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August 22, 2009

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Taken from


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, entered the 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. In her hands she
held her Heart, from the top of which issued brilliant rays. The same
apparition was repeated four or five times during her novitiate. This favor
seemed to have no other end than to increase in the Sister herself tender
devotion to Mary Immaculate.

Clothed with the habit, on September 8, 1840, feast of the Nativity of the
Blessed Virgin, Sister Bisqueyburu 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
apparitions; 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
those who have no faith, and above all, procure for them a happy death, and
that it should be distributed with confidence. As the scapular was
distributed, wonderful conversions and some bodily cures were produced.

The Scapular 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 Blessed
Virgin declared to her faithful servant that no special formula of blessing
was necessary. 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 inscription
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. 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."

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.


Still awaiting the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.