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Mount Carmel

A very English observance. More people will have heard of Our Lady of Walsingham

than Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Our Lady of Mount Carmel is observed world-wide, but came to prominence through the vision of Saint Simon Stock of Aylesford, Kent.

Mount Carmel was the mountain, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea

on which the prophet Elijah successfully challenged the priests of Baal

and won the people to the true God.

There are references in the 12th century which record a community of monks

inhabited this same mountain. The community built a monastery dedicated to the Virgin Mary on Mount Carmel in 1263. Mount Carmel was taken by Muslims in 1291,

the brothers killed and the convent burned.

Saint Simon Stock

The spread of the Carmelites in Europe is largely attributed to the work of Saint Simon Stock, who founded many Carmelite Communities, especially in University cities - Cambridge, Oxford, Paris, and Bologna....In 1254 he was elected Superior-General of his Order in London. According to tradition, Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to

St. Simon Stock, at Aylesford, in Kent, on July 16, 1251. The Blessed Virgin promised St. Simon Stock, oppressed with worries, that whoever would wear the Carmelite habit devoutly

would receive the gift of final perseverance. The habit was taken to mean the scapular in particular.

Mary said to Simon Stock: "Receive, my beloved son, this scapular of your Order; it is the special sign of my favour, which I have obtained for you and your order of Mount Carmel. It is the badge of salvation, a shield in danger, and a pledge of special peace and protection."

Our Lady of Mount Carmel - Valletta
Our Lady of Mount Carmel - Valletta

The scapular was a broad band of cloth over the shoulders,

falling below the knees toward the feet front and back as an apron,

worn still as part of the religious habit by a number of orders of monks and friars.

As it was gradually adapted for use by the laity,

it became two small panels of brown cloth joined by strings

and worn over the shoulders as a familiar Marian sacramental.

The Carmelites insist that the scapular is not:

- A magical charm to protect someone. - An automatic guarantee of salvation. - An excuse for not living up to the demands of the Christian life

It is instead a sign which has been approved by the Church for over seven centuries and which stands for the decision to

- Follow Jesus like Mary: - Be open to God and to his will. - Be guided by faith, hope, and love. - To pray at all times - To discover God present in all that happens around us.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel - Valletta

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, teach us to pray as you did,

to listen to God speaking in the silence of our hearts.

Ask Jesus to give us the grace to recognize the presence of His Father

in all the events of our lives, and to learn to call on the Holy Spirit

to guide our actions.

May we become more loving, gentle, and kind.

Grant our prayers and bring peace to our hearts,

our families, our friends, and to our world.

Aylesford Priory, Kent - Shrine: Simon Stock and Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Mary, Queen of Peace,

we entrust our lives to you.

Shelter us from hatred, violence, murder, racism, oppression and war.

Teach us to live in peace

and harmony with one another.

Inspire us to act justly,

to revere all God has made.

Root peace firmly in our hearts

and in our world. Lord, as we recall the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Carmel, we reverently offer you the gifts with which we have been blessed.

As we use them in your service,

and ponder your goodness in our prayers as Mary did, may our love become like hers, and so unite us more closely to the mystery of our redemption by our Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen..

Our Lady of Mount Carmel - Haifa

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