Scapular

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The scapular (from Latin, scapula, shoulder) is part of the Benedictine habit. It is an outer garment about the width of the chest, from shoulder to shoulder. It hangs down in the front and back almost to the feet, but is open on the sides.

History

The scapular was at first nothing else than a working garment or apron such as was then worn by agricultural labourers. Thus, in the Rule of St. Benedict, it was expressly termed "scapulare propter opera" (c. xxv in P.L. LXXVI, 771). From this developed the special monastic garment, to which a hood could be fastened at the back.

The scapular of the oblates

A reduced form is worn by Benedictine oblates, rather than a full length of cloth, it consisted of two rectangles (several inches wide, and much larger than a Roman Catholic devotional scapular) of wool joined by bands in some fashion. These are designed to be unobtrusive and can be worn under regular clothing at home and at work.

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