The scapular (from Latin scapulae, "shoulders") is a Christian garment suspended from the shoulders. There are two types of scapular, the
The "monastic scapular" appeared first, perhaps as early as the 7th century in the
The "devotional scapular" is a much smaller item and evolved from the monastic scapular. These may also be worn by individuals who are not members of a monastic order. The devotional scapular typically consists of two small (usually rectangular) pieces of cloth, wood or laminated paper, a few inches in size, which may bear religious images or text. These are joined by two bands of cloth and the wearer places one square on the chest, rests the bands one on each shoulder and lets the second square drop down the back.
In many cases, both forms of the scapular come with a set of promises for the faithful who wear them. Some of the promises are rooted in tradition, and others have been formally approved by religious leaders. For Roman Catholics, for instance, over the centuries several popes have approved specific
The scapular may have emerged from an apron-like piece of cloth worn by monks. Item 55 of the