Aylesford, England (1251)
Feast Day: July 16
Patron of: the Carmelites
The Order of Carmelites takes its name from Mount Carmel in Israel, which was the first place dedicated to the Blessed Virgin and where a chapel was erected in her honor before her Assumption into heaven. Saint Simon Stock entered the Carmelite Order in Kent, England, when he was 40 years old. He was sent to Mt. Carmel in the Holy Land where he led a life of prayer and penance until he and most of his brother Religious were forced to leave by the victorious infidels. The group sailed for England. At a General Chapter which was held in Aylesford, England, in 1245 A.D., St. Simon was unanimously elected Prior General of the Carmelite Order.
St. Simon Stock had great devotion to Our Blessed Mother. This may help to explain why the Carmelite Order began to prosper under his guidance despite considerable opposition. In response to his appeal to Our Blessed Mother for help for his oppressed Order, on July 16, 1251 A.D. (he was 86 years old at the time), Mary appeared to him holding a Brown Scapular in her hand. Mary said to him:
"Receive, My beloved son, this habit of thy order: this shall be to thee and to all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire." This was truly a great gift and a great promise from the Mother of God.
After this apparition, Friar Stock went on to establish Carmelite communities near university towns in England, France and Italy. He became the Superior-General of his order several years after the apparition. Until very recently, the brown scapular was one of the most widely used religious symbols of personal dedication to the mission of Mary found in her last recorded words in the Bible (John 2:5). The promotion and use of all types of Marian devotional symbols has declined dramatically since the 1960's.
For over 700 years, the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel has been one of the most precious gifts and highly-indulgenced Sacramentals of our Church. It is more than that, however; it is in reality a garment, given to us by Our Blessed Mother which makes us her special children. Blessing and clothing with the Scapular of the 'Blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel' enrolls the individual in the Scapular Confraternity and admits him to a share in all the spiritual works performed by the Religious of Mount Carmel.
At Lourdes in 1858, the Virgin chose to make Her last apparition on July 16th, feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the day the Church commemorates Her apparition to Saint Simon Stock. And at Fatima on October 13, 1917, it is as Our Lady of Mount Carmel that Mary appeared when She said farewell to the three children. Throughout the ages, the Queen of Carmel has always kept a faithful watch over the destinies of Her cherished children on earth.
Lord, let the motherly prayer of the glorious Virgin come to our help.
Through her support help us reach the true mount which is Christ.
NOVENA PRAYER TO OUR LADY OF MT. CARMEL