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Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Aylesford, England

Commemorated on July 16
Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Aylesford, England On July 16, 1251, the prior general of the order, St. Simon Stock, 86, received a visitation of the Virgin while at prayer at a monastery in Cambridge, England; and that giving him a scapular, she said, "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." 

History

Around the time of the Second Crusade, in the 1100s, Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel near present-day Haifa formed a community around a chapel of St. Mary and, around 1210, adopted a Rule. When the Saracens retook the area in 1238, many of these Carmelite monks fled back to their European homelands, reaching England in 1242. But the Latin church was not welcoming. After the Dominican Order was established in 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council had decreed that there would be no more new orders allowed. At the Second Council of Lyons, a ruling was to be presented on July 17, 1274, abolishing the Carmelite and Augustinian Orders on the grounds that they had arisen after the 1215 cut-off date. Without any powerful friends in the hierarchy, the Carmelites prayed to their patron, Mary, for a miracle to save them from extinction. And the miracle occurred: the text of the papal decree was changed to say that the Carmelites and Augustinians were founded before 1215 and could continue their mission in Europe. Thereafter the Carmelites celebrated their day of deliverance through Mary, but on July 16 to avoid conflict with the feast day of St. Alexius on the 17th.   
 
The Catholic reforms of the 1960s purged St. Alexius from the liturgical calendar, but kept Our Lady of Mount Carmel as an optional memorial on July 16, the occasion of major public festivals in many Catholic communities.
 
 
 
The story usually told about the origin of the feast day is perhaps a bit more exciting than the above, but unsupported by contemporary evidence, and seems to have evolved over a hundred years after the political miracle of 1274. The story, still found in most devotional sources, is that on July 16, 1251, the prior general of the order, St. Simon Stock, 86, received a visitation of the Virgin while at prayer at a monastery in Cambridge, England; and that giving him a scapular, she said, "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."  
 
Of course, on hearing this promise, many people wanted to start wearing the item that could save them from hell. The monastic scapular is a large garment, similar to a poncho or two-sided apron, which covers the habit in front and back. Eventually, people associated with religious orders through Third (lay) Orders and confraternities were given permission to wear smaller scapulars (as in the picture above), two squares of cloth attached with strings to go over the shoulders, over or under the clothes, in sign of their allegiance. In the case of Carmelite associates, the scapular also represents devotion to the Virgin and hope in her promise of salvation. Images of Our Lady of Mount Carmel often show her holding the Christ Child with one hand and a small scapular in the other.
 
O beautiful flower of Carmel, / Most fruitful vine, / Splendor of heaven, / Holy and singular, / Who brought forth the Son of God / Still ever remaining a pure Virgin, / Assist us in our necessities. / O star of the Sea, / Help and protect us. / Show us that you are our Mother. ("Flos Carmeli," antiphon attributed to St. Simon Stock).
 
(Information from Patrick McMahon, O.Carm., "Origin and Tradition of the Brown Scapular," The Sword, 2000, Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, Darien, Illinois, carmelnet.org; and other sources. Picture of brown scapular from Mary's Touch, www.marystouch.org.)

Source: http://www.wherewewalked.info/feasts/07-July/07-16.htm 

Timeline
 
1165
 
Simon Stock was born in Aylesford, County of Kent, England. On account of his English birth he is also called Simon Anglus.
 
1177
 
When he was twelve, he reportedly went to live in a hollow oak trunk, drinking only water and eating only herbs, roots, and wild apples. Later he became an travelling preacher.
 
1212
 
He entered the Carmelite Order which had just come to England. After he was admitted into the order, he was sent to Oxford to complete his studies.
 
 
 
After his return, he was appointed vicar-general by Brocard, the prior of Mount Carmel
 
1226
 
Simon went to Rome and obtained Pope Honorius III's confirmation of the Rule given by Albertus, the patriarch of Jerusalem.
 
1229
 
He also obtained a confirmation from Gregory IX.
 
1237
 
He later went to Palestine for six years and assisted in the general chapter (general assembly) of the order.
 
1240
 
It was determined at this chapter that the majority of the order should go to Europe, due to influence of the Saracens. Many of the brothers were sent to England, to be followed by Alanus (the general of the order) and Simon.
 
1247
 
During a general chapter in Aylesford, Alanus resigned his position as general, and Simon was chosen as the sixth general of the order.
 
1248
 
St. Simon was able to found houses in the university cities of that era, as in 1248 at Cambridge, in 1253 at Oxford, in 1260 at Paris and Bologna. This aided the growth of the institution and allowed for the training of its younger members.
 
1251
 
The order was received under the special protection of the Holy See
 
July 16, 1251
 
In answer to his appeal for help for his oppressed order, the Virgin Mary appeared to him with a scapular in her hand and said: "Take, beloved son, this scapular of the order as a badge of my confraternity and for you and all Carmelites a special sign of grace; whoever dies in this garment, will not suffer everlasting fire. It is the sign of salvation, a safeguard in dangers, a pledge of peace and of the covenant". Soon after, he instituted the confraternity of the Brown Scapular.
 
1430
 
Johannes Grossi wrote his "Viridarium", and he relates that the Mother of God appeared to Simon Stock with the scapular of the order in her hand. This scapular she gave him with the words: "Hoc erit tibi et cunctis Carmelitis privilegium, in hoc habitu moriens salvabitur" (This shall be the privilege for you and for all the Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall be saved).
 
1435
 
His feast was put in the choral books of the monastery at Bordeaux. It was introduced before 1458 into Ireland and, probably at the same time, into England; by a decree of the General Chapter of 1564 its celebration was commanded for the entire order.
 
May 16, 1265
 
St. Simon Stock died in the Carmelite monastery at Bordeaux, France.
 
1642
 
This tradition of the appearance of Mary appears in such a precise written form for the first time when the words of the Blessed Virgin were given in a circular of Saint Simon Stock which he is said to have dictated to Peter Swanyngton, his secretary and confessor.
 
July 16, 1726
 
Celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel was extended to the universal Church by Pope Benedict XIII.
 
July 1951
 
His skull was translated from France to Carmelite friary in Aylesford. 

Approval

There was no investigation or explicit approval concerning the authenticity of apparition to St. Simon Stock. He received a confirmation of the Rule of his Order by Pope Honorius III, Gregory IX, and Pope Innocent IV, and the order was received under the special protection of the Holy See in 1251. St. Simon Stock has never been officially canonized by the Church but his feast day has been sanctioned.
 
The Feast Day of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is July 16th.

Prayers

O beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful Vine,
Splendor of Heaven, holy and singular,
who brought forth the Son of God,
still ever remaining a Pure Virgin,
assist me in this necessity.
 
O Star of the Sea, help and protect me!
Show me that thou art my Mother.
 
O Mary, Conceived without sin,
Pray for us who have recourse to thee!
 
Mother and Ornament of Carmel, Pray for us!
Virgin, Flower of Carmel, Pray for us!
Patroness of all who wear the Scapular, Pray for us!
Hope of all who die wearing the Scapular, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Friend of the Sacred Heart, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of Mary, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Our Patron, Pray for us!
O sweet Heart of Mary, be my Salvation!

Shrines

Resources

Additional information