Q: Explain the 'Blue Scapular' devotion.

A: The blue scapular originated in a vision granted to Mother Ursula Benincasa in 1617. One part bears the image of the Immaculate Conception, the other has the name of Mary. Although less prominent than the brown scapular [there are eight known and different scapulars], it is still available and a useful instrument of devotion. The privilege to give the blue scapular was accorded to the Theatines in 1671 by Pope Clement X.

Ursula Benincasa (1547-1618) was consecrated by her parents to Mary's Immaculate Conception. Exceptionally graced, she spent part of her youth and adult life as a hermit in the region of St. Elmo (Naples) where in 1581 she had a church built in honor of the Immaculate Conception. In 1582, she presented the Pope with a program of reform for the Church. Ursula preached conversion in Rome. Her mystical gifts were investigated and their authenticity recognized (Philip Neri). In 1583, she founded the contemplative order of the "Theatines of the Immaculate Conception" and, in 1610, the Theatine Hermits.

A. Veny-Bellester, Ursula Benincasa o una experiencia de Dios, 1967.

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