New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Friday, July 12, 2024
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I ALWAYS wore my scapula because I was told that if you died while wearing the scapula you would go straight up to heaven--no purgatory! You'd just shoot right on up to the pearly gates. I wore my scapula for so long that I wore it out. It was gross near the end of it's days, discolored by persperation, disgusting. When it finally disintegrated I got a scapula medal. Wore it on a silver chain ALL THE TIME. Until at recess one day in 5th grade I was chasing some boy (going for the "fruit loop") when the medal popped up, hit me in the eye, and I wound up in the emergency room.

After that I decided that I could endure a few years in purgatory.

Petti Pants were made of nylon (or whatever it was that girls underwear was made of in the mid 60s), fit over your underpants, and went down to about mid-thigh. They ALWAYS had at least one row of ruffles--sometimes 3 or 4. They came in various pastel colors and were worn in place of a slip. I wore them from about 5th grade until I graduated from highschool.

Do young women wear slips anymore?
A Scapula is/was a religious "necklace". It was made of two pieces of brown cord (like a flat shoe lace) each about 12 or 14 inches long. Geez, this is hard to describe... Both pieces were joined to a sort of postage stamp sized cloth which was printed with a picture of the Virgin Mary (I think) on one end. This was stitched to a brown felt backing. The other ends of the two cords were sewn to similar cloth pieces. I can't remember what saint's image was printed on this end. I got my scapula when I was confirmed (a ceremony where one commits to being "a soldier of Christ") in the 4th grade.

You'd wore the scapula around your neck, usually under your clothing. It was said to protect you from harm and sin.

That's the lesson for today. Tomorrow:Scapula Medals.
I found my old Scapula in the jewelry box I had since I was a kid. This is not my old 4th grade one--I don't remember when I got it but I apparently didn't wear it much because it's not grungy.

Here's an updated description:It has a white cord. One end has a picture of the Virgin holding baby Jesus and looking down on a guy who is kneeling. He looks like St. Dominic to me but who knows. She's handing him a paper with writing on it.

The other end says "Whoever is wearing this Scapula shall not suffer eternal ????. It looks like the last word could either be Hell of Fire.

I think maybe I'll start wearing it again. Who needs eternal ???? when one could so easily bypass this?
After I got all the knots out of my Scapula I put it on. Won't take it off unless I'm taking a shower (not much chance of fires in there). Can't wait for my husband's reaction when he notices it.
For anyone interested see the history, rules, regulations and prayers (in Latin) regarding the Scapula. I found on another site that there are many different scapulas but this page describes the one I have (The Brown Scapula).

See also for a picture of what the Scapula looks like.
All this "scapulation" dredged up a memory from the first time I moved away from s. La. In Lawrence, Kansas, 1969: I was leaving a Mexican restaurant in the company of a fellow KU student from central KS. Seeing something on a string lying on the sidewalk, I was amazed to see it was a scapula. "Oh, look, a scapula!" I exclaimed to my companion. She cocked her head at the object and asked, "What's a scapula?" I explained about the protection it offered to its wearer, thus my shock to find one discarded like trash. My new friend responded, "Oh, I wouldn't know about that stuff. I'm a Mennonite." My turn to be mystified, I wondered out loud, "What's a Mennonite?"