happy, his eyes were luminous and fixed on a precise point in the room, he seemed to be speaking with someone since he answered questions (something he had not been able to do for some time), sometimes, he smiled or wept with great emotion. His mother and sisters (people very far from God) who were present realized that something supernatural was taking place, even though they could see nothing, and they too wept with emotion.
After all this, the state of the sick man, particularly the state of his soul, changed completely. There was no longer the former terror or panic visible in his face, but rather a great peace and happiness. His health, even though not entirely restored, was much better. The attitude of his mother and sisters was completely different; now they prayed willingly, made sure his scapulars were well arranged, etc. When his wife learned of what had happened, she was entirely convinced that Our Lady had come to visit him.
Later on, she asked the sick man: Did Our Lady come to see you?
Yes, he replied with an expression of happiness.
Are you going to get better?
No, he added, but also with an expression of tranquility. He wanted to say what Our Lady had said to him, but he could no longer speak. Just from time to time he could be heard saying things like, “be strong”, “the grace of God”, etc.
My letter finally reached the woman the day following all these events (I had told no-one of my prayer to Our Lady), and she was able to tell me afterwards: “You told me I must not be surprised if I see miracles with the Green Scapular. I believe the miracle has already taken place, not so much in his body as in his soul.” Let us pray that, after a good preparation, his soul goes and unites itself with God and contemplates for all eternity she who granted him the great grace of conversion and peace of soul. Immaculate Virgin, may this account be for the greater glory of God and your glory; and by confidence in the marvellous intercession through the GREEN SCAPULAR, may many souls be saved.
Interested in joining Our Lady’s mission and saving souls through the Green Scapular?Join the Society of the Green Scapular today!
The Society’s members are asked to spread awareness and use of the Green Scapular. There are no quotas. There is no pressure to get others to join. As each member prays for, and obtains, favors from the Immaculate Heart of Mary, their fervor to be more active apostles of this extraordinary gift from Heaven will grow with their confidence. The following summarizes what members are asked:
1. Learn about the Green Scapular.
2. Give Green Scapulars to those in need of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
3. Teach others about the Green Scapular and Our Lady’s Society of the Green Scapular. Encourage them to use the Scapular, give it to others, and consider joining the Society.
4. When you Pray for your own Green Scapular intentions, also include those of all the other members and of Mary’s Immaculate Heart.
5. Grow in Personal Holiness. satan told St. John Vianney that if there were just a few more souls like St. John at that time, hell would lose its grip on the world! The Church and the world are in desperate need of real Saints – and Jesus and Mary want to help you become the Saint that you were created to be!
St. Catherine of Siena said: “If you are what God created you to be you will set the whole world on fire!”
At Fatima, Our Lady promised: “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” The goal then, of this society – The Society of Her Immaculate Heart – is to assist the hastening of the day of the complete victory of Mary’s Immaculate Heart when She will crush the head of satan – the ancient enemy of God and humanity – and then reign triumphant with Her Son Jesus Christ.
To enroll oneself in the Green Scapular Society:
Send a request specifying the name, address, phone number, and email of each person to be enrolled. Families may be enrolled under a single address, but specify each name. A welcome packet will be sent explaining the Society and its benefits in detail. People should only be enrolled as members with their knowledge and consent.
SOCIETY OF THE GREEN SCAPULAR
P.O. Box 2284
Front Royal, VA 22630
To purchase green scapulars:
Sisters of Carmel
The Catholic Company