One of the most remarkable incidents to bring out the miraculous quality of the Scapular, not as a condition for gaining a Promise but merely as Our Lady's Habit, is the calming of a raging sea by the almost unseen action of a cabin-boy who tossed his Scapular into the seething waters. It was publicized in 1902 in an American Review and the author of the account had gone to great pains to verify it.
In the year 1845, the King of the Ocean left the London docks with a full complement of passengers for the far-off southern land of Australia.
Amongst the passengers was a devout English Protestant clergyman, the Reverend James Fisher, and his wife and their two children, James and Amelia, aged respectively about nine and seven.
The weather was good until the ship arrived some five hundred miles west of Cape Agulhas, where the trade winds generally keep revel with the fierce under-currents in that part of the Indian Ocean. The sun had scarcely sunk beneath the western waters when a wild tornado swept the ocean from the northwest. The waves were lashed into fury, the sails torn, and all the wooden structures on deck were only as reeds before the angry winds and waves on that memorable night. The passengers were sent below; the captain and crew, who had lashed themselves to the deck rigging, were unable to act. Moans of despair and cries for mercy, mingled with prayers, were heard alike from passengers and crew. Wave on wave washed over the apparently doomed boat,and nothing, short of the intervention of Divine Providence, could save her from a watery grave.
The Reverend Mr. Fisher, with his family and others, struggled to deck and asked all to join in prayer for mercy and forgiveness, as their doom seemed inevitable; but the prayers and cries for help seemed only to be mocked by the hissing and moaning of the infuriated elements.
Among the crew was a young Irish sailor, a native of County Louth, named John McAuliffe, who opened his vest and took from his neck a pair of Scapulars. He waved them in the form of a cross and then threw them into the ocean.
Soon the waters abated their fury. The howling tempest calmed, as it were to a zephyr, but a wavelet washed over the side of the boat and cast near the sailor boy, the Scapulars he had thrown into the seething foam some minutes before!
All was now calm. Captain and sailors set about re-rigging their boat and steered her safely into Botany harbour.
The only ones who happened to notice the sailor boy's action, and the return of the Scapular to the drenched deck, were the Fishers. They now approached the boy with deep reverence, and begged him to let them know what those simple pieces of brown braid and cloth, marked B.V.M., might signify. When told, they then and there promised to join the Faith which has for its protectress and powerful advocate the Virgin of Carmel. When they landed at Sydney, they repaired to the little wooden chapel of St. Mary, on the site of which now stands a magnificent church, and were duly received into the Church by the then Father Paulding, afterwards Archbishop.
A friend of the present author, in Vienna, is contemplating the publication of some thousand Scapular miracles; the author himself has gathered a variety great enough to produce a book: "Mary in Her Scapular Miracles." Hence, this short chapter cannot essay to do more than give the reader an indication, a general awareness of the Scapular as a sort of Marian "relic". However, we cannot refrain from citing a final example which is so pointedly indicative of Mary's Scapular as a "Heavenly Garment". Saint John don Bosco was buried in the Scapular in 1888 and in 1929 the Scapular was found under the rotted garments and remains of that great apostle and incomparable educator of youth, in perfect preservation.
"No devotion has been confirmed with so many authentic miracles as the Scapular," says Blessed Claude de la Colombiere. One need not consider himself unfortunate if he cannot go to Lourdes for its waters, nor to La Salette and other distant shrines for their heavenly power and favors. Mary has given us a relic of Herself that is more powerful than all these, now hallowed by seven centuries of wonders in every corner of the earth. It is a tiny garment we can all wear, from God's Mother.
"As Saint Basil of Seleucia remarks: if God granted to some who were only His servants such power that their shadows healed the sick, placed in the public streets for this very purpose, bow much greater must be the power that He has granted to Her who was not only His handmaid but His Mother?"
"For us who wear the Scapular, of what noble personage is it the livery? It is the livery of Mary, the Queen of the Universe, the Sovereign of more than the World. What an honor to belong to the Scapular Confraternity! It is so great an honor that we should be able to wear this Heavenly Sign openly, on our breasts, and not only under our garments. The Scapular is honored in the other life also, where the goods and glory of this world are nothing."
R. P. MESCHLER, S. J.
St. Teresa of Avila spoke to Our Lord of the Blessed Virgin as: ". . . Thy most holy Mother, whose merits we share and whose Habit we wear, unworthy though we be by reason of our sins."
"I will lead you into my Family of Carmel where you will wear MY HABIT."Our Lady to Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew.