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Kathryn Swegart's interest in the Brown Scapular was sparked after a game-winning Super Bowl moment.

Kansas City Chiefs' kicker Harrison Butker breathed deeply and fixed his eyes on the football, teed up by the placeholder who crouched in front of him. It was a moment he had prepared for his entire life, both spiritually and physically. He strode forward and kicked the ball. It soared into the air and through the uprights of the goal posts. His game-winning field goal in the 2023 Super Bowl broke a 35-35 tie with seconds left in the game.  

Butker and his teammates leapt with joy as they celebrated their Super Bowl victory. Photographers captured the moment, not realizing that they had also disclosed a hidden secret of Butker’s success. The 27-year-old football star, husband, and father wore a brown scapular. He became a sensation on Catholic social media. 

Here is one headline. 

"All Glory to God": Chiefs' Butner makes game-winning kick in the Super Bowl while wearing a scapular 


Butker’s thrilling field goal prompted me to research the Brown Scapular. Many of my friends wear it. I have made several failed attempts to wear the little piece of wool, finally deciding it was “too itchy.” Perhaps it was time for me to overcome my wimpy response. It also was important that I not believe that it had magical powers, an attitude expressly forbidden in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  

Here is what I learned. 

In 1251 St. Simon Stock was praying for heavenly intercession for the besieged Carmelites. He received a visit from Our Lady, who handed him a Brown Scapular, saying: 

Receive, my beloved son, this Scapular of thy order; it is the special sign of my favor, which I have obtained for thee and for thy children of Mount Carmel. He who dies clothed with this habit shall be preserved from salvation. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in time of danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection. 


That is an amazing promise from Our Lady.




How might we receive this grace? 

We must live holy lives and wear the Brown Scapular with devotion during life and at the hour of death. The Brown Scapular should be blessed, and we should enroll in the Confraternity of the Brown Scapular. Enrollment asks that we wear it as a visible sign of devotion to Our Lady and commit to regular prayer, frequent reception of Holy Communion, and daily recitation of the Divine Office, Psalms, or the Rosary. 


Click to tweet:
Devotion to the Brown Scapular is not based in mere legend. #CatholicMom


Further evidence that this devotion is not mere legend came at Fatima in 1917. During the Miracle of the Sun, Mary appeared as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel while holding a rosary and a scapular. 

For more information, consult A Catechesis on the Brown Scapular, prepared by the Carmelites. 

The Memorial of Our Lady of Carmel is celebrated on July 16. 



Copyright 2023 Kathryn Swegart
Images: (top) Canva; Sebestyén Stettner, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons; Edelmauswaldgeist, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons