Recently there was a discussion on the web whether Saint John Pal II was affiliated to the Discalced Carmelites.
On March 25th, 2001, he wrote in a message to the Carmelite family, “I too have worn the Scapular of Carmel over my heart for a long time! Out of my love for our common heavenly Mother, whose protection I constantly experience…”
When this question concerning the pope’s affiliation with the Discalced Carmelite Order was put to a friar of the Krakow Province, responsible for the OCDS. Father Włodzimierz Tochmański he responded that no, Karol Józef Wojtyła was never a tertiary, canonically speaking.
Rather, he had a strong spiritual affiliation to the Order in Poland, much in the same way that the Scapular Confraternity is affiliated to the Order today.
Particularly around the time of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in July, the Pope often spoke of the Carmelite scapular, usually in the context of its value for today’s Christian. In an audience on July 16, 1988, with a group of the Alpini, a branch of the Italian military, John Paul II quoted his predecessor Pius XII to single out the scapular from among the many expressions of devotion to Mary.
Some days later at the summer residence in Castelgandolfo, the Pope called the scapular “a particular grace” of Mary. In this way, the heart grows in communion and familiarity with the Blessed Virgin Mary. He spoke of this as “a new way of living for God and of continuing here on earth the love of Jesus the Son for his Mother Mary.”
In a talk with the youth of the Carmelite parish of St. Mary in Transpontina in 1989, the pope said he owed much in his youth to the Carmelite scapular. Then he compared Mary’s clothing us in the scapular to a mother who sees that her children are properly clothed. “Our Lady of Mount Carmel dresses us in a spiritual sense. She dresses us with the grace of God and helps us always …”