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The scapular originated as one of the most important parts of a monastic habit. Originally, scapulars were large pieces of cloth with a hole in the center to be placed over the head. The front and back panels of the scapular would then hang at an equal distance on the front and back of the wearer’s body. From these, personal devotional scapulars developed. Much smaller in size, devotional scapulars are still worn over the head in the same fashion but are made of a single square of wool cloth and bear specific symbols and colors according to the confraternity or order from which they come.
The original and most famous of these is the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel associated with the Carmelite religious order. Today scapulars are also made of wood or metal, such as the Scapular Medal. Scapulars come in many varieties and styles, some are even protected with plastic coverings. Scapulars have specific indulgences attached to them and promises to those who wear them faithfully. For more information, we recommend Scapular Facts.